Friday, January 20, 2012

Cake Is My Weakness: Part Two

     At 2am, I unmolded my second attempt at a giant cupcake for Buttercup’s birthday.  A beautifully formed confection waited for me to decorate it into a pink and white fantasy worthy of the fairiest of fairy princesses.  I was ecstatic that this cake looked like it might hold up, unlike its pitiful, gelatinous, gluey predecessor.  I dropped in the bed, exhausted but ready to give Buttercup a birthday to remember.  I got up the next morning and readied myself for a day of low-key, autism-friendly festivities, the highlight being my pink-sational centerpiece.  I rounded the corner to the kitchen and gasped at what lay before me.

     My naked cake had cracked.

     I don’t mean a hairline fracture or an unfortunate divot.  I mean a full-fledged, “watch your step please”, deep as the Grand Canyon, crackamundo crevice.  I decided right then that the god of crappy baking must be named Squidge-Bucket Jelly-Fart and he hates me.  I tried to apologize for whatever I had done to be so displeasing, but it was too late.  Squidge-Bucket Jelly-Fart had already cursed my cake with his lightning crack of fury.  As I surveyed the damage, The Yankee comes to the kitchen in search of something caffeinated.  “My cake!” I screeched, pointing at the chocolate disaster on the counter, “It’s ruined!”  He yawned, bleary-eyed and grumpy as ever.  “That’s nice.  Where’s the sugar spoon?”  I glared at him, “Don’t tempt me.”

     I stared at my disastrous, cracked cake, looking progressively sadder and more hideous by the minute.  I have no more boxes of cake mix.  I am out of eggs and cocoa powder so scratch baking is out of the question (not that I’m any good at it anyway).  We have to leave for Mom and Dad’s house in an hour.  I am out of options.  I plunk the lid on the cake carrier and grit my teeth.  I’ll think of something ... I have to. 

     We get to Mom and Dad’s, Buttercup blissfully unaware of the crackpot cake in the trunk and the crackpot mother in the front seat.  Dad, Moose and Red, Wolverine and Midge were already present and accounted for.  Mom would arrive later in the afternoon thanks to a no-husbands-allowed vacation she had enjoyed with a friend.  I left unpacking “Krakatoa” for last, and was not surprised to find Squidge-Bucket Jelly-Fart had deepened the Great Divide to the point the cake was now split in half.  Oh joy.  While Dad and The Yankee talked shop with Moose and Wolverine, Red and Midge tried not to laugh at my cursed attempt at baking.  I tried to laugh it off, “We shall overcome!  I have come armed with icing!”

     Why did I think this would work?

     Evidently, some bored person with a shrewd interest in making a fast buck off DIY bakers decided to sell squares of parchment paper as “easy to roll!” pastry bags in a box of 100.  I quickly discovered 100 is a requirement if you intend to be as tenacious as I am.  For almost an hour, I rolled, re-rolled, taped, glued, folded, wrinkled, and subsequently destroyed 95 squares of the slickest, most slippery paper ever marketed.  I would have had more success nailing cotton candy to a gelatin square.  Red waiting until she got outside before she laughed at me for calling parchment square #96 a “snortin sniveling frick turd moo moo head.” 

     I finally found one of Mom’s pastry bags, filled it with icing, and squeezed.  BOOM!!  The coupler gave way as icing and a decorating tip flew across the kitchen like a runaway balloon.

     I think I screamed a little.

     Finally, I managed to get a bit of cooperation from another one of Mom’s pastry bags.  I mixed electric pink and neon green icing to Buttercup’s exacting specifications.  With some creativity birthed from extreme desperation, I managed to turn the crackamundo cake of doom into a rock covered in a neon vine of electric pink flowers with a garden of beautiful flowers flowing from a crack in the “rock”.  I was sweaty, I had a headache, and I hoped I never saw another square of parchment as long as I lived.  Even so, I was thrilled at Buttercup’s smile and nearly wept as she said, “Oh Mama.  My flower so beautiful.”  Maybe it had been worth the effort after all.  I could breathe a sigh of relief. 

     “Hey Bert,” someone called out.  “How’d you get a pudding center in the middle of this cake?”

© Bertha Grizzly 2012.  All Rights Reserved.  No duplication or distribution.

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