Thursday, April 8, 2010

The icing on the cake

I'm one of those people who firmly believes that you cannot have a birthday without the cake. Home-made or store-bought, chocolate or white, candles or sparklers, as long as you have a cake it feels like a celebration.

This year Caitlyn's birthday started and ended with cake. For breakfast I served up a piece of homemade chocolate banana cake. (O.k., it was Duncan Hines but I did change the mix by adding a banana instead of one egg and applesauce instead of oil. And I cooked it in the oven - so it was definitely homemade!) Seeing Caitlyn and Jack's eyes light up at the idea of cake for breakfast made me feel a little giddy too. Not to be a bad parent, I did follow it up with some scrambled eggs. That wasn't the best taste combination. Next time I'd skip the eggs!

I'll always remember one of the cakes my Mom made me when I was young. It was shaped like a little girl and was almost as big as me. It had gumdrop buttons and licorice hair, and a pink icing dress. I'm sure I didn't fully appreciate it then, but I recognize now the hard work and love that went into creating that perfect birthday moment.

When I was baking Caitlyn's cake the other night, I started thinking about another cake from my past - the money cake! Remember the days when moms used to bake nickels, dimes and quarters right into the cake batter? Kids didn't just lick the icing off that cake. Oh no, each piece was demolished and chowed down in a frantic treasure hunt! If you were lucky the coins were at least wrapped up in wax paper so you'd get a bit of a warning before swallowing. Otherwise you'd find your treasure when you bit down on the cold hard cash - and hopefully spit it out in time! We were tougher then - those were the days of no car seats and cement under the monkey bars - and the thrill of finding money far outweighed the risk of choking on it.

In our more safety conscious world, and without waivers from the parents, I have yet to resort to making my own money cake to excite the kids. Instead I have iced my fair share of Nemo, Mr. Incredible, Buzz Lightyear, Indiana Jones, butterfly and giraffe cakes. Hopefully when Caitlyn and Jack grow up they too will remember some of those cakes, and understand how much love I baked into them.

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