DIY projects / Family life / Frugal living

Pinterest fail turned into parental victory

Josiah’s 6th birthday is coming up in a few weeks and I’ve been pinning many different ideas on what to do for a cake. I love being able to get creative and make a cute cake for for the kids’ birthdays. This year Josiah initially told me that he wanted a Transformers cake. Eek! Not so sure I could pull that off. So he changed his mind and decided he wanted a pirate cake. As in a cake shaped like a pirate ship.

It didn’t really seem that hard. I knew that I’d have to freeze the cakes in order to be able to prevent them from breaking apart or tearing up when I frosted them. I made a plan and then I went to the store. I got nervous when the only kind of cake mix they had was “extra moist” recipes. I planned to use tootsie rolls for the railings on the pirate ship so when I got those I headed home and went to baking.

The cakes individually turned out fine. I got the bottom layer of cake shaped like it was supposed to and that went fine. wpid-20150601_164113.jpgWhen I added on the second layer that’s when things started to go south. Because I’d exposed the “super moist” part of the cake, once I started to frost the side of the cake it started to fall apart. By the time I finished frosting the cake, it looked awful. Definite fail. I set the cake aside and started to walk away from it with my perfectionist pride hurt.

That’s when I remembered: tootsie rolls. Tootsie rolls are similar to the consistency of fondant and I’d seen them used in that manner on small parts of other cakes I’d seen. Two hours later Josiah and I had finished unwrapping 43 ounces of tootsie rolls, heated them up, rolled them out into fondant and got it draped over the cake. The cake was finished. And guess what? The cake looked awful. This was a total flop like I’d never experienced before. Not only was it awful looking, but I hadn’t considered what would happen once the tootsie roll fondant re-hardened. The cake was impossible to cut into.

wpid-20150601_180414.jpgI told Josiah, “Listen…I don’t think I’m going to be able to do a pirate ship cake.”

“Why?” Josiah asked.

“Because this cake looks awful and I don’t think I’m going to be able to make a pirate ship cake.” I said.

Josiah’s response was very touching.

He said, “Mom, I like this cake. I don’t care if it doesn’t look good. I just want cake. Can’t you just make a watermelon cake like you made last year?”

I’d just spent 3 hours baking cake, and unwrapping and stretching tootsie rolls and it honestly didn’t matter to Josiah. He loved the cake and spent the next hour or two eating through the tootsie roll to get to the yummy cake on the inside. Not only did he like the shipwreck of a cake, but he was perfectly content with just a plain cake or the watermelon cake from last year.

Last year since we camped for his birthday I made a shark “cake” out of watermelon. Josiah thought it was the most awesome thing ever. Clearly it made an impression because he’s still talking about it.

I don’t attempt things from Pinterest because I want to impress everyone or because I feel some pressure from others to make awesome stuff. I do it because I love doing things for my family and friends and I love being creative. Josiah reminded me that I don’t have to try and make this big huge fancy cake — he’s perfectly happy with a plain rectangle cake with frosting or a watermelon cut to look like a shark.

The "cake" Josiah got at the lake. He wanted watermelon shaped like a shark.

The “cake” Josiah got at the lake for his 5th birthday. He wanted watermelon shaped like a shark.

My pinterest fail turned into a parental victory because despite my failed efforts at making a pirate ship cake, I felt the victory of knowing I have a sweet, thoughtful, and grateful child. He may be rambunctious and he may have his bad days, but for the most part Josiah always seems to manage to say the sweetest things and think of things that many adults wouldn’t.

I don’t think I’m going to manage to make a pirate ship cake, but I’ve got another plan. Cake Boss taught me if you can’t make it with cake — use rice crispy treats. So I’m going to make a pirate ship out of rice crispy treats and have it docked on the shore of nice sandy beach cake complete with treasure chest. And of course, a watermelon shark “cake” to complete the ensemble.


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