Happy birthday to my beautiful wife, Betty!
My kids and I made Betty a cake for her birthday. It was my first time ever baking a cake on my own. And by "on my own" I mean with limited (read: lots of) help from Betty. I also watched a couple hours worth of YouTube videos showing me how to ice cakes.
My daughter was extremely helpful by pointing out all the things I was doing wrong, and then running to tell Betty about how awful I was doing. But she meant well, so she still go to eat some icing when it was all said and done.
I made two cakes - a circle cake and a heart-shaped cake. I thought I was being fancy by making two cakes out of a single box of cake batter, but apparently that's what you're supposed to do. My circle cake could have gone a couple of minutes longer, but I didn't realize that until I leveled it and found a small semi-gooey center. I thought I was going to have to start all over with it, but we tasted some of the parts that I had cut off and it was good, so Betty just cut out the center and replaced it with a cupcake.
Next came the fun part: icing the cake. Betty got out all the ingredients for me to make our own icing while I wrapped my head around the fact that Crisco looks like a blob of white butter. We mixed some red food coloring in with our confectioner's sugar, Crisco, water and almond extract to make a nice pink icing, and then my daughter Annie helped me ice the cakes. Her way of helping me ice the cakes was to attempt to eat all of my icing, thereby making me be more creative with whatever icing was left.
I thought the heart cake came out great. I'm going to give this one to Betty, and she can eat it alone just like our kids ate their own cakes at their birthday parties. Why not? It's fun to act like a kid, and why should we stop acting like kids now just because we're a year older?
I didn't space my letters out great on the circle cake, but I think it still came out OK. Next time I'll use molds that mark the letters in the icing as a guide instead of free-handing it.
Betty was excited when she saw the finished product. She had just finished bathing our son Peter, and he looked as hungry as a little tiger cub when he saw the cakes. Although he had just gotten a bath, he was soon covered in pink and purple icing and needed another good scrubbing.