But I'd seen photos of a friend's son's absolutely fantastic professionally made-to-order birthday cake and I thought - shit - I haven't even thought of the cake and I went into a panic about it which led to me buying a claydough train cake topper and having grandiose ideas about making an amazing cake with train track icing piped across it (never mind that I have never done such a thing before).
Well, life is what happens when you're busy making plans. And today, I had to surrender to working with who I am and what resources I have right now. And remind myself that Jake himself would be happy with any cake at all.
At bedtime, when Jake found out I was staying up to make his cake, he decided he wanted to stay up and help me. By that point it was already past 9 o'clock. Ordinarily I would've put my foot down and insisted he go to bed or go to bed with him then come down to make the cake later, but I thought, what the heck, why not. And help me he did, with such focus and absorption and fascination (and skill too!). I got a chair for him to stand on and he helped me sift the flour and the sugar and cocoa powder together, he helped me pour the milk and the vanilla essence into the mix, he stirred the batter, he helped me break up pieces of chocolate to be melted and added to the mix, all the time giving me a running commentary with sentences that began with, "And what we're going to do now is...." (I soooo wish someone had been filming it all!)
When I got the melted chocolate out of the microwave, he asked me what we were going to do with it. I told him we were going to pour it into the cake batter and as I did so, he watched and said, "Oh wow! That's gonna be tasty! That's brilliant!!" and then a few moments later, "Aw, thanks!"
Then we went to bed and he fell asleep with fingers smelling of chocolate and vanilla.
The cake is cooling now and we're going to decorate it in the morning. I'm going to use a star-shaped bubble wand as a stencil to sprinkle icing sugar stars on it. And then the claydough train is going on the top, along with three candles. Jake, of course, insists on decorating the cake with me in the morning.
And you know what, that beats a fancy bakery-ordered cake any day of the week.