October 12, 2005

Mad science!

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

p.s. Happy birthday, Jacob. I love you. But I told you that already.

Posted by: Dianna at October 12, 2005 09:37 AM

but where are the pictures of the birthday quake?

happy birthday, jacob!

Posted by: michele at October 12, 2005 10:22 AM

You should not have asked about the pictures of the birthday quake.

All of our digital photos were erased in a partition-formatting error a couple of months ago, and I've been trying valiantly to convince Jacob that it's not a terrible disaster. My cause was thoroughly lost on Sunday when he remembered that the birthday quake was among the things lost.

So not only do we not have quake pictures for you, you have rubbed lemon extract into the open cake wound of our loss.

Posted by: Dianna at October 12, 2005 10:55 AM

Nooooo! The birthday quake is gone forever! My life is a lie!

Posted by: Jacob at October 12, 2005 12:15 PM

well hmph, it's not my fault that you didn't put birthday quake online TWO YEARS AGO.

jacob corn, your life IS a lie. also, you're old. happy birthday.

Posted by: michele at October 12, 2005 12:39 PM

Hey! My blog was started on October 25, 2003. Birthday quake was old news by then. Pththtbbbbt.

I do wonder if we put some in Eloise anyway. I'll check.

Posted by: Dianna at October 12, 2005 02:03 PM

yes, but jacob's blog was still going strong back in 2003.

Posted by: michele at October 12, 2005 07:29 PM

more importantly. i've been reading your blog for 2 years? fuck. where does the time go? i'm so old!

Posted by: michele at October 12, 2005 07:51 PM

Ancient. I heard the new de Young museum is going to have a Michele History exhibit.

Posted by: Dianna at October 13, 2005 08:51 AM

i so need to go there.

Posted by: michele at October 13, 2005 09:01 AM

I feel very out of the loop on this de Young museum issue. I really have no idea what it is, but I keep hearing about it. Is it something like a San Francisco version of the Getty, a General Museum museum that displays whatever it thinks is cool (rather than specific things like Modern Art or Asian History)? Does it only display Young things? Should I just look the damn thing up instead of asking Cementhorizon?

Posted by: Dianna at October 13, 2005 02:34 PM

it's in golden gate park and it's been closed for a while for rebuilding and it looks crazy now and is full of spiff things.

Posted by: michele at October 13, 2005 02:39 PM