There was much fun and mixing in my kitchen this week in preparation for the birthday party of a young girl who will be six. She wanted a snowman cake, the description of which changed several times over the course of several days and, indeed, right up to the last moment when she decided that she didn’t want her name on it. She was definite that the cake must be chocolate, the frosting white, there must be a snowman just like the one she drew, some green candles and some words.
The snowman concept:
I’d approached her mother about making a sheet cake base with three-dimensional snowman and snowballs out of crispy rice treats, which mold quite well in large or small buttered hands, and provide an opportunity for involvement besides the measuring, pouring and mixing of cake batter. It was a gooey effort, but well worth it, I think, even though the snowballs were placed by the two sisters atop the cake rather than along the perimeter as I’d suggested. It was her cake and her decisions all along, and the grandmother can vouch for that.
Her eight year-old sister offered very helpful advice and encouragement all along, as well as the song for the day during a karaoke break while I was cleaning up the chocolate cake dough mess and the cake was in the oven. The song, while sung to an uptempo and cheerful 4/4 dance tune beat, could have been a gravelly, slow torch song. As a songwriter myself, I truly appreciate the title. “You gotta be happy in the daytime, but you can cry all night.” Happy, happy, happy.
That’s right. Originally, she wanted the cake to say “Happy Birthday, Petunia. You are all snowmen.” The invited children were each to bring a snowball (and I would not be surprised if she waved the snowman’s cane — created by the older sister — at the children whilst announcing their transformation.)
In the end, she opted for the colorful candle “Happy Birthday” and did not want her name on the cake, instead choosing to accentuate the icing with sparkling sugars. The blue was designed to be a lake, and while the sprinkling was being done, the older sister cautioned that too much blue in one place might lead all the children to want their slice to have blue lake in it. A close look at the photo shows one more bit of her advice: “Wait, that candle needs to be moved over here.”
Choccywoccydoodah chocolate callets arrived from London last week with my daughter home from a trip abroad. They enabled the snowman’s creator to perfectly carry out her design, to place the bits just where she wanted them to be and match her drawing. (Leave it to the British, who voted to name a research ship Boaty McBoatface, to name a business choccywoccydoodah. I love it.)