OK, so cake. In the interest of trying to watch my caloric intake, I told my mother a fruit tart would serve well as a birthday cake. The female siblings had other pinterest-inspired ideas. Apparently the making of this cake was quite chaotic, and I was warned like so:
"So, Alicia and I [Rachel is doing the talking] made you something. It's a cake. Aaaaand we think it's ok. I mean...the inside should be cute...we think it's fine...it was just...difficult...you'll have to wait until you see it. But we just wanted you to know it's not perfect. But our intentions were really good. So it might not look just right....but we meant well and we really tried hard. But we just want you to know it might look a little homemade. But it's going to taste good. But it was hot yesterday, and we didn't realize how much harder that would make things...so...it's not perfect. That's all."With an intro like that, my brain was swirling with what exactly they were talking about. I thought maybe they went for a rainbow cake and everything mixed on the inside and would be some strange shade of brown. When we went into the kitchen, there was some concern that the cake had shifted in the container on the drive over and that things would be a smooshy mess, and that layers would upend themselves when the lid came off. BUT--the lid came off, and this cake was probably one of the most "me" cakes you could make--
Polka dots, and red icing and the little heart!!! That heart apparently was a point of contention. One sister thought it was verging on "too much" and the other knows that when it comes to certain things I'm quite Victorian in my "more still isn't enough" approach. Rachel told A-train "Don't bump Aunt Leesh while she's writing on the cake." And he didn't. He stepped on her foot instead. Those little fruity gigantic non-pareils were a labor of love, apparently, in getting them to stick to the sides of the cake (and were a fiasco in and of themselves when A-train went to shake the container and the lid was off and they went everywhere). I declared the cake perfect, and that was that.
We had dinner, a bunch of us went for a walk, and then we came back for cake and tea. A-train insisted on putting the candles in the cake--
My mom and sisters were telling him "You have to put the candles in a certain way!" which is code for "symmetrically." He did it the same way he decorates Christmas trees--everything in one spot. It was a bit tricksy lighting the candles and keeping your fingertips fire-free.
The song was sung, a wish fervently made (I even closed my eyes and crossed my fingers, so you know it's legit--I take wish-making very seriously), and candles blown out. I went to cut the cake and was told "Make the first piece a nice big one." As I cut down, something felt funny, and I thought "OH my goodness, this must be what they messed up! I actually feel it!" So I made my two cuts, and was told "OK, take it out." I said "What's gonna come shooting out of this thing?" As I removed the gigantic slice, I heard a bit of a clatter. And this! This was the center of the cake--
Four layers, two partial, stuffed with M&M's, iced all around, with jimmies (you probably know them as sprinkles) everywhere, and red icing with a heart on top. They even picked out the brown candy so that it would be nothing but color.
As they told the tale of how this cake came to be, I could sense the tension that must have been in the room with two perfectionists (but in different ways) and a "helpful" little boy trying to pull off a layer cake in a hot kitchen. I'm surprised they all made it out alive.
And in case you're wondering--it tasted just as perfect as it looked. It certainly made this year's trip around the sun a little easier to swallow.