Friday, September 22, 2006

Do you remember your first birthday cake?

I do. I was turning 4 and it was the first time my parents deemed it necessary for me to have a party. The party consisted of three friends from kindergarten invited on the day (two of whom showed up), one parent (my father was away) and one birthday cake (bought from the most expensive baker in town).

In that time and place (we’re talking the seventies and commie Poland), the idea of a birthday cake was a cylinder of three layers of sponge interlaced with creamy icing, with a few turrets of cream on top as decoration. Did I mention that the choice as far as the shape went was a cylinder, or a cylinder, or a cylinder? Nobody thought of baking me a Mickey Mouse cake or a Gingerbread Man one. A cylinder it was. But it was a chocolate cylinder and I was happy...

... At least until I tasted it. The icing was spiked with brandy, the sponge was soaked in brandy, and the large 4 calligraphed in brandy cream on top gave it all an ironic twist.

Which is probably why I spend a fortune nowadays on my children’s birthday cakes. Every birthday will usually see 3 cakes: one for Kindy, one for home, and one for the extravagant birthday party. We’ve had a Buzzy Bee, a Fairy, a Mermaid, a Barbie, a Duckie, a Computer, a Lolly Cake and an Aeroplane. Some of them I’m surprised to have baked at home (one can do wonders with a set of hired baking tins), others I order from the most heavenly confectioner in Auckland: The cakes taste as good as they look, and she doesn't even put any brandy into them.

1 comment:

bwtcf said...

I was 1. The cake was a ginger-bread man cake with pebbles as buttons. They were blue, yellow and red from top to bottom.

I said "I am glad I am one! I was sick of being zero."