Let me tell you the story about my cakes. For Kelly and Jamie’s first few birthdays, I either got an ice cream cake, or I made my own and then made several feeble attempts to decorate them. After making my last tasty but very pathetic-looking cake, I discovered that the local adult school was offering a course in cake decorating.
I had taken several courses in the past—both a tennis and an exercise class with Grandma and a dance class with Dad, Aunt Ar, and Uncle Paul. The first two classes were fun and successful while the dance class was a failure. Nevertheless, maybe I could at least learn how to write “Happy Birthday” on your cakes. I was six months pregnant with Casey, so it was doubtful that I would be able to complete the entire course. Still, I reasoned, it was worth the try.
The course was taught in Lincoln Park by a man known around town as “the cake man.” It was a very hands-on class, and he guided us through each step, beginning with how to perfectly ice a cake, then moving on to teach us the trick of how to write a message, make roses and leaves, and how to make just about any design on a cake.
Each time I returned home, I was more encouraged that I would actually be able to make a cake of which I could be proud. Then our teacher announced he was going to suspend the class for two weeks around mid-November and then would resume again in early December. That worked out perfectly for me, because as you all know, Casey was born two weeks early, and those two weeks were smack dab in the middle of our break. When the class resumed, I returned no longer pregnant and did not miss a single class.
Kelly’s fifth birthday was just a few weeks after the end of the class, so I put what I had learned to the test and created a surprisingly respectable clown cake, similar to one we made in class.
For Casey’s Christening, I made this cake, which I copied from a cake book that soon became my decorating bible.
On Jamie’s third birthday, she wanted to have a Cherry Merry Muffin-themed party, which is when I first tested the trick of transferring a design from a plate onto a cake. It is a very easy but extremely long and tedious process with nice results.
I did that with Carly’s Wizard of Oz Cake. Other times, I was able to find a pan, which was the easiest kind of cake to decorate because it involved basically coloring with icing, like the Ninja Turtle Cake. The more colors to a cake, the more time-consuming the project, so Carly’s Cake took a lot of time because there were at least eight colors and I had to transfer the design onto to cake.
I had nothing to work with for Matthew except for the fact that he was interested in electricity. His was probably one of my most challenging projects.
I had a few people that wanted to pay me for the cakes, but I never liked doing that because I could never charge an amount anywhere near the time it took me to make them. As an amateur, I did not have icing made in a dozen colors filling that many decorating bags. So I did it for the fun, and then you all grew up and I became lazy. Well, the lazy days are coming to a close now that we have a new generation of children for me to create cakes. I guess I have to start shopping for the tools again.