How have you been? Have you lost weight? I like your hair. You smell nice. Let's just pick up where were left off, okay?
We had a party this past weekend for Ellie, who is, impressively, now three big years old. Last month, I asked her what particular kind of birthday party she'd like to have, and, after careful and characteristically spastic deliberation, she came up with "a giraffe party." Kind of tricky, given the relative scarcity of giraffes in southwestern Idaho. (Although they should and could live here because SWEET LAWD THE SUMMER IS ALWAYS, ALWAYS AFRICA DRY, DRY DRY HOT.)
So I found myself hunting high and low for a giraffe pinata and giraffe party hats and other assorted giraffe-related paraphernalia. But I give you now the crowning achievement: the giraffe cake...
I soundly suck at the frosting arts, so a cake shaped like a giraffe was out of the question. So here's a Giraffe Cake for People who are Bad At Cakes Tutorial:
- Order a plain sheet cake from the grocery store bakery. Ask them to use butter cream instead of the nasty Crisco-y stuff. Emphasize you would like this thing plain. They will offer sprinkles. They will offer writing. They will be skeptical that you want plain. Persist.
- Buy some plastic Schleich animals. (Those clever Germans!) Bonus: cake decoration doubles as gift for child!
- Pick up your cake. That was easy! (Edited to add: Due to OCD-Martha-Stewart-induced-guilt/perfectionism, I have never purchased a store-made cake. But, when you're raising two small children and the cake in question is for a 3-year-old that will eat absolutely anything and doesn't know the first thing about sifted cake flour and organic chocolate melted in a double boiler and parchment paper-lined cake pans, SOMETIMES YOU CAN CHEAT.)
- Plan out your cake on a sheet of construction paper. Set up your animals and sketch in your water feature. Cut out the water feature.
- Press the water feature paper into the top of the cake and sprinkle pulverized Chick-A-Stick or Butterfinger around the perimeter of the water feature for mud. Add some ground vanilla graham cookies around the edges as sand.
- Remove the paper and fill in the recessed, non-Chick-A-Sticky area with blue gel icing. It will be kind of hyper-real and mucousy. C'est la vie.
- Decorate the edges of the water with different sizes of chocolate candy rocks. Add tufts of grass cut out of sugared fruit roll-ups.
- Right before displaying/serving, stick in your animals and some dill weed (heh...dillweed) trees.
There you have it: a cake sure to impress the young, the elderly, and the seeing-impaired. It was actually a lot of fun to decorate.
What's that? ONE more picture? Alright, alright. I just can't say no, you minx.