Today is PB’s 23rd birthday! God, 23 seems old, even though I’m 22. 23 seems too close to MID-TWENTIES, and I am so not ready for that. But at any rate, today is The Day, and so I spent yesterday afternoon creating a birthday cake. Like a real cake, one with layers and everything, mainly because I feel sheet cakes are only alright if they are from K-Mart (yes, K-Mart) and whipped cream icing, and I didn’t feel like risking my life at K-Mart to get said birthday cake. I just cannot bear the old sheet cake you threw together in a foil pan (unless it is a Paula Deen butter cake and unless it had to travel 6 hours in a car to get to its destination like Lia’s cake did). I just think it looks like Fido’s hind end.
To begin the process of birthing The Real Cake with the Layers and Everything, I first put on my fantastic apron that I got for my birthday from my dear friend J.
Mainly, an apron is a confidence booster, because who wouldn’t feel like Betty Flippin’ Crocker in that getup? But also, I am not one of those people who can cook without making a giant mess. I don’t mean a few dishes in the sink, y’all. I am talking about dirtying up every dish and utensil in my kitchen because I will invariably pick up a spoon/knife/spatula, stick it in whatever sticky/messy mixture I am concocting, and then promptly decide that everything about it is just WRONG for what I need to do. Furthermore, I will make the stickiest, most terrible mixture in the world and then promptly get it on the walls, the floor, the counter, in my hair. It’s great. The apron helps with this. Minimally. But mainly, I feel fantastic whilst I wreck the kitchen.
Making the Real Cake with the Layers and Everything is a serious process, like I said, which makes it difficult for me because I am neither patient, nor do I have any sort of manual dexterity. One needs both of those things. First, I baked the layers, which smelled like delicious oranges (as it was an orange cake, that was not a screw-up). Then I let the cakes cool in the pans for a bit. But apparently for too long, because then, dammit, one of the cakes stuck to the bottom of the pan and OH NO, I thought it was all going to be ruined.
But I flipped them out onto wire racks, swore a few times, and everything seemed to be alright. I could cover that crap up.
Then the real test of patience comes in, in which I must wait for the cake to cool before I split the layers. Now this, my friends, might be easy for you, but for me (as I am clearly faint of heart), this is the true test. So I get out my fancypants Henckels serrated knife, and I take the plunge. I try to hold my mouth just right. And JUNK FALLS APART. I mean literally, there are cake crumbs on the counter, I am swearing at the cake, I am touching the cake for 2 seconds and then jumping back, afraid I am making it worse. Now children, there are no pictures of this part of the process because whilst I built those layers, the sweat was on. I ended up picking cake particles off of my (freshly cleaned) countertop and putting that cake back together like a jigsaw puzzle. I am hoping this does not result in absolute bedlam when I try to cut it tomorrow when we have people over for PB’s birthday.
But on the outside, it turned out beautifully: