Happy Birthday Levi!
And what a birthday it was....My little boy is now 3, and alas I must admit is no longer a baby (though we still call him "Baby") but in our defense he is our last one and they do grow far too fast. I am always reminded of the saying on many baby clothes "If only they could stay little" and for the longest time as I was going from diaper change to diaper change, surviving through one extremely colicky baby only to end up with a preemie I often wondered to myself "Why on earth would we want them to stay little?" Then after having William -my saving grace because he was so easy and Levi (even though he was not ha-ha) I understand and find myself thinking "If only they stayed little". Anywhoo, enough of my meanderings, onto the birthday...
As everyone knows, with birthdays come cakes, and with cakes come sugar, lots and lots of sugar. Now trying to find a sugar-free cake mix that doesn't taste like sweetened cardboard or a sugar-free frosting that doesn't taste like a spoonful of splenda is extremely difficult. Last year I made a large pan of zucchini bread put candles on top of it and called it good. This year however, I had no zucchini (courtesy of all the garden pests/chickens) and given we were doing a joint birthday with my 5 year old nephew, I knew zucchini bread and candles weren't going to cut it. I also knew that since I was making two cakes they had better be the same because Levi would want to try Carson's and Carson would want to try Levi's. What to do, what to do. I searched everywhere for a good cake recipe and every single one required exotic ingredients - coconut flour?? really?? or used "sugar free cake mix"- sweet cardboard. I finally found one recipe I thought I could maybe use, but I was running out of time and had all but resigned myself to making that sweet cardboard - Happy Birthday everyone, try not to get paper fibers stuck in your teeth or gag on that forkful of fluffy splenda you just ate -
I got to the store and couldn't find the sugar free cake mix anywhere, it had just been there two days ago and it was gone! Same with the fluffy splenda! Gone. After searching everywhere and getting crabbier by the minute I called my husband and asked him to pull up the recipe I had been thinking about, I needed a list of the ingredients which did not include coconut in any way shape or form. I raced home ingredients in hand, whipped up an entirely made from scratch batch of cake mix and anxiously watched it bake. It bubbled and jiggled, rose and fell, cracked and mended itself for an hour, but it smelled good, so I was hopeful. The timer buzzed and I carefully, oh so carefully removed the cakes, they looked fantastic, nice and full, had the perfect feel to them and I breathed a sigh of relief....but then they sank into the pan and I almost threw them out the window. My husband, ever the one to show grace under pressure, told me to relax, the cakes would be fine and slowly took them out of my hands and put them safely on the counter. Now for the frosting.
I have made a variety of frostings over the years and so for this step I wasn't too worried, it seemed simple enough, butter a little bit of splenda, some milk and wa-la- boy was I wrong. I followed the recipe exactly, it wouldn't mix, it wouldn't whip, it was chunky and yellow, watery and sticky, it was downright nasty, and I had used all my butter and milk so I couldn't start over and the party was set to begin in two hours. In disgust I threw my hands in the air and chucked it. What was I going to do now?? Again, my husband ever so patient and kind asked if he could help, I promptly sent him to the store for more milk and cream cheese, I was going to make that frosting my way, so help me and it was not going to be whipped splenda. Greg quickly returned with everything I had asked for, I mixed it up, added food coloring here and there and it turned out perfect, it was not sickly sweet, it whipped up nicely, it was ready. With that I bent to my favorite part of all, decorating the cakes-I love decorating cakes, when I bake and decorate your cake, coming up with cute designs and little shapes, its sort of a personal gift from me,. They turned out adorable, Levi got a dump truck and Carson got a minion. I finished them with 5 minutes to spare, they looked great and smelled good but the real test was yet to come.
We loaded into the truck, quite a task when you are trying not to jostle the cakes, or even worse drop them. We finally arrived at the party and with some trepidation brought my creations around to the back of the house. Everyone was tickled pink with how they turned out, but I was still nervous, we hadn't tasted them yet, would they be dry? would they be too sweet? had I just served something resembling cake but tasting like stale bread? Finally we put the candles on, sang to the little boys and cut the cake. The birthday boys got the first bite, Levi's eyes got wide, he started to smile and shoved another bite in his mouth-he couldn't believe Mommy was letting him eat something that tasted like that. Carson in his sweet little voice stated "Auntie Kate this cake is really, really good! Thank you for making it for me!" After serving everyone, I took a bite and it was GOOD! The cake was moist and fudgy, the frosting was fantastic, not too sweet, very creamy, the perfect pairing. Almost everyone had seconds and the general consensus was that I should open my own business and call it "Kate's Cakes". The best part was that Levi could eat as much of it as he wanted, his Grandpa (who has Type 2) and misses his sweet treats could have a great big slice too. It wouldn't mess with their BG counts, and as an added bonus the other children wouldn't get a sugar high and the adults wouldn't suffer through that sugar high. All in all it was a success. Now whenever I am in the kitchen Levi asks "Makin' cake fo' me Mommy? Happy Birthday to Evi' Happy Birthday to Ca'son". I smile, pat him on the head and think to my self "If only they could stay little".