This post can also be entitled "Jen and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Morning," or "Mark Goes to the Grocery Store." It was a comedy of errors. In the end Alexander had a very nice 5th birthday, complete with a party with friends at an indoor playground. Pulling it off, well, that's the real story.
Party prep was in full swing on the day before his birthday. I ran out of vanilla while baking cookies, so I sent Mark to the grocery store. After he returned, I put a batch of m and m cookies in the oven for a full minute before remembering that I hadn't added the vanilla. Having my first Homer Simpson moment, I was thinking "it's still good, it's still good." I pulled the pan out and dumped the balls of not yet melted cookies back in the bowl and added the vanilla. I could not use beaters to mix it in as they would have crushed the m and ms, so I kneaded the dough by hand as best as I could.
We filled goodie bags with cookies, popcorn, and m and m's. Later we would we tie a balloon to each bag. They served as both decorations and a thank you gift. However, we ran out of the candy, so I sent Mark to the grocery store for m and m's and pinot grigio.
Baking the cake came last. The plan was to bake a giant cupcake to serve the parents and regular cupcakes for the preschoolers. The giant cupcake cake pan has 2 parts. It takes more than one box of cake mix, so I like to use chocolate for one side and vanilla for the other. I then use the remaining batter to make regular sized cupcakes.
A few hours (and glasses of wine) later, I decided to do the frosting the next day. In the morning Mark drove Alexander to preschool while I got out my supplies. The regular cupcakes had been covered and were fine. However, I had left the giant cupcake out, unfrosted and uncovered. It was hard as a rock on the outside and not fit to be served. It was now 9:30 and we had to be gone by 12:30. The giant cupcake takes and hour to bake (plus time to cool). So, I called Mark and sent him to the grocery store to pick up 2 more boxes of cake mix. Just before he arrived home I realized that I was short 1 egg, so I called Mark and sent him to the grocery store. The giant cupcake was in the oven by 10:20. At 11:20 I took it out, flipped it upside down on a pan and put it in the garage to cool (so it wouldn't be eaten by squirrels outside). We had saved the day.
That's when I saw the grocery bag. The grocery bag that contained the eggs I had sent Mark to the grocery store to buy. The carton of eggs stared back at me mockingly and my heart sank. I had baked the chocolate cake with NO EGGS!
I ran to the garage and grabbed the cooling cake, still in 2 parts. The white cake was fine as I had remembered the egg(whites). The chocolate cake, well, not so much. This is when my 2nd Homer Simpson moment occurred. Did you ever see the episode where Homer BBQs a whole pig complete with an apple in its mouth? Lisa gets angry and sends it down the hill while Homer chases it shouting, 'it's still good, it's still good!"
I began cramming the eggless chocolate cake in Mark's mouth. "Is it ok? It's still good, it's still good?! So, it tastes different, it's crumbly and kind of fudgy. Maybe an eggless cake qualifies as a vegan cake. No none will have to know! I'll frost this puppy and it will be fine, right?"
I like to put a layer of frosting in between the base and top of the giant cupcake. The chocolate cake was the base. It was too crumbly to spread the frosting, so I lopped it on with a spoon. It still looked ok and I left the kitchen for a second. The weight of the frosting was too much for the cake. (see photo below) After discovering the disaster, a maniacal laugh rose up from deep within me. Mark cautiously came into the kitchen with big eyes. He saw the cake and heard me roaring and demanded that I stop laughing as I was scaring him. His eyes grew even bigger and he backed slowly out of the kitchen.
Whatever. It's now almost time to go and I was still not ready, though thankfully I had at least showered. With no time to do a thing to my hair, I pulled it back into a ponytail and SNAP, the band broke. "Ok, ok roll with it." I put on a clean shirt and looked in the mirror only to discover huge deodorant streaks on the dark brown shirt. With no time to change, I grabbed the hand towel and tried to wet it down, which only left me with a deodorant streaked, watermarked shirt and a bad ponytail. I was HAWT I tells ya!
Soon we were loaded in the van, Mark had picked up Alexander from preschool and McDonald's for lunch. As we drove to the party I checked the bag and discovered that they had forgotten to give us the kid's chicken McNuggets. Seriously. So I looked at Mark and sent him back to McDonald's.
end part 1
the eggless chocolate cake
what it should look like (taken at Alexander's b-day party with family in IA)
Another example, Sophie's 2nd birthday cake