Sunday, 17 November 2013

Baby, baby, baby, OH!

Babies... They are everywhere at the moment! Is it the weather? Is there something in the water??

I like babies. Not in the same way that I like chocolate and coffee, but the first few months of a baby's life is my favourite age... I think I'd have them all the time if they didn't grow up and turn into children.

Husband also likes babies, but can't eat a whole one...
In my three pregnancies, I've had just one baby shower, which was a surprise one organised by various ladies of the church we were at at the time... I didn't, and still don't like being the centre of attention, but baby showers are a lovely way to celebrate an upcoming birth, play fun games like guessing what the name of a baby pigeon is, and to give cute and/or necessary items to the mother-to-be, especially if it is their first, and they don't already have everything you could possibly need for a new baby, plus a thousand extra things you don't.

Recently, I've been involved in the dessert-making for two baby showers. Duck cupcakes last weekend, and this weekend: a pregnant belly cake. I've seen these cakes frequently, and occasionally wondered what it would be like to make one... * This is my story.

* Imagine the Law & Order bells.

A friend was given the job of organising the cake for his sister's baby shower. Knowing (somehow - was it photos on Facebook, maybe?) that I make cakes for fun, he asked with brilliant confidence in my abilities, if I was able to make this cake:

I remarked to him that the baby trapped inside the cake was in breech position, and they'd have to cut the belly open to get it out. How many men know what a baby in breech position is? One more now.

I finally accepted the challenge, and the time quickly came around to make it. Everything was baked and ready. Caramel mud: a new specialty. I had plenty of icing, plenty of fondant, and plenty of cake. I'd covered it all with buttercream icing, lay the white fondant on top, and began smoothing it out...

Everything appeared to be going well, until
Oh my GOSH the baby foot!!

In the space of about 10 seconds, my mind did this:

"Craaaaaaaaaap! The baby foot! How did I need to make it again? What colour fondant should I use? Does it matter? Wait, could it work with the baby foot on top of the dress? No. That wouldn't work. Don't be ridiculous! The baby's foot has to come out from within. This isn't the exorcist, Nat! Okay, focus. What colour? Quick! Just do it - the cake is covered! Okay, jelly bean shape. Good. Are the toes too big? Do I care? Yes. I really, really do. It's gotta be realistic. Even though baby's feet don't realistically poke out of a belly like that... Except in exorcist movies. Maybe I'll make the toes smaller. How many toes do babies have? Will the fondant peel back okay? Will I have to make the entire thing again? Is it too late to call and cancel the cake!? Does my hair look okay!!?"

Meanwhile, I had made and attached a foot. With a bit of smoothing out, you (hopefully) couldn't tell that I had almost completely forgotten to add the main part of the cake that people's attention is drawn to!

A bow, a flower, stripes, and royal icing later, and before I knew- it was done. The cake, even for just a moment, appeared blemish free! ... <sigh> If only post-baby bodies were smoothed over and fixed so easily in real life...

Still, I was happy with it.

As per usual, though, when it was picked up, despite expressions of gratitude and wonder from the recipients, I become anxious...

Did it look the way they expected? Will they notice the blemishes? Will it taste alright? Will it feed enough people? Should I have done it differently? Do I really have to clean up now? Is anyone going to eat that block of chocolate? Should I have not had that 4th coffee!? Why do babies have to grow up!!?

Once I move on from that (and I always do: it's a predictable cycle, apparently), I remember the good parts. I tell myself that it wasn't all that bad, and even hint to my husband (who sees me occasionally break down in tears when fears of cake-making inadequacy take over my life) that I actually enjoyed making it, and would happily do it again.

I guess it's not all dissimilar to having a baby...
We're made to forget the pain for a reason, right? Right!?

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