My Naked Birthday Cake

Today’s such a big day! It’s the day Elvis Presley was born. And it also just happens to be the day I was born. I spoke to someone who will hopefully become a new client while Mom was busy following that birthday tradition of baking a cake. Overall, the day held a great deal of promise.

The client call went well and hopefully it marks the beginning of a prosperous new year for me.

My poor cake is unfortunately another story.

It has pretty purple sugar sprinkled on top but a huge section of it is naked. Yes, naked. The dark brown chocolate cake shows through the icing on most of the edges and about six inches of the outside of the cake is simply bare!

No icing? What sort of mean joke is that? Poor Mom didn’t know whether to slap me or laugh hysterically when I asked her why my cake was naked. Mom’s not a huge fan of icing to begin with and often puts the cake frosting on very thinly but this was taking even that to the extreme. I walked into the kitchen only to hear that distinctive noise a knife makes when being scraped in a plastic tub in the hopeless attempt to somehow make the jar provide more icing than it actually contains. I knew there was something wrong because she always ends up with icing left over.

She did everything right, almost. She made a chocolate cake, my favorite. She gently put both layers on cake racks and let them cool off. That was when things started to go wrong.

She placed one layer on a plate. Her intention was to ice the layer on the plate and then add the other layer on top. Sounds like a good plan but she got uhm, distracted. Yeah, that must have been the problem. Well, that’s her excuse and she’s sticking to it.

Instead of icing the layer on the plate, she iced the layer on the rack. Still not realizing her mistake but already suspecting that she did not have enough icing, she took the layer from the plate and put it on top of the layer on the rack. Exactly backwards from how you are supposed to ice cakes.

Even with the icing between the layers not much thicker than several sheets of paper she knew that there was not enough icing. She carefully iced the top, very thinly, and then tried to cover the sides. We learned that fresh cake and trying to make icing stretch don’t go together very well. With all of the scraping and squishing of icing, small bits of the cake broke off and became embedded in the not-so-fluffy whiteness of the icing. The edges of the cake were virtually scraped bare and much of the rest had the crumb icing mixture.

That’s when I came into the kitchen and heard the tell-tale scrape, scrape, scrape of the empty jar. I saw the thin-ness of the icing and that the cake was sitting on a rack and started laughing. She gave me one of her trademark “Mom’s not happy with that behavior looks” and said I should be thankful I was getting any cake. (What is it that no matter how old you are, Mom’s still have that look that warns of trouble?) I reassured her that it wasn’t her fault if she didn’t buy enough icing and giggled. Don’t think she liked that comment too much either.

But, all that was before…before she turned the cake around and I saw a good five to six inch space of naked cake; the sight of which set me off into gales of laughter. She told me to get lost as my cake wasn’t finished yet. I left the kitchen wondering what she was thinking that she could possibly do to make this poor half-naked cake look better.

Purple sugar sprinkles! Sprinkles always make things look and taste better. Well, most of the time they do.

So, the top of the cake is a mixture of thin icing, chocolate cake bits and purple sugar. Beautiful I told her, now fearing reprisals for criticizing all of her hard work. Couldn’t sell it…I burst into giggles and had to poke fun at my poor naked cake.

It was about this time that she came across the now empty plate. She asked me what the plate was for. My answer was even more laughter. It was only then that she realized she had iced the wrong half first. That was when she finally had to laugh at the situation.

I went digging in the silverware for the pie server and laughed some more as she tried to slide the blade between the cake and the wires of the cake rack. Between dirty looks at me and her own laughter, she managed to get the first piece free without damaging it too much. She took a naked section for herself.

I called the company to discuss their icing and told the support rep my naked cake story. Amid our laughter and giggles, the customer support rep apologized profusely, promised to send us a coupon for a replacement and kindly offered that no matter what it looked like, my cake was obviously made with love. Yes, indeed, my poor naked cake was most certainly made with love. The gift of laughter and the memories of this birthday will definitely last much longer than that funny looking cake sitting on a cake cooling rack in our kitchen.

Who knew a half-naked cake could be so much fun?

p.s. Hopefully, my Mother will never see this and I have not forever ruined my chances at getting another home made birthday cake from her.

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