Saturday, January 16, 2010

One of those days... (or, Happy 31st Birthday, Hubby!)

You've had "one of those days" before, right? Where things just don't seem to go right? We had that on Chris's birthday, which was this past Thursday. I had nothing planned other than making him a birthday cake and cooking dinner... otherwise, we'd do our Circle Time songs, play outside, do a few very small chores... Well, as it so happens on birthdays, car tags expire. So we went to the tag office, leaving behind all the well-laid-out cake ingredients (along with good intentions to bake the cake while we ate lunch after returning). But at the tag office, it became evident that I was missing a piece of paperwork needed to get one of the tags renewed. A trip back home and again to the tag office seemed inevitable, and Caroline was dismayed that we "might not have time to finish Daddy's cake!" You see, to a four year old, it's just not a birthday without a cake for the birthday person! But, Chris was able to print off a copy of the paperwork from his computer and fax it to the office (you see, they don't have email there!)... and by the time all this was completed, it was past lunch time when we got home. So we ate quickly and I got a tired Cecilia down for a nap... and then mixed up the ingredients and put the cake into the oven, with Caroline's assistance. And, no sooner had I set the timer when... Cecilia started crying. No, it did not take me over an hour to mix up the cake. It had taken 15 minutes, plus the ten previous minutes spent reading Caroline a book and using the bathroom. So... off to nap with Cecilia I went. She got in another 40 minutes until Caroline ran into the room, whispering loudly, "Mommy, the timer is going off! I was worried that Daddy's cake would burn!" We got up and all three of us went into the kitchen, where I smelled burning and opened the oven. The one-layer cake had dripped all over the oven... it had overflowed while baking. Yuck.

So, I took it out and then scraped all the chunks of lava-like cake from the bottom of the oven. They were still warm, so that made the cleanup easy, other than spilling the crunchy cake crumbles everywhere. Caroline was enthusiastic about sweeping them up for me, but she was worried that Daddy's cake was ruined. I was concerned, too. The cake - pictured above - had a crust over the surface, but it jiggled a lot underneath. When poked with a toothpick, it appeared that it was still liquid inside. I was about to start over and just chuck my dinner plans and we'd go out somewhere close by, but then, after tasting the crust all around the edge of the cake pan, we realized that the cake itself wasn't burned at all... and maybe since it had that crust on the top, I could stick it back in the oven to finish it up without it overflowing more.

Anyone ever read the Five Little Monkeys book series? In one, the monkeys bake a birthday cake for their mama. This was almost the same experience here... "Oh no, the cake dripped all over! Turn off the oven! Save the cake!" "We ruined Mama's birthday cake!" "Wait, this cake doesn't taste too bad." "Frosting might help."

And help it did! The previously made frosting (a cup and a half of heavy cream and a box and a half of baker's chocolate, oh yeah!!) did a nice job at covering up the pitiful cake. And, the dental floss method of cutting a cake into two thin layers worked really well.

This was the Chocolate Stout Cake recipe from the King Arthur whole grains cookbook. Yes, that means it has beer in it. And it's delicious!!! If anyone reading this ever happens to make this recipe one day, USE TWO CAKE PANS. This is NOT, contrary to the book's claim, a one-layer cake. It filled the pan to the top before I baked it (which should have been a sign to me, but I believed the recipe). And hey, wouldn't it be easier to bake it in two pans anyway and skip the part where you have to split the one layer into two?

Caroline and Cecilia helped count out candles for the cake. Okay, so Cecilia just watched and counted to twelve over and over while not knowing what it meant in reference to the candles. Caroline was just so excited all day about making a nice birthday for Daddy... she even rushed around and cleaned up the house, unprompted, to make it look nice for him when he got home, while I got dinner started... a bit earlier than normal because of Cecilia's shorter nap.

Caroline liked putting the candles on the cake especially. She said, "Wow, I have to make TWO rows of candles to make them all fit!" Ha ha!

These are the best two kids ever. They were such troopers all day... none of their actions contributed to the difficulties of the day. Okay, so Cecilia waking up after less than 30 minutes of a nap added to it, but it's not like that is an intended action on her part. She wan';t just trying to be "manipulative" or something... I think her last molar is bugging her. She has had a few difficult naps lately. I think I would too if there was a flap of gum covering part of my biggest tooth, ouch! But they were patient at the tag office... as patient as you can be as little kids! They didn't mind that they had lunch a bit late. They didn't flip out because they had no outside time all day long. They were just awesome!! And the day ended very nicely!

Here is the cake with its second "row" of candles... the inner circle that Caroline began in order to fit all 31 candles.

Chris got home and bathed the girls while I finished dinner, and then he opened cards and a present before we ate. Our Gap at the mall is closing, so I took full advantage of the clearance sale and got him a pair of corduroys, two t-shirts, and a long-sleeved shirt.

And after dinner, we lit up those candles and ate some high-maintenance, very yummy birthday cake! It really does taste so good that it was worth the trouble! ;)

Happy birthday, Hubby!!!

1 comment:

mel said...

Whew, I'm glad it turned out ok! You are a trooper, at the first sign of car tag trouble we would have been picking up pizza and a bakery cake, haha!

Cecilia looks so big!