Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Cakes: The Gallery

My Mum has started commenting on the blog! I LOVE it!! She still hasn't figured out how to giver herself a name but oh well, I know who she is!! :-)

Here's her comment from yesterday.

"I never cease to be amazed at the inventiveness of you modern Mums with birthday cake designs.It makes me remember my valiant efforts with rabbit faces,koala faces, bear faces all cut out from basic round shaped cake tins.I do however remember making ,or trying to make, a toadstool cake with a swiss roll tin shaped stalk and a round tin shaped top. The only trouble was that the stalk wasn`t strong enough to hold up the top! I battled on with skewers to hold it together and surrounded it with "green "shredded coconut grass" and marshmallow rabbits!!Anyway it got gobbled up in one tenth of the speed spent making it!!!!After many years of making cakes for three childrens birthdays all I can say is "I TRIED"Good luck to all you modern Mums and Dads."

Now that couldn't go by without me trying to find a photo of the aforementioned toadstool cake.

In my travels around external hard drive albums I found these pieces of evidence:

This is the only picture I could find of the rabbit birthday cake, which was my second. That's me on the left, the iridescent redhead amidst a tribe of tanned Aussies (even though they came out on the boat from England with us at exactly the same time......sheesh....some things just aren't fair...or in my case....they are always fair! hahahahaha).

This is my 8th birthday. Sadly, that is me up the end of the table in yellow. Middle Sis is two to my right with her hand covering her face and Little Sis is under that pink floral dress of Mum's and not due to make an appearance for another 4 months. The Bestie is in there too but she's chowing down on the far left of the picture so you can't see her face either.


Awww, what the heck, here's another one. Shows the cake better as well as Middle Sis at bottom right and Bestie at top right. Now this is how parties were done in the 60s. Crepe paper runner on the table and home made party hats. Pretty special I think. Simple enough but beats all those 'shop bought' things.

Now here's another one from a few years later. This is Middle Sis' 7th birthday. That sylph-like girlish figure on the left is my mother! Gee Mum, you look about 16 here. Oh! And the curtains have changed.


Got to say though that this cake looks pretty straightforward Mum.....three kids and return from an overseas trip catching up with you at that stage???

So while we are on the topic, I decided to do something I have been meaning to do for a while, and make a gallery of all my cakes. As it is the only cooking I do (unlike my hard working mum who was not often relieved in the kitchen) I can afford to make a fuss of them!

Unfortunately, I do not have a still shot of the Baby Angel's first birthday cake, which was a (pretty impressive) clown. I appeal to all of our English friends out there as well as my Middle Sis who was wielding a video on the day, to search their archives and see if they have a picture of her first birthday cake. I don't know what I was thinking letting the photo op slip past. Guess I was new at this 'birthday' thing.

But here is her second birthday cake. It's a crocodile. Or a snake. Whatever. I copied it from a book.



Number 3 came from the same book and Mum, I'm sorry, I take back everything I said about 'shop bought' things. Actually, I suspect you bought the plates and table cloth here? The cake is a couple of jaguars back to back. I think.


I tended to do a big party every alternate year and this next one, her 4th, was not one of those. We had a few friends over for cake and coffee and once more, I didn't get a proper picture of the cake before we cut it. From this year forward, the cake choices reflect the BA's story or movie fixation at the time. In 1998 she was all about 'The Little Mermaid'. We had all the characters in the bath, a Barbie style Ariel which changed colour in the water and I think Grandma had bought her the mermaid costume too. I made this cake up myself which is why it doesn't even mildly resemble Disney's Ariel.




So the 5th birthday was a biggie. 24 kids from school and we used the Church Hall. The Baby Angel was obsessed with Robin Hood having watched the Disney video and listened to the audio book in the car. We organised a full on medieval style 'carnival' complete with hired bouncy castle (King John's castle), a skittle alley, hat making, archery target with those sucker arrows (had to keep the dads away from that one!) knocking Little John off a log with a pool noodle and Friar Tuck in full regalia making less than medieval balloon animals. At the end we put King John and the Sherriff in a set of stocks and pelted them with tomatoes (ping pong balls).
The cake was copied from a fairy castle in a book but I was under strict instructions from the BA to make it a Robin Hood castle; nothing pink or fancy. This was one year that I cheated and bought the cakes that went under the icing. With my history hat on I can now say those towers were not medieval and definitely not in the Norman style but, oh well. I don't think the 5 year olds were paying that much attention to detail.


On her 6th birthday she was obsessed with Treasure Island and although the party was small, we still did a whole lot of pirate related games: 'Pass the Black Spot', 'Treasure Hunt' and something to do with sword fighting and walking the plank!

