18 March 2008

"Let Them Frost Cake!"

Why doesn't anybody ever believe me? When I say I don't want to do something because a) I don't care, b) it'll turn out wrong, or c) both, I actually mean it. People like my mother and my friend, Stephanie, both of whom are conspiring to leave me with a bleeding ulcer, are two of these sort of people. When it became obvious that Peawhistle's birthday party would consist of Dora the Explorer and nothing else (despite my fondest desire for an Army camouflage theme), Stephanie generously offered her Dora cake pan so that I might create one of my own making. I then silently, and later openly, mocked her assertions that I could easily decorate the cake myself, despite a complete lack of training in cake decorating. I've never understood why those with formal training in such things then insist that their newfound skills could be easily replicated by the most simple of single-celled lifeforms, let alone someone like me. She continued to insist, mostly because she claimed I would prefer to have the satisfaction of making my firstborn's birthday cake myself, fondly reminiscing about my contribution years on down the road. I countered that I would rather fondly recall that my firstborn's cake didn't resemble crap, which is exactly what it would look like if I tried my hand at it. We finally compromised on my baking the cake (which I can handle with a fair degree of confidence), my mother making the background frosting, and Stephanie coming over to "coach" me through the process of decorating Dora herself.

After much complaining to my mother the previous night about frosting the background with much difficulty, Steph and I proceeded with the actual frosting the morning of the party. She started outlining the head while I outlined the feet. Two minutes later, Steph willingly scraped my best effort off the cake and did it the correct way. She assigned me the task of filling in Dora's hair with black frosting. Not surprisingly, I excelled at destroying that while Steph zipped along doing practically everything else. She left the yellow socks for me to do, which I actually did fairly well. And then she pointed out that Dora now had a nice yellow leg instead of a sock. Again with the scraping and the correctly doing. She finally entrusted Dora's red shorts to me, which I did a fine job of, until I noticed later that I frosted over most of the crotch, leaving Dora with a skort. But it still looked nice.

Stephanie told me she had forgotten to mix up Dora's skin-colored frosting, so she improvised with the brown mixed in with what white frosting was left over. Turns out there wasn't enough white left to really do the trick, but we decided it was close enough and she frosted Dora's skin; that is, when she could see the cake through her tears of laughter.

Apparently Stephanie, like my mother, loves to tell everyone just how much her beautiful creations suck. As Steph put it, mostly so people know that she knows it isn't perfect. Personally, I never have to worry about that as people stopped expecting perfection--or anything like unto it--from me long ago. Steph promised this time that she would refrain from making broad announcements at the party about the cake's flaws. Instead, we simply took turns throughout the party of accusing the other of decorating it. This method worked very well for us.

For the record, Stephanie is a very good cake artist. Here is a previous Dora cake she was able to decorate, obviously minus my "help":

After the party was over and the little hurricanes had departed, Stephanie called me, laughing, and told me she had just emailed me a photo of the cake we had made together. I took a look:

We laughed for two days. You'll note that my exertions with the hair didn't help the effect one bit. She called it the lazy-eyed African-American Dora ("Is she looking at you, or the guy next to you??"). And her funny husband appropriately renamed her Moesha the Explorer.

Considering I was involved, which is never a plus, I thought it turned out as well as could be expected. If Stephanie had not been there at all, the cake would have looked like an unfrosted yellow cake with a lot of frosting scraped off. I appreciate her assistance immensely. I'll appreciate it even more next year when I refuse to have anything to do with the darned thing.


Stephanie B said...

Well, once again you brought tears to my eyes. Holy cow, every time I look at that cake I laugh. It kills me.

I laughed at the throwing blame. I just wanted people to know - who were complementing it - that it was a joint effort.

Next year, I'll do PW's cake for you if you want and if we're still here.

Ryann said...

Hey-I'm super impressed-I never would have even attempted that! Well done!

Benteti5 said...

Wow girlz, you've got skills. My kids are lucky to get frosting, let alone a cake that actually resembles something other than a blob.

Abby said...

Thank you, Steph. And what do you mean "if we're still here." You're pulling your kid from school early just because the Army says so? Screw them. Screw them all!!

And many thanks for the compliments on the cake. As I said, Stephanie did it.

Stephanie B said...

I don't think preschool counts as "school"

judiroso said...

Oh Abby, you are a funny lady. Well, at least you tried...I guess. Me and Justin about bust a gut laughing at "Moesha, the cross-eyed explorer" Thanks for the chuckles!

judiroso said...

I just ran thru that post again and those pictures are such a crack up! Thanks again for the laughs!

Abby said...

Glad you enjoyed it. We agree that at the time we didn't think it looked all that bad and we certainly didn't notice the eye bit until the photo came out. Good times though.

Janie said...

Moesha it is then - I am lauging my head off again

Stephanie B said...

I LOVE THIS POST. Man, I miss my Abby! When do you want to head out to Sunny California - we'll be there soon enough.