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Monday, June 23, 2008

Birthday for Beadgirl time!

I've learned...

When purchasing birthday cake and ice cream, two methods are readily available with short notice.

If I had the time, energy and skill, I wouldn't even buy a cake. I'd just make it myself. As it is, I haven't made a cake in years. The last time I attempted birthday cake for Beadgirl, I was trying to create a white and chocolate swirl. I think I over swirled the two mixes and ended up with a light colored chocolate with clumps of white and dark cake spots.

I've never had a cake rise evenly. I mix it. I pour it. I drop the daylights out of it to get the air bubbles out. I bake it. Inevitably, any cake I bake ends up huge in the center and short on the edges. How I am supposed to properly layer a cake for decorating if I can't get the thing to rise evenly?

Decorating, I'm not so bad at. Until you ask me for flowers. Flowers on a cake? Not yet. Let me get a few classes under my belt first. The last time I tried flowers, I'm not sure if I had roses or cabbages.

Due to the existence of my current job (which I am trying to replace with something less expensive to operate) I have no time left in my day for baking. Bigfoot and Beadgirl bake more than I do. They have no problem at all with whipping out cookies. I'm waiting for the breads to start coming. Maybe they'll even become interested in baking cakes.

If Bigfoot and Beadgirl get to the cake stage, I may not end up having to buy a cake again. I can just ask them to procure one from the mixer and oven for me. And family. And friends.

Bestowed upon me yesterday was the honor and privilege of buy the cake for Beadgirl's birthday. Between my mother-in-law and myself, the decision was made to find the smallest cake possible for eleven people. The goal of the birthday cake shopping was to walk away with no left overs at the end.

Which leaves me with two primary methods of buying cake and ice cream on short notice. By the way, I knew about the family birthday party. Delegation of cake buying had gone undecided until yesterday.

This is probably the most common method of cake purchasing. I can pick up a quarter-sheet cake and a separate container of ice cream. This means paying somewhere in the vicinity of $16 for the cake and $5 for the ice cream. For eleven people, this $21 expenditure leaves plenty left over.

Left over cake ends up getting taken home. Once home, it faces devourment by the dog, resulting in a sick-to-the-stomach mix of English-Springer and Chow. What chance the dog has of digesting birthday cake relies upon the speed of two weeds known as Bigfoot and Beadgirl. At least I know if the hyperactive weeds get to the leftovers prior to the dog, the dog will be getting plenty of leashed exercise with Bigfoot and Beadgirl. As much as I relish in the idea of the kids not coming in the house for several days, this does not mean I like the idea of them eating all that extra sugar.

All this means leftovers from birthdays end up going to waist. Butt, unfortunate as it may be for birthday leftovers, my butt is big enough. Extra birthday cake and ice cream don't need to add any more tread to the spare tire.

I learned there is a much better option when it comes to birthday cake. Ice cream cake, I found at Fred Meyer, comes in a sheet smaller than a regular quarter sheet. This option carries many benefits not normally seen in times of last-minute cake needs. With ice cream cake, I am able to serve two desserts for a single slightly lower price than two separate items. I carry fewer packages out of the store and into the party scene. Cake stays hidden in the freezer until the appropriate time. And most importantly, I have fewer, if any, left overs. With a smaller ice cream cake, I can cut smaller pieces. The thought of human weeds running from a sugar high at speeds faster than scotch broom can grow isn't exactly appealing. Smaller pieces are welcomed with pleasure.

All in all, Beadgirl had a wonderful family birthday party. Life is good when there is the presence of the grill, burgers, gifts, cards, and ice cream cake.