So my daughter just had a birthday, and due to work schedules we had to have her party in the middle of the week, instead of over the weekend like regular people. That meant I couldn’t do much advance prep over the weekend, when I have free time. That meant that I had to make most of the food the night before the party. Which happened to be Halloween. With my older kid in a post Trick or Treating candy induced frenzy, and my little one pulling dvds off the shelves, pushing coffee tables and chairs across the room, and generally dismantling the entire house. Not ideal conditions for baking a birthday cake. In fact, I tried making cupcakes for my boyfriend’s birthday a few weeks ago under similar conditions, and it was disastrous.
* Disclaimer: I am NOT a bad cook!!! In fact, I think I’m a pretty decent cook, and I love to bake. Without any distractions, I can totally throw together a pretty birthday cake. But cooking under a deadline with kids pulling you in two different directions is a whole other story. Plus, you know how it is when kids like to “help.” Everything is slower….and messier.
I’ve made a couple of really cute birthday cakes in the past. I made my older daughter an Eeyore cake on her first birthday (after her favorite stuffed animal) and an Elmo cake for her second. Then there was the failure of a My Little Pony cake on her third. It was one of those get-off-work-late-pick-up-the-kid-get-home-really-late-have-to-make-a-cake-because-her-birthday-is-the-next-day-but-the-kid-is-not-cooperating-or-behaving sort of scenarios. It looked awful, more like an oddly colored blob of gelatinous goo than a pony. It was embarrassing. Thankfully, I think only three people saw it.
I decided to not tempt fate this year, considering I already had a bunch of stuff to do, and making a cake, waiting for it to cool, then spending even more time mixing, coloring and piping frosting was just going to be too much. Besides, I really didn’t want to risk screwing it up. It IS her first birthday after all, and if I ruined a cake we were just going to end up making a bakery run anyway.
So I thought of a brilliant cheat, and came up with a way that I could still create a really sweet customized cake but with a fraction of the work on my end.
You know those photo cakes they have at some bakeries? Where you give them a photo, and using some sort of bakery magic they scan it and print it onto the cake? I think those cakes are so cool, although getting the slice with someones face freaks me out. I thought, if they can do that with photos, then shouldn’t they be able to do it with artwork? I could draw something really cute, have them scan it, and put THAT onto her cake. Easy, right? No piping, no mess, no stress!
I already has a design in mind, so over the weekend, the second she went down for a nap, I whipped out my laptop and composed a cute little picture. The great thing is, what I created in half an hour I would have taken me three times as long to pipe with frosting. Plus, I could create the image ahead of time. Cake frosting will get kind of gooey if you do it too far in advance.
The results were great! You can see for yourself at the top of the post. It’s a nice simple solution for all you people like me who WANT to make something awesome, but who live in the real world where there’s jobs and commutes and kids and laundry and….you know how it goes!