Friday, 25 May 2012

Birthday fun...and lessons from a cake

Today my lovely, oldest girl turned 9.

NINE.  how did THAT happen so fast?

She got lots of lovely presents, and enjoyed her day.

One special moment I captured, and it brought joy to my heart.

We got her a new Bible - on her request.  I got her a pink one!!!  But, it was filled with lovely study prompts, useful information, summaries of each book of the Bible and many other useful snippets!  She got a blanket out, and went and read her Bible in the sunny garden.  How to make your Mother's heart glad!

So, the joy of homeschooling - no school on your birthday! *grin* Teacher gives a day off!

For the benefit of the child, obviously.....*whistles*

Actually, so I can make a Birthday Cake.

Well, I came up with a new concept - well, not TOTALLY to me!

I had seen one like this...

But decided I didn't quite have the time - or patience - for that many colours!

So, I decided to go simple, and just do two colours - pink and purple.  I simply added my food paste colouring to the cake batter.

Out of the oven, it looked like this...

Well, doesn't look very special, does it?

Until you cut it open...

THAT looks better!

Swinging back to the first, if anyone can tell this amateur baker WHY she has big bubbles in her cake, feedback would be greatly appreciated.  Thank-you.

So, to the cake.  I cut each one in half, and layered them up alternately, with raspberry jam in between each layer.

In between, it is also important to make sure you get suitably tied up in knots, by doing too many things at one.  I was simultaneously making the white sauce for the lasagne that Beth had requested as her Birthday dinner.

The white sauce then got burnt, whilst I was sorting out the mess made by Elijah deciding to stick his finger in the rather soft butter that I left sitting on the kitchen table - it got all over himself, and all over the floor. Yikes!

So, back to cake - please note - to get the desired effect, it is VITAL that your layers are as uneven and skew whiff as mine.

Got it?

Again, from the sides, you only see the odd colour...not the true colour.

Then, it was on to the buttercream icing. Nyom nyom.

I LOVE butter cream.

Well, that was interesting. I used the recipe that I was kindly given by my friend, Dawn.  The first whoopsie happened, when I decided to increase the quantity, without checking how much icing sugar I had.  So, the icing  ended up being a bit too soft.  Having no icing sugar left, I was madly thinking what I could use to thicken it.  Ta-da!  Custard powder.  Of course.  Because that's what we all use custard powder for, right?  BUT, it then made my icing rather yellow.  Which isn't a good base colour to start off with, before atempting to make it the desired colour.  I started with pink.  It looked pink.  Fantastic.  But, then I decided to make it purple.  When I did the purple cake, I just added some blue colouring.  It worked for the cake.  It, erm, DIDN'T work for the icing.



Putty shaded icing.  Great.

So, the pink got whipped out once again, and I managed to get the icing to a lovely shade of mauve!

Not quite what I planned, but one has to make the best of such things!

So, the icing went on the cake.

At this point, Elijah got tired in the heat, and decided to fall asleep RIGHT where I was trying to ice a cake!!

So, I quickly finished icing the cake, and then woke him up (mean mother, who wanted to make sure he went to sleep at NIGHT!).

I added come silver and white dragees in the shape of a 9, and then darkened the remaining icing, and piped it round the edge, finishing with some sparkly sprinkles.

And, voila!  Cake!

I think Beth was happy with it!

It wouldn't win any awards, but so long as it pleased the Birthday girl, then I am a happy Mummy!

I love how the Lord can shows us truth from every day events.  Not that I make a Birthday cake EVERY day! *smile*

Firstly, when you think about how odd my cake looked at various stages - the odd colouring of the outside, the wobbly layers, the bubbles in the sponge.  It really didn't seem like it could amount to anything much.  But yet, at the end of the process, there was a lovely (well, I thought it was!.....) cake.

So many days, I feel like that.  There is really nothing beautiful in me.  Imperfections as far more noticeable above anything else.

Wobbly bits?  Check.  In more ways than one....

Plans go awry, and the things that should turn out the right way, go the wrong way.

Good intentions end up in disaster.

But, the hand of the Master is at work.  He moulds, and shapes and the result is HIS workmanship, which looks far better than how things look in the middle of the process.  With His hand at work in my life, there CAN be beauty!  It may be ugly on the way through, but it WILL happen, even if the process is hard and not always enjoyable.

"He hath made every thing beautiful in his time:"
Ecclesiastes 3:11  

"But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand." 
Isaiah 64:8  

It also made me think of the old "whitened sepulchre" illustration.  Something may look nice from the outside, but the inside isn't quite an equal reflection of what everyone else sees. I know the inside of my cake wasn't quite the same description of the inside of the whitened sepulchre, but it still wasn't as pretty as the outside.

How easy it is for us to pretty up our outward we can appear to others as women who have it "all together", and things are just merry and bright.  But, inside our lives - the REAL life - it's not quite as perfect as it seems.

Things ARE uneven.  We do have wobbly days, when our plans just don't, well, go to plan! But, we smooth it over, and cover it up, so no-one sees those cracks and imperfections.  We don't want people to think we can't "do it all", so we cover everything up with a sugary sweet coating.

I'm not sure that it's a good idea to be like that.  To give the impression that life is perfect, and we are managing just fine, when we are not.

Personally, my motivation has often been that I don't want people to judge me as "not coping", if they see that I have bad days.  I try so hard to appear "in control" and "managing just fine, thanks", lest anyone think that I "obviously had 1 child too many", or I should have my children in school, as they OBVIOUSLY have a mother who can't get it right.  So, that sugary coating gets smoothed over, and no-one gets to see the bad days.  Of which there are a few...ok...more than a few.

But, is that pride?  Is that me worrying more about what others think, than knowing that GOD understands my heart, my life, my circumstances - He understand because it's HIS plan, and HE knows that I am frail, and remembers that I am dust, so THAT is what counts?  If others judge my abilities to be a capable mother, based on a bad day that they may witness, then THEY are in the wrong?  I need to spend less time worrying about slapping on the outward appearance of "icing and sprinkles", and keep it real.

So, a Happy birthday for my girl.

And, a lesson for me at the same time.  Always good!


  1. Great post, loved it! I love how Beth asked for a bible, precious. And Elijah falling asleep like that is just too cute!!

    Try banging the cake tin before putting it in the oven to get the bubbles out.

    "He hath made everything beautiful in HIs time" that's my verse at the moment. <3

    Dawn x

  2. Haaa, custard powder. we give a day off too, but i just make chocolate cake. just as well, as that is all i can do!!
    Another point, yes. cos we don't like to give a negative portrayal to people. I see what you are saying tho, but i think there is a time and a place to share struggles.