Sunday, March 9, 2008

Wanted: Room Mother - must bake

I think I have mentioned before that I don't bake. It is more or less a defense mechanism that I have self-imposed to keep me from eating every last bite of what I create. I lack self control when there is no one else around to judge pigginess. In college I started baking what I call "fake cakes". My mom gave me this cookbook for dorm dwellers (I wish I still had that taught me how to make fried rice using a hot plate). The "fake cake" was derived from some recipe I found it this pseudo cookbook. I don't remember the recipe exactly, but it had a yellow cake mix, a can of peaches and a stick of butter...I think? As a college student I tried to make this cake as cheaply as possible and resorted to Jiffy muffin mixes for $0.33. I convinced myself this "fake cake" was healthy because it had peaches in it and was a muffin not a cake.

Can you believe that still to this day I mix up "fake cakes" and try to feed them to my family? Now I kick them up a notch and add things that are healthy. I add pecans and flax meal for a crumble topping. I skip the butter completely and - get this - I still buy the Jiffy muffin mix. These cakes suck. They are hardly edible, especially without any butter. They are horrible. My husband, who already has an adversion to sweets, calls them "jacked-up cakes". And now the 6 year old is requesting I bake "jacked-up cake" because he doesn't know there is anything better out there (and he calls it by name - Jacked-up Cake). The 4 year old ain't fallin' for it. She has turned her nose up to the dessert (?) and would rather be sent to her bedroom for the evening than take a taste of Jacked-Up Cake. Note: Jacked-Up Cake is now a proper noun and thus capitalized.

I accidently jacked-up some cupcakes I was baking for the 6 year old's birthday snack at school. I was never asked to be the room mother for his kindergarten class and I guess I've held a little resentment. This was my time to shine, to deliver, to show those kindergartners just what I was made of. See what you missed out on? I am the mother of all room mothers! I can bake a bad-ass cup cake! Eat my dust!

Armed with one box of "Confetti Cake" mix and a stack of ice cream cones I set out to face the ones for which I so desperately longed for their approval. This is what I made.

Not being a natural baker I wasn't sure that this was the outcome for which I was looking. Do all ice cream cone cupcakes look like these? I guessed not.

Time was short. The baby was waking up from nap. I had only 4 more cones and no more cake mix. Soon the 6 year old would be home from school and he would be confronted by the ugly, fallen, raw-in-the-middle birthday cupcakes. And the truth would be out and everyone would know - I would have been a terrible room mother! Help, Calgon, take me away!

I swallowed hard. I reminded myself that these were just kids. What do they know about baking? What do they know about cupcakes? All they care about is the icing anyways. Wait a second. All they care about is the icing. Thank the Lord. Salvation at last! All they care about is the icing.

Quickly I iced the cupcakes with the store-bought tub of cream cheese icing. I pulled out all the sprinkles we had in the house, all the food coloring, all the left over Valentine's day candy, anything that would put a glimmer in a kindergartner's eye.

The bus was pulling up and I ran out to greet the boy. I revved him up by telling him he was going to decorate the cupcakes with all the fancy sprinkles and candy I've been hiding above the refrigerator. He couldn't wait to dig in. And he did a beautiful job hiding all my mistakes.

Now I remember what I had forgotten:I may not have been chosen to be the room's mom, but on that particular afternoon if my son was given the choice as to whom the perfect mother was, it was me! And that is way better than mothering a room!


Lesley said...

I love this story...possibly because I've been there before. I love the way you handled it!

Kellys said...

Cute, cute decorations on the cupcakes....Patrick saved the

Jess said...

I love this story! You rock!!