28 May 2011

The silent competition of the children's birthday cake

YOU don’t have to speak to many mothers to realise that motherhood is a competitive sport. Whether it be whose munchkin walks first, says the cutest phrase, gets the best grades at school or scores the most goals in their chosen sport, war is waged from birth. Never has the extremities of the competition been more obvious than children’s birthdays.   
I was thrown some pretty spectacular birthdays as a kid. I also endured some very lame chicken dinners and Woolies sponge cake birthdays too. But there were presents, and a token friend or two either way so I loved each celebration. I know of kids who are yet to experience a lame birthday and that’s fine – I’m not judging – I’m just pondering the stress parents go through in the competition, mainly the birthday cake.
Arguably the most competitive part of the birthday party is the cake. While I am sure there are still Woolies sponges with mock cream making appearances at birthday parties, fancy schmancy designer cakes or cupcakes are gaining popularity.
The following picture was bought into the child’s kindergarten for all to share. Normally parents take simple cakes or cupcakes into kindy/prep/school and reserve the best cake for the real party or birthday (so I am told). If this is true for this kid, imagine the cake on the big day!   
I read a story recently about how in one family, a month before each child's birthday, the birthday child got to flick through The Australian Women's Weekly Children's Birthday Cake Book and choose the birthday cake they wanted their mum to bake. Little did they know but their mum had glued some pages together, leaving only the cakes she believed she could have success with. While the mother recalls how some cakes she attempted were embarrassing to produce as they just did not work out, all the children remember is how every year they had an awesome cake thanks to their loving mum. Awww...
Some people just don't have the baking prowess to successfully produce an awesome themed cake. I wonder how the mum felt who produced the "shark" cake below? A decent effort I think, and I'm sure the child loved it but... well...And herein lies the truth behind the competition. We can't help but judge!

Then there are other mothers that could make even the most complex cake look easy, telling only their nearest and dearest friends or family of the ordeal they faced to be able to produce ANYTHING in time. Note: I say mothers because I am yet to meet (or hear about) a father who baked an extravagant birthday cake for there child. I am sure there are dads  out there that have and/or will but again, I do not personally know of any. But just to prove there are men who do the cake baking, check out this Angry Birds cake - it is epic!

Having no children myself, I have never had the stress of attempting to bake the perfect themed birthday cake. However, I have a niece in love with Paris (and all things Parisienne) so I am contemplating baking her the following. It will be easy, right? Fun maybe? Bring on the stress!

Have you fallen victim to the birthday cake competition?

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