The on again off again birthday cake

The birthday party cookery for various reasons has not been going as planned, but I’ll write about that another time possibly. The main thing I wanted to do this week was to make a basic sponge cake and to then ice it in the shape as a skull and cross bones – really simple and easy, the only difficult bit is trying to turn the white fondant icing the right shade of black.

Anyway this week has not been good for me, I wake up tired, I am tired all day at work, I go to bed tired and I fail to sleep as there are far too many things floating around in my head. So last night when I was meant to be making the sponge cake I was instead trying to have an early night, which didn’t work out for various reasons (see yesterday’s post)…I left the butter out intending to make the cake in the morning, but as I mentioned previously someone tried to be helpful and tidied it away back into the fridge for me – and my hand held mixer can’t cope with fridge cold butter (how I miss my kenwood mixer).

At lunchtime Flapjack Queen phoned up to say that the party bags we had bought ready filled cos its cheaper are actually quite small and 2 slices of cake probably won’t fit in the bag…I agreed with her that instead we would break with small people’s party tradition and serve the cake up after the rest of the food for eating then and there. I also decided that I would copy her idea and turn Spider’s birthday cake into a pile of cup cakes instead a la Nigella.

7.30pm there was a further change of plan back to the original skull and cross bones cake due to the difficulty of persuading a certain small boy that it would be better to have the big cake on his actual birthday when he has his second party “family only”…

So spent the next 30 minutes trying to make 12oz of victoria sponge cake mixture in a too small bowl with a hand held mixer and then fitting 4 cake tins in the oven…there was more mixture on me and the walls of the kitchen by the time I had finished.

Anyway, early start again tomorrow…may be an even earlier trip to Saino’s or Tescbury if the fondant icing I’ve had in the cupboard for over a year turns out to be off…or anything else goes wrong between now and 2.30pm…

Yo ho ho me hearties, I’m off to bed to dream of pieces of eight and making people who cut you up in traffic walk the plank…

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Something to look forward to…

I have been suffering from “the time of the month”¬† which is a euphemism for “it’s almost pay day”. As a result I’ve been experiencing that constricted feeling again…my insides have felt all twisted and tight and I’ve been finding it hard to think straight…part of the problem it seems is I’ve been overdosing on Radio 4 news programmes who are almost wall to wall banking crisis with a bit of Obama and Gaza thrown in for variety…

As an experiment I tried silence…I tried turning silence up loud…doesn’t work…must remember to put some CD’s in the car.

What has worked however is forward thinking about parties. Spider has a lot of friends with birthdays in February and March so we are busy most weekends it would seem…trying to find presents within budget now that Woolies has gone is proving a challenge.

But the thing that really cheers me up is planning Spider’s birthday. He is having a shared party with Flapjack Princess (they have a lot of the same friends in the village and quite a large circle of non pre-school friends) and for purely practical and economic reasons it is going to be a Pirate and Princess party. Practical because most girls have a princess or fairy type outfit, economic because our local supermarket was selling chocolate coins off cheap and we have bought in bulk¬† (yes I know I’m a cheapskate…I prefer the word “thrifty”)!

I suspect that I will probably enjoy Spider’s party more than he will…he will enjoy it because it’s a party, he will enjoy his party as much as he enjoys the other parties…I will enjoy it because it will make him smile…

I have a rather ambitious plan to do a skull and cross bones cake…it’s ambitious for me as I don’t really do icing, not the rolled out type…I may need a back up plan…I may be about to test drive Susan Austin’s Freezer party (see Frostbite) which even includes a frozen birthday cake amongst it’s recipes.

I don’t know whether it was the phonecall confirming our reservation of the village hall or whether it was my payslip dropping through the letter box but for the first time in a week I can feel my internal organs uncurling and relaxing…and I am beginning to be able to think straight…but to stay this way I might try weaning myself off Radio 4 or at least try not to listen to quite so much news !