The Purple Nightmare

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes. It is possible to be tired enough to forget the eggs 3 times in your birthday cake. While I’ve only made 3 birthday cakes from scratch ever, my son had asked me specifically to not buy his from the store. So after distinguishing that colors are not in fact flavors, we settled on black magic cake. I reminded my son that Mommy was still new to cake decorating to which he replied, “I want a Hulk Cake!” Of course he does. Will had recently introduced him to Super Hero Squad and Teen Titans. A few weeks back, we even took the kids to see the Avengers. So, Hulk Cake it was.

I began to consider my options. Growing up, I think we all had the Barbie Cake, you know, the one where the cake is actually her dress. Theoretically, we could buy a Hulk action figure and the cake could be asphalt or bricks. I had considered simplifying Hulk to 2 round cakes and using fondant to create his features. Rather pleased with myself, I called the boy into the office for approval. “I don’t like it.” he said and instead, picked a sheet cake with retro Hulk baring his fists. I could handle a sheet cake.

The one thing that concerned me was piping. The assembly and removal of air bubbles in those frosting bags could easily bring me down. I began to consider an old friend…chocolate. Why couldn’t I print out my design, cover it in wax paper and then pipe chocolate over it? I’d seen it countless times on the Food Network. It was genius! That’s precisely what I did. Will even had the foresight to find a Hulk with simple lines. I melted a bag of semi sweet chocolate chips and began to trace my design. Success! This was undeniably the Hulk.

Then there was the cake.  The first cake, was crispy on the outside and severely sunken in the middle. Perhaps, it needed to bake a little longer. Round 2, had similar results but was less cavernous. Could I had over or under mixed the ingredients? Round 3; again fail. Clearly, the recipe was cursed. At 6 am, the morning of our party, I ran to Walmart and picked up a box of Devil’s Food Cake. Thankfully, that produced a normal looking cake. I just needed to ice the sucker. It was 11 o’ clock. Hey- Clearly, the closets needed to be reorganized.  Goodness gracious, I was beat.

So I whip up the butter cream. Funny how something called “butter cream” is actually made with Crisco. I was skeptical but hands down, this was the best frosting I had ever made.  Cautiously, I laid down the crumb layer. That took 30 minutes to set. As I waited, I mixed up and bagged the green frosting.  After 30 minutes, I began the final layer of frosting. This was going really well. I dipped my spatula into a plate with some water and began smoothing the frosting. Eeek! I was going to pull it off!!! I began piping the borders and then I got cocky.

Hulk should come out of a purple star burst. I don’t know what I was thinking. I began mixing food coloring. “Pretty Purple” as they called it, produced My Little Pony Lavender. Fahhh! I double the recipe; adding a few extra drops of blue. Grey. Oh no!!! I was out of time. I piped the star burst despite myself and sadly, the bag had air bubbles. I tried to cover my mistake with a wider tip. It was looking more like a sunflower then a star burst. I took a clean paint brush, wet it and attempted to fix the problem.  I was furious. I peeled Hulk off the paper and plopped him over the purple nightmare. If you’re going to mess up, you may as well do it right. So I penned Happy Birthday with my air bubble frosting bag and just cried.

When I came to my senses, I began to count my blessings. The house was clean. I had 8 kids and the indoor water park. That was sure to be a good time. My goody bags were freaking awesome. What does a 4 year old care about poorly executed freehand? I postponed the party 30 minutes. Then I took a hot shower, packed up and got over it. It would be ok…and I’m so grateful it was.

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