Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Party favors

Marley was very clear what she wanted for her fifth birthday party: a chocolate cake with pink frosting and sprinkles like the one at the beginning of kids’ cartoon Max and Ruby, cup cakes, a bouncy castle, face painting, a nail salon, a pinata, the girls to dress up as princesses, and positively, absolutely no boys.

Wise beyond her years, Marley asked me to make the cake. Julia (Marley’s mum) says in her defense: “I have other skills.” My responsibilities didn’t end there. I was also in charge of bellinis for the mums, pass-the-parcel, musical statues, bubbles and washing up.

I found a chocolate cake recipe on the side of a Trader Joe’s cocoa powder tin that claimed to be easiest and best. It should also have said biggest. It took me fifteen minutes to prepare and two hours to clean the kitchen. The walls and cupboards looked like a Jackson Pollack painting by the time I’d finished whisking. Add another two hours to clean the oven, because the cake mixture flowed over the tops of the tins.

I had forgotten how much mess icing sugar makes when whisking it with butter to make frosting, and how few drops of red food coloring are required to make it pink. I had a devil of a job spreading the frosting with a knife, so resorted to using my hands to slap it on. They’re still pink.

I arrived at party central to find Marley’s dad sawing up the tree he’d had to cut down to make room for the bouncy castle.

No dramas during the party. Apart from when the bouncy castle collapsed. Twice. The plug had come out of its socket, but everyone got out before any of them suffocated. There were a few suspicious glances when the kid who won pass-the-parcel was the daughter of the lady in charge of stopping the music.

In keeping with my determination to be more adventurous in part two of my life, I had my face painted and jumped up and down like a crazy fool on the bouncy castle. Here I am with Marley’s other aunt, Irena, who was in charge of face painting, the nail salon and cup cakes. Fab photos of the party are by Marley’s godmother, Susanna Bech Young. While godmother is quite an important role, it’s not blood. The cake, by the way, was blinking delicious.

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