I’ve commented before on the high caliber of kids’ birthday parties here in L.A. But I may not have mentioned one of the specific aspects that keeps hitting new heights: the cakes.
A couple of months back we went to a pizza-themed party for a two-year-old. It was held in a pizzeria; the parents were both dressed like pizzas; the kids made little individual pizzas as their activity; the favor bags were filled with pizza-related toys (yes, these exist). Last, but not least, they brought out a cake — baked by the mother — that was really an extraordinary rendition of a Domino’s Deep Dish with the works. (Its verisimilitude was particularly humbling to those of us who can’t draw a cat without our child assuming it’s a school bus.) The mom had crafted “toppings” of sugar and food coloring that might have fooled even an accomplished chef. (Until he ate them, of course, and nearly keeled over from the glucose surge.) I wish I had taken a picture, but in that case I was too busy rushing MJ out of there before she realized that what she was seeing was, indeed, a confection. Why deal with the sugar psychosis if you don’t have to?
This weekend, as I mentioned in my last post, we attended another 2-year-old’s birthday party. This was a much mellower affair, with no theme, parents dressed –remarkably — as themselves, and no chef hats for the kids. (Thank God. Try keeping one of those on your two-year-old for longer than a millisecond.) But even these laid-back hosts had a cake that was absolutely ingenious. Made by a neighbor! Alright, she’s a pro, but still! The bar is getting too high, people!
Here’s what this friend just tossed together in her kitchen:
Sorry it’s out of focus. My hands were shaking with envy. Not really, but Jesus. It was gorgeous! And the entire thing, down to the fire hydrants, was edible. One little girl walked around nibbling on the ladder for a solid hour. She looked like Gollum with his ring. “Preeeeeciioooouusss!”
And on top of everything else, it was delicious. Not, as I half-expected, cardboard-y, like a wedding cake three weeks in the making, but light, flavorful, and moist. I, myself, ate an entire slice. Plus a door handle. Vroom! I always thought you had to choose between flavor and appearance, and God knows I would take the former over the latter any day of the week, but this turns out not to be the case. More the shame for me, who has provided her daughter with delicious but, ahem, humble representations of the form at each birthday.
This year, in particular, we hit a low. It was only partially our fault. True, we chose a banal looking (but delectable) round layer cake from Delilah’s. But then the day of the party their “writer” called in sick. The counter-person was forced to fill in, and, from his work, I’d have to guess than penmanship wasn’t his top subject at school.
It was supposed to say “Happy 2nd Birthday Myra-Jean!”
Instead, we got:
You see why my self-esteem is teetering, here?
Next year I’m thinking we’ll see if we can get Chris Burden cheap. I feel like he’d do a cake we could be proud of. As for the flavor? Well, you can’t have everything. We can hit Delilah’s for cupcakes some other time.