How to bake the perfect birthday cake (AKA a recipe for trouble.)

img_2264Take a close look at this cherub. See how her eyes sparkle with excitement. Now cast a glance downwards at the rich, chocolaty birthday brownie that her mummy has so lovingly created for her… Errr. NOPE. This particular baking product is courtesy of Signore Pizza Express, located somewhere between Big Mummy Fail Palazzo and Major Fuck-up Strada.

With our family birthday season now upon us, I think it’s high time I fessed up to my biggest mummy failing…

I Can’t. Bake. Birthday. Cakes.

Flapjacks? A cinch. Muffins? Child’s play. Even brownies on any other day emerge from the oven with just the requisite amount of goo. But everytime I go to bake a birthday cake for one of my children I freeze. Is it the pressure? Probably. More than anything I want to see them happy, and watching that lower lip wobble when my handiwork looks NOTHING like BFF’s Sophie’s* sends me into a tailspin.

I know I’m not the only one. My earliest memory is seeing my own mum howl with frustration when my ‘fairy castle’ kept caving in like the Walls of Jericho. Homemade Mince Pies at Christmas however? She’s a bloody Bake Off Champion.

And it’s not through lack of trying either. It just so happens that DD1’s requested ‘sweetie basket’ sponge cake that year was as flat as a pancake, and all the jelly tots fell out of the bottom before the candles could be located. In such a time of crisis Pizza Express was the only solution.

Now when I look at that photo of Emily I see relief. Relief that mummy isn’t going to weep uncontrollably at daddy about bakery bugger-ups anymore, and accusations about improper cake mixing techniques will no longer be hurled across the kitchen table. All is well in the world because Sainsbury’s have started stocking Disney Princess carriage cakes.

But still, there’s a niggling at the back of mind. Maybe this will be the year when Emily’s homemade Moana cake will trump them all…?

For god’s sake talk me down. There are enough tears at children’s birthday parties as it is…

But that’s a whole other blog.

Happy baking!


Leave a Reply