Friday, April 1, 2011

Lightning McQueen Cake

For better or worse, today is Cody's fifth birthday. Micah and Jamie are both still sick. Sadly, Cody came down with it yesterday too, at the fair. Yes, we did go to the fair. It was somewhat disastrous. Jamie was a basket case, and we lasted all of two and a half hours before we had to get him out of there. My parents were there so we left Cody with them and drove home. (A forty minute drive, by the way.) Then I turned around and drove back to get Cody and hopefully hang out at the fair for a while. I had barely left home to drive back to town when my mom called and said Cody was not feeling well and wanted to go home. To make a long story short, I arrived back at the fair at 5:15 p.m. and Cody decided to stick around for a while. We stayed until 7:30 p.m., which was all right, but we had to leave in the middle of the show jumping, which was hugely disappointing to me. Life is different with kids. It's just different. Mine are all so young it is hard for them to even appreciate stuff like that. In a few years, they will all have a lot more fun there, which in turn will make it more fun for us.

Anyway, Cody's birthday began at approximately 6 a.m. today. Among the sounds we heard were boys screaming and fighting, our bedroom door constantly opening and boys barging in, Jamie finding one of Cody's presents and ripping the wrapping paper off, Jamie throwing various tantrums for various and ridiculous reasons...etc. Once again, we found it difficult to wake up in a sunshiny mood. Jamie has been in that same state for the entire day so far, and it is all we can do to keep from putting a giant piece of duct tape across his mouth. All right, we'd never do that, but even Mike's sanity is hanging on by a thread and we're both ready to throttle someone...specifically Jamie.

Backing up a little, on Wednesday I did bake Cody a birthday cake, and yes, I did the Lightning McQueen one. I said I would post pictures in here, so now I will do that. Icing the cake was an endeavour of olympic caliber. I followed the instructions carefully, but never could I have anticipated the sheer volume of icing that I would be required to make for such a small cake. Really, I used a normal cake mix, but you have to shave off the top part so the cake is flat when you flip it out of the pan, and that was a significant amount of cake. I started making the icing at 8:30 p.m. That was my first mistake. I was forewarned by my sister that it would take a while to make the icing, but I couldn't have known how long. First I made the first batch, which took four cups of icing sugar. Four cups. Wow. Okay, I went ahead and made the whole batch. Did I mention it also took half a cup of butter and half a cup of "vegetable shortening", which I will affectionately refer to as lard. Yuck! There is lard in the icing. I had no idea. Once I had it all made and was perusing the instructions to see how much I needed in each colour, that was when I discovered I would need a second batch of icing. I could hardly believe it. In total, I used eight cups of icing sugar. Eight. A whole cup of butter. (Margarine, actually.) A whole cup of lard, and that does not include all the food colouring. I know, it sounds like nothing, but you can't just buy regular colouring for this kind of cake. I had to buy the specialty kind, and I literally used three quarters of the little jar for the red icing. I have never used so much food colouring in all my life. It was insane.

After I mixed and iced and mixed and iced, I found that I had way too much icing. Well, what a shocker! I think it is safe to say I probably could have saved almost half of what I made, but I guess they expected me to lay it on quite a bit thicker. The whole process, not including the actual baking of the cake, took three hours. It was almost midnight by the time I had cleaned up most of the mess and put the cake in a container to freeze until the big day. Here is a picture.

And now here is what the cake is supposed to look like.
(The picture shows the pan and then the finished cake.)

Yeah, mine looks better. Oh wait...maybe not. So it didn't turn out perfectly, but in my defense, I have never done this before. I see I forgot to put the white dots on the hood, and I also outlined the number 95 in black by accident, instead of red. I see I was also supposed to do orange around the back fender, but my instructions failed to mention that, so I did that part in red too. Well let me tell you, even with the fancy pan and all the instructions, this process was very difficult. And I'm an artist. Well, I've never worked with icing before, but still, it was really hard. Cody was thrilled though, so in the end it was worth it. I can't put a picture of him blowing out his candles right now because my camera battery died, so I'll have to do it another time. 

Now Micah is asleep and the other two are both playing with iPads in their rooms, so it is refreshingly, (if temporarily) quiet in here. Ah. I will sign off for now. Maybe I can enjoy the solitude for a while longer before Micah wakes up. Bye for now.


Jo said...

You did a wonderful job on the cake. Sad to say, I've never done that...just can't stomach the thought of the icing. I'm sure he loved it and some day he'll appreciate his Mommy's hard work. Sorry about the fair. Can you get a sitter to put the kids to bed and go in some evening? That would be a "date"! ha ha.

Anonymous said...

The cake looks great! I never attempt those cakes because I'm too scared as to how sore my hand will be the next day after doing all those flower dot things so I just do "smooth" icing that ends up looking like snow drifts! Please don't feel too discouraged about the fair. My youngest is almost 4 and it was finally easy this year and everyone was actually healthy, so it will come! Jo's idea for a date sounds like a good alternative for now though!!
Anita K

CAT said...

Yes, the cake was an intimidating project, and during the process I wished I could turn back and just do a normal cake. But in the end, it was worth it because Cody was thrilled. And yes, my hand was cramping up!

As for the date concept, it seems to be a lost art around here. We had a tentative one scheduled for this week, but due to various circumstances it fell through. Part of my problem is the lack of baby sitting around here. And the reason that's a problem is because I am reluctant to leave my kids with someone I don't know. Everyone I know is related to me and is either unavailable or has very small kids of their own to deal with. Right now Micah is in diapers and Jamie still needs help on the toilet occasionally, so I'd rather stick with relatives. Once they are older, maybe I'll be less chicken about hiring someone from the community.

Allison said...

I think the cake looks fantastic! What a great surprise for your little guy. You are such a great mom to go through all that work for his birthday. Allison