When September rolls around, in addition to getting nostalgic and becoming one of those people who are 10 for $1 on the internet who get all OMG yay fall stripey scarves and hot apple cider oh wait no apple cider donuts and pumpkins and football and big chunky sweaters and oh we haven’t even touched on the boots and accessories that haphazardly combine something delicate like crystals with something rugged like leather or perhaps ornamental ironwork welded by some bearded dude who lives in the remote mountains and recreationally wields a machete from time to time, I start to get excited about Soren’s birthday, which isn’t until late October but whatever, it’s at a very fall-like time of year. Oh wait, it is fall. When you think about it (I don’t actually expect you to do that), it’s kind of awesome that I have an awesome kid whose birthday awesomely falls during my favorite season.
(Look at that. Kids’ birthdays turn us into even more annoying monsters than we already are.)
The thing is, although I get really excited about Soren’s birthday, I’m not one of those parents who goes all out for his party. Last year, Soren had a minimalist first birthday party. This year, we’re planning something similar.
Well, I should say, “something similar with one mindblowingly incredible upgrade.”
Last year, we had, all due respect, pathetically sad-looking cupcakes. I mean, they were delicious, if I’m allowed to refer to something I made as delicious. There ain’t nothing wrong with pumpkin cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting. I could eat like 10 of them right now.
Now that I’m in the Soren’s-birthday-approacheth frame of mind, I’ve started to think about what we’ll have for dessert this year. I’ve considered the unconventional (churros, to go with our dance-party-taco-bar theme). I’ve considered the soon-to-be trendy (pie — or is pie already trendy? I’m not really with it.) I finally came back to my default cupcakes, even though cupcakes are played out. They’re good! And you don’t have to mess around with cutting cake. There ain’t nothing wrong with not having to mess around with cutting cake.
But today I got a bee in my bonnet about animal-shaped cakes. I’m not talking about fancy-ass Ace-of-Cakes-level shit. I’m taking old school, like those lamb cakes everybody’s mom made for Easter in the 1970s where you made two separate lamb halves and used frosting to put them together even though you weren’t religious and nobody really knew what the point was of having a cake shaped like a lamb. (While we’re on the subject of lamb-shaped foods, I’d never heard of a butter lamb until this year. They fascinate me and I hope to spot one in its natural environment one day.) So I got on the old internets and googled, to start, “cat shaped cake.”
Here is the result.
That’s just about the greatest thing ever. Apparently it’s from a 1969 Betty Crocker cookbook.
It’s deliciously old school and doesn’t require the purchase of any new baking stuff. It appears at least in theory to be simple enough that even I can do it. Soren loves cats as much as I love randomly inserting R Kelly lyrics in blog posts. It’s perfect.
As far as flavor is concerned, at first I considered doing pumpkin cake and maple cream cheese frosting again, because, well, birthday tradition? I really like it? I don’t know. But the other day at Taste of Colorado something crazy happened. Ben and I were getting a cupcake for later and the nice woman working the stand was overcome by Soren’s eyes-like-saucers gaze and offered him a free mini cupcake. What the hell, we figured, it’s the Taste of Colorado! It’s special! I’m kind of a freak about not giving my kid gratuitous sweets like frosted cupcakes on any day that isn’t his birthday, but why not! Sure, kid, have a mini cupcake! He devoured the chosen cupcake — white cake with a soft-serve-ice-cream-like swirl of chocolate frosting — like it was without question the most delicious thing he’s ever consumed in his entire life. And it probably was. And I felt bad about it but got over myself because I think the best course of action, when it comes to kids and sweets, is everything (well, homemade or at least fresh and made by someone in the 303 area code) in moderation. So that’s how I came to know that Soren really enjoys white cake with chocolate frosting. So that is what he will have. And it will be shaped like a cat. And he will love it.