Or is it just me?
I do all sorts of crafty and creative things. The process, however, is rarely the picture-perfect experience that these lovely blogs might have you believe. At least not in my life. It's usually done in short bursts of activity punctuated by the more pressing needs of everyone and everything else that surrounds me. My workspace is usually cluttered, often dirty, and almost always shared with other things. (Craft room? In my dreams! Try the dining room table, which only allows for temporary use and therefore involves more time in setup and cleanup than I usually get out of use.) I want my life to be pretty like theirs. I'm not sure whether to envy them, or to assume that they are all lying bitches who got a few lucky photos and made up some story about how fast/easy/fun it all was.
So here is why I don't blog my creative adventures more often...
I made a cake for my youngest son's 4th birthday yesterday. It all started with a last-page recipe in Family Fun magazine, for rainbow cupcakes. The birthday boy adores cupcakes, and asked for cupcakes, but I can't just sock candles into a cupcake and sing at the kid and not feel a little guilty about it. A birthday requires a big focal chunk of sweetness. Well, that and I figured it would be less angst-inducing to layer things in one pan instead of, oh, 24 or so muffin cups. I know my limits, people.
I have a long history with cakes. It started with the ill-fated Birthday Cake of Death, whose story perhaps I shall tell another time, but let's say that it closely parallels this story, at least inasmuch it ended with me shrieking and getting all stabby with a big knife. In the years since then, my skills have improved considerably and I've become a snob about never using boxed mixes and a fussy artiste with the frosting. A birthday cake became a canvas for artistic expression, and love.
And then I had my own kids, and didn't have time to pipe all that damn icing and started doing simple layer cakes with one color frosting and some apologetic sprinkles dumped all over it. Blah.
Now, friends, nothing ruins a Bundt cake experience like having it stick to the pan. I have had my share of broken Bundts. Either I don't sufficiently prepare the pan, or I flip it too soon (fragile cake) or too late (cooled and fused to the pan). I often frost Bundts to hide the mangled mess that I made of them upon removal from the oven. Well, not this time, by Jove. I turned to the Internet, where most of the advice was about pre-emptive pan preparation, and therefore too damn late. And then a choir of angels started crooning and sunlight streamed in through the window, as I found this tip over on eHow. Which I failed to photo-document but it worked beautifully
I was feeling the love again. So I let the kids back into the house and invited the birthday boy to do the frosting.
I know--frosting a Bundt? And one that didn't come out mangled? What can I say...it's a birthday cake. And unless it's an Angel Food cake (the preferred dessert amongst the in-laws, and there's nothing wrong with that!), birthday cake requires frosting. And sprinkles.
So, why a Bundt? Why put myself through that extra layer of frustration? Because a Bundt does this:
Now that is one pretty awesome birthday cake. The grandparents were in attendance and could not stop praising the results. YES, it was worth it. And not for the praise so much as my own joy upon the first slice. The big birthday party is tomorrow, and the grandparents are unanimous in their requests for a repeat cake. I haven't decided yet whether I'm up to it. Then again, I'm sure it will be much easier the second time around.