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An Update, A Few Musings, And Birthday Cakes
Hi Everybody! If you don’t want to read all my ramblings and just want to see my creations then I don’t mind if you whiz past the first part of this post. The creations are near the end!
I’ve fished out photos of a few birthday cakes I’ve decorated – with the help of the two youngest nephews, at various times over the last 6 months today.
Many people say they no longer want to celebrate their birthdays as they get older – why is this?
I don’t believe in big splashes of celebrations, eating and drinking until the person celebrating their birthday, and their friends and family, don’t have a memory of what they said and did. What’s the fun in that? I’m talking of just getting together with nearest and dearest and doing something to comemorate that another year has passed. Whether it’s been a good year, or a bad year you are glad to see the back of, taking a little time to acknowledge the passing of another year is good as far as I’m concerned. And ignoring a birthday doesn’t actually mean that another year hasn’t passed.
We don’t do anything major for most birthdays in our family. A meal where family members are invited (whether they have time to come or not) – sometimes tea and cake, and sometimes a takeaway of some sort. Quite often on the closest Sunday afternoon, when more of the family have some free time to call round at the same time, though sometimes on the birthday itself. A chance to sit down and chat. A time to be together, when quite often close family visit at different times and don’t get to meet up here at the same time.
With several of the family chronically ill, going “out” together for a meal just isn’t an option, but I always enjoy seeing on Facebook what others have been doing for birthdays.
One of my nephews is really interested in what people use to do – not so much the dates of history but the practicallities of how they use to live and what they use to do. Steam engines and farming before tractors were invented. Anything old time. He’d been asking my father about the time when he started working and how were animals taken across to Cardigan Island in olden days. Dad worked on a farm on the mainland that had grazing rites on the island. This was over 60 years ago. The island is owned by a wildlife trust now.
It seems that animals were swam across with the farmer and farm help crossing in a boat according to what Dad told his grandson, so my nephew decided that we had to make a birthday cake for Dad to reflect this. We did buy a no added sugar loaf cake (Dad’s a diabetic so a cake with added sugar wasn’t an option) to be the basis of the cake, and didn’t try to make it to the correct shape or scale or anything – just an island shape (home made marsipan with ground almonds and some sweetner and fruit sugar used to cover the cake) in a paper sea with a cardboard boat in it. The nephews collected some of their toy farm animals and characters, which were sterilised in baby bottle sterilising solution before being added to the cake, with a few labels stuck on to make it obvious what the cake was suppose to depict.
Going with the same idea of theming the cake with something to do with her youth, Mam’s birthday cake was made to look a bit like the top of a mountain with stunted grasses and rocks around. Mam was brought up in the shadow of Carningli, one of the peaks of the Preseli Mountains. A figure of a little girl holding a duck was used as my young mother (Mamgu to the grandchildren) – I had to re-colour the hair black with an alcohol marker before sterilizing in baby bottle steriliser because Mam had black hair before she went grey.
I did more of the prep for this one as the nephews were not here the day before – but I cheated and bought a half football cake as a base cake, removed the black icing hexagons (which one of the nephews thought were great to eat and end up with a black tongue) and then re-decorated as a mountain.
Now when it came to makeing the nephew’s birthday cakes the “when they were young” theme wouldn’t work. So when it came time to make their birthday cakes we had to go with some of what they enjoy. Both nephews love having time playing on their Hudl Android tablets and amongst their favourite games are Minecraft and Transport Empire. They’d shown me a Minecraft magazine several months before their birthdays and the youngest had asked me to make him a cake in the shape of the “cake” blocks they have in the game, and had given me the online link to a receipe for making one. Needless to say I decided to buy the base cake, and come the day before our Sunday tea we worked together decorating it. Anybody who knows Minecraft will know that actually the Minecraft cake is a very simple shape to make. Of course we had to decorate it with Lego Minecraft figures from a Lego set they had received for Christmas (like previously we used baby bottle sterilising solution to sterilise the figures before adding to the cake).
And this is what we landed up with –
For the other nephew’s cake, the one who’s also interested in steam engines as well as playing a bit of Transport Empire on his tablet, I got out a chocolate train mould from an online sale on the Lakeland site to create the decoration. This time I got a long cutting cake from Tesco as the base cake. The chocolate train was a bit longer than the cake but that didn’t really matter. I used green sugar strands stuck on with some green icing as grass either side of the train. The nephew had asked for some cristalised ginger to be put in the tender as “coal”.
This is what I finished off with –
I’d painted bits of the chocolate train with edible bronze metalic colouring.
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You can see the cards I’ve made using design sheets from CUP in my “Crafter Showcase Area” on Craftsuprint.com – here
(Just scroll down past the top boxes to see the cards.)
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