This cake came from a book and again I think my mum bought the table cloth and napkins! (maybe not...my memory is hopeless nowadays). That's a chest of 'smartie' treasure at the front. Don't ask me why the mountains at the back are purple...that's how they were in the picture!
(PS: note healthy baby tomato party food?)


For her 7th birthday the movie obsession was 'Monsters Inc'. The less said about this party the better as it was the one where the BA lost it and spent most of the day under a table or sitting on our friend's lap! Still, the cake was good. This was my first attempt at copying something from a cartoon or picture book. It was also our last birthday in the UK.


In 2003, her 8th birthday, we were in Australia and she was obsessed with 'X Men'.

This is one of my least favourite cakes but I had such a lot of trouble trying to find an image to represent 'X Men' without having to try and replicate faces. I found this logo and tried valiantly to reproduce it.

I know. But you have to admit it was a tough call..
For that cake I bought silver burnishing powder and real black icing for the first time.

Onto her 9th birthday. 'Scooby Doo' was the DVD of the day.


On her 10th we had a hiatus from film obsessions and she perused the cake icing book and chose this one:
It was kinda fun to do as she helped make the toys that went on the top.

Now, her 11th birthday. By then I was married and birthdays were a whole new deal. Here are the gang wearing hats related to their own age which all equal 11. And I wasn't even a Maths teacher at this point! (Mine's on the table next to the BA, guess how old I was?)

As you can see, the cake instruction that year was simply: decadent chocolate. This had chocolate icing and chocolate drops in white and dark choc scattered all over it. It doesn't look much but as I recall it tasted great!!

But by her 12th I was back in cake making mode. Here is her ipod. It was her current obsession.


Her 13th birthday was the infamous movie party. I thought this one turned out well.



For her 14th we went to see 'Phantom of the Opera' and she was obsessed by that.


And her 15th was the 'working girl' themed Big Mac:

But now with all that I still haven't managed to find a picture of mum's toadstool cake! I'll be emailing dad and hopefully have that to add later.

11 comments:

Jill/Twipply Skwood said...

Oh ***I*** remember the hamburger cake!!!!!!!!!

Very neat cake & the childhood pictures are great too!

My kids are not really crazy about cake. On my boy's fourth birthday, my gal talked him into buying a chocolate pie instead.

He did have an interesting cake one year though. He wanted (and got) a round cake shaped like a planet with an erupting volcano and an alien on top.

HipMomma said...

Oh wow! I was more amazed with every picture! I've never attempted to make a fancy cake like that. I would have to make one for a non occasion for the fear of totally messing the whole thing up.

Arizaphale said...

Jill: I would love to see the planet cake! We did a volcano cake for my dad one year (he's a geologist). Lurid would be the best word for it!!

Hipmomma: You see, the secret is to make them first when they're young and impressed by anything!!!! Actually, all the cakes are pretty flawed and wouldn't win any prizes at The Show (Fair) but just making her something which she envisages is the thrill for me. She always appreciates them.

chaoticfamily said...

Fantastic cakes... Love them. The hollywood star is my fave!

Anonymous said...

Great to see all Baby Angels cakes from her first 15 years! I`ll have to look in our boxes for real pictures of our old cakes.....note we didnt have the webb to put them on which is much easier to store things in, and find, than old boxes!!

Laine Moore said...

wow. I will make a dessert that takes 8 hours, but I wouldn't have the patience to make any of those!!! I particularly love the Ariel one and the castle after that. On the making side of it, I don't think I could ever be bothered, but on the receiving end, my mom never did anything like that for my birthday, and I think it's really special that you are. Having said that, those hats you and your friends are wearing in the first pictures are amazing!

Arizaphale said...

mum: Yeah! get out those boxes!!!! In fact, why not make up a few albums while you're about it!!!???:-D

Laine: You make 8 hour desserts???? I am SO impressed!! I guess what I love about the cakes is the chance to be a bit creative and crafty. They actually usually don't taste all that great. I don't think of them as food :-D
As for not being bothered.....wait until you have kids before you say that....!

Ca$h McBuck said...

I thought I visited you and attended BA's 3rd Birthday in 1998 (?) I remember that it was lovely & chaotic, with lots of visitors, your mum doggedly washing dishes, and a throng of naked kids rushing around shrieking and jumping in the splash pool...

Stacy said...

You are so very creative and GOOD! I stick to very plain cakes. I am not a baker, but I sit in awe of those of you that produce these kinds of wonderful cakes for your family. :)

Jill/Twipply Skwood said...

Arizaphale - If I can ever get my scanner working again, I'll scan it in, though I'm not sure I have a picture of just the cake. I think they're all cake & boy pics, with the focus mostly on the boy. :-)

Iwona Helms said...

I was wondering if your remember the name of the book from which the crocodile/snake cake came from? I had it in my hands awhile ago, but during moves if lost my copies:( would really appreciate the title of the book! Many thanks