Saturday, May 1, 2010

Crying

Posted by Tracy Wainwright at 9:00 PM
I cried over a cake today. Seriously. Over a cake. It was the most pitiful thing (both me and the cake.) I'm not normally an emotional person. Yes, even given that I'm a woman, I may tear up at a scene in a movie, but I can't remember the last time I had a really good cry. Maybe that's why I broke down over a cake.

You still may be wondering, "Really? A cake?" So, I'll share a little background.

For the six years that we've been celebrating birthdays of our children, my husband has made every birthday cake. And he does a fabulous job. Well, this week has been busy and he's in the middle of a huge project, so I thought to myself, "I can do that." My daughter (the just-barely 3-year-old) picked what looked to me like a pretty straightforward cake. A castle, but one with two square cakes, a few ice cream cones for turets, and some decorating. No problem.

Well, the first problem is that I also had a retirement party to go to for a friend this morning, a friend's daughter's hair to fix for prom and company coming for dinner. Oh, and by the way, two of the kids (the 3-year-old and 11-month old) were home with me. Think yet that I'm crazy? You wouldn't be wrong. But I'm an optomist and surely, surely I can whip a simple castle together.

Home from the retirement party, I mix the cake and put the pans in the oven. In the meantime I nurse the baby, pull chicken off the bone to make chicken salad and put eggs on to boil for deviled eggs. I also whip up some pink icing and coat the ice cream cones, with my 3-year-old's help with some sprinkles. At this point I'm feeling pretty good about how things are going. The baby's becoming more needy (i.e. tired) and I gratefully lay her down for her afternoon nap. The cakes come out of the oven and we proceed to finish the chicken salad and take the eggs off boil while they cool. Off to make the white icing. And things began to fall apart.

Being ultra frugal, I didn't trim the cakes to straighten them out before or when I stacked them. Even though I knew I should. I thought I could cover anything up with the icing. Big mistake. BIG mistake. I can do icing for cookies, but cake icing is a whole different creature. I've seen it done, I've done it once or twice, but I absolutely could not get it the right consistency. It dried smooth on top, but was slumping on the sides and drying with the texture of agrigate. I went over it and over it and over it. All the while my 3-year-old (who's cake it is) is sitting patiently watching and playing. It's not perfect, but I can go over it again after it's settled some.

Next comes putting on the turrets. Since the cake's not flat, it takes some pressure to get them set in place. One eventually starts sliding and I use a toothpick to hold it into place. Satisfied that it will be good enough, I start on the pink icing to go around the base of the turrets. It had hardened in the fridge and I added a tad of milk to soften it. Another big mistake. I put these pretty little puffs around the turrets and by the time I finished the last one, the first was an oozing blob. Not to be undone, I scrape it off, add more powdered sugar to my icing and start over to no avail. I wish I had taken a picture of the cake at this point, I really do. It would be proof positive that I never need to attempt cake decorating again. But I didn't, so you'll just have to visualize the pink icing running down the lopsided cake with the turrets trying to fall.

I sat down and cried. Not bawling or anything. But tears brimming and gently spilling over. And my 3-year-old looks at me and asks, "What's wrong, Mommy?"
"I've ruined your cake, honey."
Tears in her eyes, "Get me down from here, Mommy." (she was sitting on the bar.)
I get her down and she climbs up in my lap and puts her arms around me, both of us crying ever so slightly and quietly. She doesn't care if it's perfect. She was excited that Mommy was making her a cake. But I still wasn't going to present it to other people.

Thankfully, my mil is very experienced in cake decorating and came and saved the day and gave me some pointers (although I'm very skeptical at this point as to whether I'll ever use them.) She didn't decorate it, but got the coat of icing smooth and even (by adding quite a bit more) after I took the turrets off. So it now sits waiting for the details, which my husband will be adding in the morning before church.

0 comments on "Crying"

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Crying

I cried over a cake today. Seriously. Over a cake. It was the most pitiful thing (both me and the cake.) I'm not normally an emotional person. Yes, even given that I'm a woman, I may tear up at a scene in a movie, but I can't remember the last time I had a really good cry. Maybe that's why I broke down over a cake.

You still may be wondering, "Really? A cake?" So, I'll share a little background.

For the six years that we've been celebrating birthdays of our children, my husband has made every birthday cake. And he does a fabulous job. Well, this week has been busy and he's in the middle of a huge project, so I thought to myself, "I can do that." My daughter (the just-barely 3-year-old) picked what looked to me like a pretty straightforward cake. A castle, but one with two square cakes, a few ice cream cones for turets, and some decorating. No problem.

Well, the first problem is that I also had a retirement party to go to for a friend this morning, a friend's daughter's hair to fix for prom and company coming for dinner. Oh, and by the way, two of the kids (the 3-year-old and 11-month old) were home with me. Think yet that I'm crazy? You wouldn't be wrong. But I'm an optomist and surely, surely I can whip a simple castle together.

Home from the retirement party, I mix the cake and put the pans in the oven. In the meantime I nurse the baby, pull chicken off the bone to make chicken salad and put eggs on to boil for deviled eggs. I also whip up some pink icing and coat the ice cream cones, with my 3-year-old's help with some sprinkles. At this point I'm feeling pretty good about how things are going. The baby's becoming more needy (i.e. tired) and I gratefully lay her down for her afternoon nap. The cakes come out of the oven and we proceed to finish the chicken salad and take the eggs off boil while they cool. Off to make the white icing. And things began to fall apart.

Being ultra frugal, I didn't trim the cakes to straighten them out before or when I stacked them. Even though I knew I should. I thought I could cover anything up with the icing. Big mistake. BIG mistake. I can do icing for cookies, but cake icing is a whole different creature. I've seen it done, I've done it once or twice, but I absolutely could not get it the right consistency. It dried smooth on top, but was slumping on the sides and drying with the texture of agrigate. I went over it and over it and over it. All the while my 3-year-old (who's cake it is) is sitting patiently watching and playing. It's not perfect, but I can go over it again after it's settled some.

Next comes putting on the turrets. Since the cake's not flat, it takes some pressure to get them set in place. One eventually starts sliding and I use a toothpick to hold it into place. Satisfied that it will be good enough, I start on the pink icing to go around the base of the turrets. It had hardened in the fridge and I added a tad of milk to soften it. Another big mistake. I put these pretty little puffs around the turrets and by the time I finished the last one, the first was an oozing blob. Not to be undone, I scrape it off, add more powdered sugar to my icing and start over to no avail. I wish I had taken a picture of the cake at this point, I really do. It would be proof positive that I never need to attempt cake decorating again. But I didn't, so you'll just have to visualize the pink icing running down the lopsided cake with the turrets trying to fall.

I sat down and cried. Not bawling or anything. But tears brimming and gently spilling over. And my 3-year-old looks at me and asks, "What's wrong, Mommy?"
"I've ruined your cake, honey."
Tears in her eyes, "Get me down from here, Mommy." (she was sitting on the bar.)
I get her down and she climbs up in my lap and puts her arms around me, both of us crying ever so slightly and quietly. She doesn't care if it's perfect. She was excited that Mommy was making her a cake. But I still wasn't going to present it to other people.

Thankfully, my mil is very experienced in cake decorating and came and saved the day and gave me some pointers (although I'm very skeptical at this point as to whether I'll ever use them.) She didn't decorate it, but got the coat of icing smooth and even (by adding quite a bit more) after I took the turrets off. So it now sits waiting for the details, which my husband will be adding in the morning before church.

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