Monday, May 26, 2008
The Big Birthday Cake Bonanza!
As a child growing up in the late 1960s and 1970s I was lucky enough to have a talented mother who also just happened to be a part-time professional cake decorator. Come each September 10th after a fun birthday meal of hot dogs and potato chips I was assured of not just a great-tasting birthday dessert but a really fun looking one too. Childhood friends were always impressed with the time and skill my mom put into these sweet pieces of art, so I thought I'd give my first 12 cakes another opportunity to shine over these next two postings.
Up first ( above ) and starting in chronological order we have my first cake, September 1969. Clearly taking a cue from the fine folks at Wilton ( the cakes decorating suppliers that taught my mom the basics ) we see a fine example featuring a pastel shaded ( trust me ), classic child's building block design. For a variation on this creation check out my sister's birthday cake three and a half years later.
Below : Annos Duos. The sepia tone of this photo adds a touch of authenticity to this Cowboys and Indians and Totem Pole and... something ( it is a bit fuzzy ) themed cake. Eagle-eyed readers will have spotted the lenticular ( that 3-D to you and me ) paper punch-out birthday card badge I'm wearing proclaiming my age, in case anyone wasn't too clear on that point. I also appear to be wearing one in the first photo. "A trend?", you say?...
Possibly. But without further photographic evidence I'm afraid it'll just have to be left to the scholars and theorists to debate over for years to come.
Third time's the charm! With the assistance of my uncle my mom pulled off what has to rank as ( along with the Hulk cake from the next posting ) one of the most memorable of my mom's birthday cakes - "Glen Mullaly's Circus!"
Hand painted, ( with food colouring ) pressed sugar, exotic animals in cages with plastic straw bars, gumdrops and a hand lettered banner. Perfection.
A side note : I still have the molds that the animals were made in. Not sure why, but I couldn't throw them out.
Hey there, hi there, ho there - with birthday #4 ( 1972 ) mom shifts gears somewhat for a visit from Bandleader Mickey. The 70s weren't kind to Mr. Mouse's career, but even slumming on kids birthday cakes he came through like the true professional he was.
Bonne - fete cinq, jeune Glen! With a backdrop consisting of our cherry tree filled back yard this somewhat freaky ( and yet still fun - filled ) clown makes an affable appearance at my fifth birthday. If I'm correct those oversized feet and hands were completely edible. Anyone chowing down on Mr. Clown's plastic head would have won a free trip to the emergency ward however as his neck consisted of a very kid-friendly spike!
1974 - Rounding off the first half-dozen of my mom's most excellent birthday cakes we have one that was such a hit she created it again and again for other festive occasions. Combining moist cake and tasty trans-fat filled icing would suffice for most confectionery connoisseurs, but then adding jelly beans to mix? A stroke of pure genius! Wilton may have supplied the cake pan, but my mom added the love.
Check out more of my mom's cakey creations over at her Flickr.
Up next: The Star Wars years!
Posted by Glen Mullaly at 7:33 AM