What: “a chocolate mint cake, with white icing with red and black on it and spy butterflies”, for Kid 7’s spy themed birthday party. It was the final prize in their secret agents mission.
We went through quite a few variations of what it would be, actually. The original plan was to have one of those printed-icing things with the cover of one of the EJ Spy School books. But I forgot I needed to organise that well ahead of time! So this was our fallback. I think Kid 7 had intended it to be a layer cake with a chocolate layer and a mint layer, but when I found this out less than 24 hours before the party I really didn’t have the mental beans to do that. So it was all one chocolate cake with spearmint and peppermint oils added. We had to work out what “spy butterflies” meant in Kid 7’s head but eventually realised that they are little drone cameras, and mentioned in one of the EJ Spy School books. So the butterflies were done with a push-cutter thingy and pre-bought black fondant. They were supposed to have red eyes but I didn’t find red cabochons so silver it was.
Icing was a bit tricky – most types of icing have been rejected by Kid 7 as being “yucky” – including cream cheese icing, chocolate-sour-cream icing, standard buttercream, fondant and just plain whipped cream. However, Kid 7 was able to specify that they wanted “the kind of icing you make just by mixing the sugar with some water”, so an icing sugar glaze it was.
What: a watermelon-flavoured cake with mint leaves and berries, jelly on top, no chocolate, no icing, and no cake. Kid 5 can get a bit specific about their requests some times.
Take one watermelon, cut a cake-sized cylinder from the middle, cut the peel away from the outside. In hindsight, it’d have been easier to eat if we left the peel on.
Make a couple of pizza-trays of strawberry and raspberry jelly, using berry juice instead of hot water. Completely fail to prepare the trays for easy jelly removal, causing the jelly to come out in vague chunks. For bonus points, attempt to warm the tray in the oven while cooking pizza so that the top of the jelly melts and the bottom remains completely stuck.
Tip the jelly onto the cake. Try to land it on the top of the cake rather than half-on and half-off, because it *will* slide under its own mass and watermelon has no grip on the jelly.
Cover the cake with spearmint leaf lollies (still available in dollar and home brands if you look for them) and berry lollies, then put cake in the fridge to ensure the jelly doesn’t melt while decorating.
Come back to the cake the next morning and redo all the lollies seeing as they will have slid off the jelly overnight and soaked in watermelon juice, rendering them surprisingly inedible.
Attempt to stick a candle into the jelly in a way that will let it stay upright, while not causing the jelly to slip off.
Go into the party room and start everyone singing Happy Birthday.
Pay attention when your spouse is calling from the other room “I can’t get it to light!!!”
Get everyone singing again.
Leave spouse attempting to cut pieces of cake and put them on party plates without losing any of the lollies on top or accidentally flicking jelly across the room as he tips the slices.
Go get the tray of plain watermelon slices you prepared earlier from the rest of the watermelon, and put it out for the kids to devour.
Put watermelon cake back in the fridge after the party. Wait until it has been completely forgotten by Birthday Child, and add to compost.
(Honestly, this could have been done really well and been excellent, and in fact many bits of it were excellent. It just didn’t happen that way *this* time.)