Last week we got a notice that today Alex's kindergarten class would be celebrating "100th Day" - their 100th day of school. There was to be a party, and would anyone be interested in making a cake.
PICK ME, PICK ME!
So I got the "job" and my brain started in on the design. I was thinking I could somehow incorporate little images to represent all the different topics they'd covered since September...like space and the Arctic and Farm Animals and all the other weekly themes. It would be a tour de force of a cake, I imagined.
For 18 kids.
And then I asked Alex for ideas on what it should taste like...and he said chocolate and strawberries. (Not strawberry flavor - REAL strawberries. He was quite specific.) And then he said he wanted to help decorate it.
I started trying to figure out what he could do that wouldn't interfere with my cleverly rendered images of nocturnal animals and autumn leaves. Maybe he would be happy just to help with baking the cake.
So yesterday we baked the two cake layers - one chocolate with chocolate chips. One white cake with fresh (well, frozen) strawberries, sliced, and strategically placed all over the batter before it went into the oven. Both layers smelled really good.
The strawberry layer...half of it broke when I was trying to gently slide it on top of the frosted chocolate layer. But I patched it back together. Still. I admit I was getting...um...tense.
I managed to talk Alex out of helping with the frosting of the strawberry layer - it was just going to be too difficult to let him help, what with the cake all torn and patched together. My blood pressure went up just imagining it.
So I applied a coat of white frosting to the top layer, and it looked all lumpy because of all the breaks in the cake. So. I put more frosting on top of that. To make it more even. There's logic for you.
So then I had to cover the whole thing with fondant. Because kindergarteners will appreciate the flawlessly smooth surface...my canvas.
Either I have become a weakling, or the fondant was stiffer than usual, or I was just cursed yesterday, but it took me A LONG TIME to roll it out thin enough and big enough to cover the cake. I felt myself growing more and more frustrated and anguished (back of the hand to my brow - I fear I shall faint!) and plain ol' pissed off about EVERYTHING TO DO WITH THIS CAKE. Me and my idiot ideas. THIS WAS THE MOST STRESSFUL CAKE I HAD EVER DONE IN MY ENTIRE LIFE!!!!
When Bill got home from work I had managed to get the fondant on and trim it, and I stood there at the counter, glaring at the cake and at a sheet of paper on which I was trying to design something that Alex could help with. Because he still wanted to. So my elaborate artistry was out.
I asked Bill, through clenched teeth, if he could take the kids to swim class so I could work on this...this...THING. He shrugged and said fine, and so of course I said "Fine, never mind, I'll go too." And he looked at me and watched my eyes spin in opposite directions and said "No, really, it's no big deal." And I said "No, no, I'll go. If you could just keep Julia occupied after we get back so Alex and I can do this...cake." "Sure. Jayne, are you okay?"
I glared at him. What was THAT supposed to mean????? "I'mfineIjustneedtogetthiscakedoneandit'sbeenoneofthosedayswiththem" I spat out.
Anyway. We went to swim class, and he tried to chat with me while we watched the kids swim, but I would have none of that, because I needed PEACE AND QUIET for a few moments, WOULD YOU???
When it came time for the kids to jump in - it was great, truly. Alex wanted to go first - me me me me!!!!! And when he jumped in, he leapt with everything he had and jumped far enough to reach the first line in the pool. YAY ALEX! And he did it a second time, too. He will be moving up to the next level - our son will be...an EEL! We are quite proud. So is he. Julia will remain a Pike - she's still too busy socializing at times to move up. But she can move through the water pretty quickly when she wants to. She just needs to want to more often.
Anyway, dry off the kids, come home, I threw dinner together for everyone else and then started glaring at the cake again. And finally I came up with an idea. Something Alex could really do.
My grand and glorious ideas would just have to sit on a shelf. After all, it was HIS 100th day, not mine.
And here's what the cake looks like:
I painted swirls on the fondant with water, and had Alex sprinkle colored sugars all over. They stick to the wet surface, and we blew them off the rest of the cake. It's colorful and festive, I think.
Most importantly, Alex thinks it's wonderful.
He can't wait to bring it to school this morning.
And that, really, is the point, after all. Not my showing off. Duh.
So now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go get dressed and cover the cake with plastic wrap.
Because, of course, it is raining this morning.
Happy 100th day, Alex!