We celebrated my dad’s 60th birthday last week. I volunteered to make the cake, because for me, that’s the dream job. The coveted task. When birthdays come around I’m like the kid in the front row in school who knows they know all the answers – throwing my hands up going “ooh! pick me, pick me!” Thankfully my friends and family are willing and even happy to hand this particular task to me. They’re thankful to scratch it off the list, and I am giddy with ideas and anticipation. This one is a big deal, too, the big 6-0. Actually I don’t know that 60 means anything special, but milestones do feel more special than the rest, don’t they? So I set to work brainstorming ideas for the perfect cake (or cupcakes, or chocolate fountain, or tiny butterscotch animals playing croquet, I’m open to ALL inspiration in this stage of the process.)
It didn’t take long for me to land on an idea. My dad’s a cool guy. A former marine and bodybuilder, now Sunday School teacher and true maverick, he reminds me of dark-haired “Hannibal” from The A-Team, with a more “Magnum, P.I.” face. I have so many childhood memories of my dad, eating Butter Pecan ice cream in bed at night. Or sometimes after a celebratory dinner he’d bring it out. It’s a lifelong favorite of his. Surely there MUST be a way to incorporate this into his birthday cake! What a brilliant idea, I patted myself on the back.
Pinterest helped a little, as did Google. But after searching a while and not coming up with any recipe that struck my fancy, I decided to just “do it myself.” For me, especially in baking, this means I’m going into mad scientist mode. The good news is, I’m confident in my abilities and I do seem to have a knack for it, so very seldom does an experiment go horribly, terribly wrong. I put an old mix CD my brother made for me and set to work. (It’s mostly Evanescence, if you must know.)
If the mix of fragrances in the kitchen was any indication, this would be good.
Well, it wasn’t good. No, not good, but downright yummy. Now, I do think I’m biased, so I was still nervous about my dad’s reaction. The rest of the guests, too, but mainly Dad. I didn’t want to associate his up-until-now favorite flavor with something unappetizing. Happy to report that he loved it. The cake was GONE quickly after the candles were blown out. In fact, I received some texts the next day from party guests asking if I had any left that they could come and pick up. Yes, the cake – or pie? – looks homemade, but if you didn’t grow up with homemade cakes, you don’t know what you’ve missed. “That look about it” is what my mom affectionately says – it means I made it with my two hands, my mind, my heart, my soul and creativity. It’s a delicious gift that’s also a part of me. So I’m fine with the look.
What’s that line? … I love it when a plan comes together.