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To Bake or Not to Bake

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To Bake or Not to Bake

To bake or not to bake: that has been the question for the last week or so. Claire’s birthday is coming up at the end of the week. We have somewhat miraculously managed to stick with my pledge not to have a big shindig. She’s having a friend over for a sleepover, and I told Max he could do the same for his birthday in the fall. I explained to both kids it was Mom and Dad’s turn for big birthday celebrations this year. Jason and I are both turning 40, and we are planning a little family getaway in the fall instead. We’re taking them with us, so in my book they should be appeased. To their credit, they haven’t complained.

Still, a birthday needs a cake. I had a vision for this year, the year Claire finally discovered dolls: a barbie cake. You know the ones with the top of a Barbie inserted into a round cake frosted to look like the doll’s skirt. I debated talking to a bakery about ordering a cake. Then I would have to decide dairy-free or not. Would Max even want to eat a Barbie cake? Did I want to have this discussion ahead of time? What if the cake didn’t work out? I didn’t want Claire to have too many expectations just in case. I have her carefully trained to be happy with a lopsided cupcake as long as it has a passable icing and sprinkles.

Plus how much would all this cost? This is how I’ve gotten sucked into planning bigger parties than I intended in the past. Claire’s elaborate pony party started with a vision of a small shindig with a pony theme. Then I decided to price out how much it would cost to add pony rides on a real pony. Then I discovered two ponies weren’t much more than one. If you’re going to have two ponies, you might as well invite the class and all your church friends. You can’t have a pony in your backyard and not invite the neighborhood kids (and grandkids) and well you see how this goes. (See Party for details as I could go on and on).

I finally decided to play it safe and to order the cake pan and make the cake myself. I have no confidence in my cake decorating skills, but I figured the girls could bake and decorate as part of their sleepover fun. The one thing Claire requested was chocolate cake. Happily Duncan Hines makes a great dairy-free chocolate mix. Max will have options.

With two little but imaginative girls in charge of decorating, it could end up looking great. It could be awful (leaning a little more this way). Either way it should taste good and hopefully will make a memory!


4 responses »

  1. I accidentally discovered a huge cake decorating store in WLR. Van Ness. They have all the tools, cardboard bases, molds, icing, paste, dyes, fondant, etc that you could need.

    If you go that route – I don’t recommend trying to make fondant. I think WalMart has it, but I’ve been told the brand at Van Ness is much better.

    Oh, and I have a decorating bag and many tips you could borrow.

    • That’s good to know! Thank you! I told her about my plan this morning, so I guess we’re locked in to baking now. And how did I never notice your blog before?! I didn’t get very far, but it looks great.

  2. If you are looking for an easy dairy free chocolate cake with ingredients that you already have…rather than buy a box…try my Dairy, Egg, and Peanut/Tree Nut Chocolate Birthday Cake on my blog. Fun to make if you make it all in the pan…the instructions for the Wacky Cake are at the end of the blog. My boys used to love making it as kids! It’s like a science experiment that tastes really good! Susan H. @ The Food Allergy Chronicles

  3. Hi Jennifer! Thank you for all the ‘sunshine and smiles’ that your blog has given me! In appreciation, come check out my blog for your award!


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