The fact that I ate dinner at 10:30 last night can be traced back to October 10, 2003.
October 10, 2003 was Jacob's 24th birthday, for which I wanted to do something nice. I decided on a fancy homemade birthday cake as a good approach, and set about making my mother's birthday standard, the double-layer Dear Abby Chocolate Cake.
Cakes, I discovered, are trickier than cookies. Double layer cakes are much trickier than cookies. Vegan double layer cakes are really, really, really a lot trickier than cookies. They don't hold together well, and you need to have the right kind of pans or it'll be a struggle to the death to get the cakes out. Homemade chocolate frosting is stiff to start with and sets like plaster when you leave it out for five minutes (for instance, while you're wrestling with disintegrating cake layers). What I wound up with was two fragile, uneven cake layers that were glued together by frosting but coming apart everywhere the frosting wasn't. It looked like a devil's food geology lesson, with subduction zones, faults, fissures, and a western coast sliding into the ocean like California is supposed to do. It was utterly pointless to pretend that it was a nice, proper formal layer cake.
Not to worry. I slathered the whole cataclysm in frosting and set about decorating. I used squares of chocolate to build tiny houses, with roofs askew and walls half-crumbled. Some of the houses I built only to immediately mash them into piles of rubble. My trees lay on their sides, squishing the semi-intact houses beneath them. I added a few tiny wire people, mostly falling to their knees, trapped under the unfortunate trees, or staring glumly at their destroyed houses. Thus was born the Birthday Quake.
Last year I skipped the cake and made a birthday pie instead, but it wasn't the same (for one, it worked properly). This year I had to go back to the real thing. That's why I kept Jacob out of the kitchen for three hours last night while I mixed and baked and frosted and arranged. The result? 16 carefully trimmed and shaped chocolate cupcakes, set edge-to-edge in a sinuous S-shape on a large cookie sheet, plastered together with frosting, and decorated with diamond patterns of red, yellow, and black icing. A rattle on one end and eyes on the other, and you have... the Birthday Snake.
We took pictures not only of the snake, but also of the egregious mess in the kitchen when I was done making it. I will post them this evening for you to oooh, ahhh, and ugh over.Posted by dianna at October 12, 2005 09:18 AM