Parenting Perspective: Homemade birthday cakes

<div class="meta image-caption"><div class="origin-logo origin-image wpvi"><span>WPVI</span></div><span class="caption-text">My 2-year-old&#39;s birthday fell on a weekday so I knew it would take organization to get it done after work.  I baked 3 layers on the weekend and froze them.  </span></div>
April 1, 2010 10:01:44 AM PDT
Like most of you, our family life is fast-paced. In fact, we're in hyper drive! I'm always looking for ways to cut corners, multi-task and buy things my mom and sisters use to simply make. So, what does that mean for birthdays?

I always try to make it special for the kids, but the cake is usually something I pick out at the local grocery store. While there's nothing wrong with buying a birthday cake, I have been thinking back on my birthdays as a kid. My older sisters took great delight in making cakes for me. They were lopsided, half-baked and rarely came out like we had hoped. But, I LOVED THEM! I can still remember how proud I was when it came time to sing and we gathered around a cake that was clearly baked with love.

So, last week I set off to renew this lost family tradition. I was bound and determined to make my son's cake for his second birthday. I had the overly ambitious plan of making a carousel. I love to be creative and rarely spend time on things like this - so it was a blast!

My 2-year-old's birthday fell on a weekday so I knew it would take organization to get it done after work. I baked 3 layers on the weekend and froze them. For the base I made one large 12-inch round layer and a 10-inch round to go on top. I used a dome shaped pan to bake the top of the carousel. The day before the party, I decorated the layers and used icing to glue horse shaped cookies to poles. (I told you this was ambitious!) The next day, I built my towering confection. Little did I know it would become a tower of terror!

I was SO PROUD!! (Check out the slideshow.) The cake was truly amazing and seemed to defy gravity. (That should have been my first clue!) I picked up the cake and started singing happy birthday while carrying it to the table. Everyone in the room new this was a BAD idea.

They were right.

The dome top came tumbling down to the floor. Believe it or not, that wasn't the worst part! The candle on top of the dome was already lit. The burning candle went flying and hot wax flew down my shirt! (Seriously, what are the chances?) I was determined to hold on to the only remaining bit of my magnificent cake. So, I couldn't stop the candle. Fortunately, nothing caught on fire. I spent the rest of the night holding ice down my shirt and thankfully did not get seriously hurt.


So, making a homemade cake can sometimes be a case of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: The GOOD (taking the time to carry out a family tradition), the BAD (the flying cake of course!) and the UGLY (nursing a burn all night).

Well, it wasn't pretty - but it was fun!