Darling Daughter is having some friends over this evening to celebrate her eighteenth birthday. We had our family celebration a few days ago on her actual birthday. We didn’t have a real birthday cake then. I just made a pan of brownies and we celebrated with brownie sundaes. I was planning on the real birthday cake this evening. By yesterday, however, I was still struggling to get all the Christmas decorations stowed away so I figured I would just buy an ice cream cake from the nearby Cold Stone Creamery. When my daughter heard my plans, her demeanor was a bit crestfallen, but she didn’t complain.
I started decorating cakes when my oldest was two years old and my second son was six months old. At that time both my husband and I were in the Air Force and we had just been stationed at two different bases. I was in Georgia and he was in Florida. I had the kids and after a couple of months, knew that I needed to make some time for just me. I splurged on a sitter once a week for about six weeks and took the Wilton cake decorating class at the local J.C. Penney store. In addition to saving my sanity at that time, that class paved the way for some great family memories. Now somewhere around age twelve, my older boys decided they preferred homemade pies to frosted cakes when it came to their birthdays. So we have many pictures of strawberry, apple or blueberry pies with candles glowing. My youngest son graduated from decorated cakes to cheesecake at about age ten. Only my daughter continues to appreciate the creativity of a decorated cake.
So as I lay in bed last night, I thought about how I had baked and decorated a cake for every one of my daughter’s birthdays except for the year she turned two. That year we were traveling along I-10 en route from Moody AFB in Georgia to Edwards AFB in California. Family friends in Phoenix supplied her cake that year. I realized that this could be the last year she has a birthday party at home. I just couldn’t let her last birthday party at home be celebrated with a store bought cake. This morning, I got busy as soon as the kids left for school. I put on my Kitchen Madonna apron and was the picture of domestic efficiency. I was able to get all the decorations put away and bake a cake too. What do you think? I had icing left over from Christmas cookies so I combined colors to get the shades I needed for this design. I did have to make a batch of chocolate decorator frosting but otherwise most of it was already done. While she has outgrown most of her childhood favorites like Barney and Thomas the Tank Engine, my daughter still has a soft spot for Simba. I had done a Lion King cake for her when she was much younger but it had Simba as a cub. I decided that now that she was all grown up I would do a grown up Simba. She was so excited when she got home from school and found the cake. I am so happy that I could provide one more special birthday memory.