Saturday, March 19, 2011
Last Minute Birthday Cake
Last weekend we finally got around to celebrating my son's first birthday. A series of unfortunate events (broken toe, strained back, baby sickness) postponed the celebration into this glorious month of March. It was a very last minute affair. My parents kindly brought over frozen and defrosted homemade Peking duck wrappers and store bought roast duck and chicken. While we were in charge of getting a few more take out items to round out the feast, as well as the birthday cake.
The morning started out well enough - we had a nice family breakfast and the kids went off to play with Baba (daddy) while I started baking the cake. It was about 10am when the cake came out of the oven to cool, leaving me plenty of time to make my cake toppers, prepare the frosting, assemble the cake, let it set, and lay some fondant on.
The cake toppers were super fun to make. Kind of like fondant play dough. The boys have both had monkey cakes for their first birthdays. Just a coincidence that their favourite stuffed animal (at the time) was/is a monkey. I posed the the monkeys in two classic poses that often we see our little guy in. They weren't perfect... but I figured the boys would like them and it was just a family gathering anyway.
At this point I was feeling pretty good about my timing. We had planned to visit friends and see their newborn at around 2 pm and it was still only 11 am. Feeling confident that I had time to spare, we had a bit of lunch and I started mixing up the buttercream. Noon came around and the buttercream was just hardening up in the fridge, while I cut the cake out.
Around 1 pm was when the crushing reality of mommy brain set in. My hubby said to me, "Why does the laptop say it's 2:15?" That was when we realized... It was the beginning of daylight saving time and we had completely forgotten! Suddenly I was applying the crumb coating to my cake an hour later than I thought. In fact, we were already supposed to be well on our way to our friends' house.
Long story short, I threw the half-finished cake in the fridge, sent a quick message to our friends saying we were late and dashed out the door. We were obviously an hour later than we had planned coming home and this made for the quickest fondant layer I've ever laid on a cake. Thrown on in a hurry while the table was being set for a long-awaited dinner and I had some moo shu frying in the wok.
You can see the cracks that inevitably developed in the cheap store-bought fondant as I speed-smoothed it over the corners. Thank goodness I had pre-coloured the fondant earlier or it would have been an even more ghetto natural white colour! So much for my plan of cutting out little green leaves to decorate the cake with :) Thankfully there was more than enough cake to go around and everyone seemed to enjoy it. The monkeys were a big hit with the boys (big brother immediately named one monkey after himself and the other after the birthday boy) and they seemed happy enough to have candles and cake.
Biggest fail of the day? Having everything occur an hour later than planned meant that the kids were up waaay past their bedtimes with sugar highs.
p.s. I wish I had taken a picture of the horrific scene the monkeys made on Day 3. One was missing all its limbs and appendages. While the other had a big bite taken out of his bum. From love to hate in the blink of an eye.