Piece of cake…right?

I’m about to enter birthday hell – all my kids will celebrate their milestones within the next 2.5 months…and as much as I love the parties, I dread the cakes.

My biggest mistake was letting the kids browse through a cake book and letting them choose what they wanted.

“This one, Mum – looks pretty easy!” I look in horror at the elaborate fairy castle complete with hand-crafted roof tiles and individually-moulded white chocolate gates.

“How about this one…?” I stutter, trying to steer the focus towards the square-shaped photo frame encrusted with sweets. “I’ve got just the picture…”

“But Mum…” The lower lip wobbles and I sigh, resigning myself to the fact that the next two weeks (or more) will be dedicated to cake decorating. But that’s not the major problem. In the countries I’ve lived in, it’s generally easier to find that needle in the haystack than what you need to decorate your daughter’s birthday cake.

Every year I’ve had to start sourcing produce and products weeks in advance. In Holland – cake baking appeared to be an obscure pastime so the items I needed simply weren’t available. In Singapore – if the products are available, you need to have timed your shopping with the latest shipment into the island or alas – too late and you’ll miss out.

The cake for S should have been so simple – he wanted a kite. Easy? It’s a diamond shape, four different colours of tinted butter cream and some black liquorice to break up the shades. Simple, right? But how wrong I was! Can’t get the liquorice but managed to find a substitute. Drive to the next shopping centre to source the rest of the stuff I need for the party – nothing difficult except for the volume of traffic going into the shops. After an hour of fighting for a parking space I gave up and went home.

Take two – fast forward several hours which were spent baking cakes in a kitchen that felt hotter than the oven on high, I tried a third shopping centre. And a fourth. Both are betwext and between a major sporting venue, which had multiple events happening this afternoon. The queue was only half an hour long and I praise those patient shop assistants, who were still smiling under pressure. But I’m back to making do. I took what I could get and ran. Not quite what I wanted but the clock was ticking.

Anyway, S will get a cake, and it will – in part – resemble the picture in the book. And the kids are very forgiving with my improvisation skills.

“I’m sure it’ll taste great…”

One birthday (almost) down, two to go.

Will things like this be a little easier when we move home? I’m sure home has it’s own set of challenges but here’s hoping for one stop, one shop. Happy birthday, S!


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