Blind Bunnies and Batman

Quote: “The anticipation of the cake unveiling is similar to that of the opening ceremony to the Olympics.”

Cakes are a variety of things; cakes are eaten socially with a group of friends discussing how they shouldn’t be eating cake.  Cake can be eaten with joy, like that of a child or in a secret fervour, nibbling quietly in a darkened room and sweeping away the crumbs, ever so carefully, so no evidence can ever be found.  The final and most important, in my mind anyway, is eating the cake that has been made for a celebration.

Lots of people buy a stunningly pristine cake for their loved one.  Their reason: because they care and they want their partner, child, parent etc. to have the ‘best’ cake.   You may wonder why I place best in inverted commas.  It is because people now believe that aesthetic perfection is what everybody wants.  If we look around us at all we see in the media this does not just apply to cake decorations.  We want a smooth, wrinkle free, Botox cake to match our faces.  I am not saying that the interior is not moist and lovely: I am saying that those people are missing out on something, something that I experienced twice this week.

Firstly, my Partner who celebrated his birthday this week is a big fan of (and also wishes he was) Batman.  So, I decide to make him a Batman birthday cake.  I played it safe and made a vanilla sponge with jam and buttercream in the shape of the batman symbol. I was a little disappointed with the aesthetics of the piece as I know I can do better.   I had trouble getting hold of bits and bobs and I was working in-between his shifts, hiding cake under the bed of our small flat and opening windows wafting the cake smell out.  So why I bother?  You may ask and I sometimes wonder why too especially when you can buy a cake which looks better and saves you a lot of effort and time.  If my posed question needs answering after this then I will answer it, but I hope you will see why I, along with others, struggle and battle with the messy mixture.

I visited a family whom I know very well, my reason: their daughters eighth birthday.  The presents were opened and the big cake event was coming, it may sound like an exaggeration but this family always make each other cakes for birthdays, thoughtful, yummy cakes.  Their eleven year old son described the anticipation of the cake unveiling as similar to that of the opening ceremony to the Olympics.  The birthday girl was distracted in another room whilst Mum put the candles on the cake and told me about the design.  The cake was a bright green, grassy, gooey hillock scattered with brown and white rabbits.  Their house had some renovation done recently and her daughter had chosen a new blind for her room.  She’d chosen a beautiful blind with watercolour bunnies painted onto it.  She loved it so much that she had named all of the rabbits on it.  So, like Mother Teresa, Mum, with a little help from Granny, made each of these rabbits, each with their own personalities to match their names.   Wow, I say.

My wow is nothing compared to when her daughter is brought in and the cake is presented.  Her mouth drops open wide in amazement and her eyes dart from rabbit to rabbit trying mentally to consume the cake.  She then begins a more detailed discussion and the family lovingly point to each of the bunnies and discuss which one is which.  The birthday is complete when the candles are lit, the song is sung and the wish is made.  I wonder what more can this child wish for.  If there was a family that loved each other more then I don’t know where they are.

My Partner too, loved his cake.   Not because it was a beauty to behold (which it most certainly was not) or even because it was a bat signal, but because I had taken the time to make it for him and show him how much I care about him.  I wanted to make him happy.  Soppy but true:  People make cakes to make others happy.

We may not be the best bakers or the most delicate of decorators, but, and this is the biggest but, (no puns intended with all of the cake eating) THEY ARE MADE WITH LOVE AND JOY and RECEIVED WITH LOVE AND JOY.  No matter how beautiful or shoddy they look.   This is why I make my Partner a cake every year and this is why, when I have children I will make them cakes too.  I hope that my cakes get a jaw dropping, eye boggling wow too.  If you’ve never made a cake before then give it a try.