Monday, November 5, 2012

3 weeks, 3 cakes

So I failed to share with you Archie's birthday a couple of weeks ago.  My first-born is now 14, a proper teenager who, while apparently not growing much in height, is starting to look very different physically.  My 14th birthday always sticks out in my memory as my worst birthday ever and I wanted to make sure that his wasn't.  Mine was that way all due to my own teenage, hormonal grumpiness but all my main memories and influences came from that time.  My early teens are when I became 'me' and so I want so much for these to be happy, positive, exciting and challenging times for him.  So far he's doing great.  There was a moment on the Sunday before his birthday when I suggested that if the nonsense continued I'd be happy to 'postpone' his birthday, but it was all over and done with pretty quickly!

The child loves comic books, has just acted as a research assistant (acknowledged in the footnotes) for John in a paper on The Avengers that will be published in a book on Joss Whedon and Religion in 2013, and is Batman obsessed.  Recently John and his PhD students were having a lively debate about the recent Batman movies, when John recounted to Archie what they had said, he replied "You're all wrong" and proceeded to point out something very inciteful that they had all missed!  Anyway, the cake had to be Batman themed.

I used my old faithful vanilla cake recipe, and decided to try and make it a bit grey.  I added a few drops of paste to achieve this

 It was only when I was trimming the finished cakes that I realised how intense the colour was!  I bought some black fondant from Cupids and trawled google for inspiration.  I wanted to keep it simple so just went for a black bat then used a lustre and a damp brush to paint the edges.  I also used my finger to smudge the lustre across the silhouette.  I managed to spill some if it and tried to blow it off which gave a rather nice effect, so spilt some more!

He was very pleased with it.

6 days later we had a bit of a party with some of John's students and their familes to celebrate a significant birthday, and to say goodbye to one of "the boys" who is off back to Canada to complete writing up his PhD thesis.  It was lovely to have him and his wife here for a while but it's now back to supervisions and chats via skype.

Such a celebration would not be complete without cake.  Hanlie had ordered cake for Ashley but I was fairly confident she wouldn't have got one for herself!  Lisa and I decided on a rainbow cake which turned out just right, although next time I think I will only tint 3 layers and leave one as is.

I was glad that after the disaster of the butter icing on Archie's rainbow cake last year, it worked perfectly this time!

Then on Saturday some good friends came for dinner.  They had just moved house on Tuesday, Rachel is 7 1/2 months pregnant, and in the middle she had had her birthday!  We thought they might be glad to have a break from unpacking and unfamiliar ovens, so I had great intentions.  As it happened I got as far as baking the cake, then we spent so much time chatting that the cake ended up being very simple.  

Pale pink buttercream with sprinkles and candles did the trick!  Enough cake for 11 of us and leftovers for breakfast!!

I think that's it for cakes for a while now.  I don't bother with Christmas cakes here as it's too hot to have the oven on for ages and no one except me eats it anyway!