Friday, June 22, 2007


Observant readers will notice that this is not a purple duck. Thereby hangs a tale.

For about two decades, it has been my custom for family members to make a birthday cake in whatever form requested. D1 had initially requested a purple triangle, and then a purple duck. Perhaps she remembers the white duck I made her last year, or perhaps she was inspired by one of her bath toys.

Unless specifically requested otherwise, the cake recipe I make is a very simple but delicious chocolate one. It is easy enough for an eight-year-old making her first cake, and it is easy enough for a twenty-eight-year-old trying to keep count with two toddlers helping. Three cups of flour, two of sugar. Even D2 can count that far.

But something about purple (and it was going to be purple) frosting and chocolate cake sounded icky. So I was going to make a yellow cake instead. I was getting out all the ingredients for the yellow cake recipe when I remembered the other reason that chocolate cake recipe was so handy: it doesn't have milk or eggs, rendering it edible by two more members of DOB's family. I once tried making the cake with orange flavoring instead of chocolate, but it was not particularly good, and orange cake with purple frosting sounded weird, too.

This was a conundrum that would ordinarily have been resolved by calling Wondergirl, but she was not around to answer the phone. Good wives do not call their husbands at work to discuss cake flavors, but DOB is a rather tolerant fellow and in desperation I called him. He suggested carrot cake, and ready to grasp at any straw I hung up and begin pursuing the carrot cake direction (even though on second thought carrot cake with purple icing also sounds icky) when I realized that carrot cake has eggs in it, too.

So now I was stumped and had used up all my free calls. Meanwhile D1 was getting increasingly anxious to bake a cake. Finally I laid the whole situation before her. She did not have anything particularly relevant to say, although she did drop a hint that she might be interested in a yellow duck. At last it hit me: make the cake that tastes good and everyone can eat. Worry about the color tomorrow, when you frost it.

I went on to a search for the round cake pans. Unfortunately I could only find one of them. In digging deeper for the second one, I tossed out the pan for a bear cake. Suddenly D1 forgot all about the duck cake and was eager for a bear one. I was all for this, as it would require no ingenious cutting and getting crumbs all over the kitchen. And bears were likely to come in colors mentally compatible with chocolate.

We proceeded to grease and flour the bear and started mixing the batter and then a truly ingenious idea came into my head and I asked, "What if we made the bear with green overalls, like Corduroy?" Yes, yes, and yes. All thoughts of purple ducks or any other icky colors were forever driven from her mind. And so it is.


Birdy V said...

LOL! Too funny! And you know what, I think she really likes it. A lot. Call it a wild guess! :)

I'm running off to check my cook books for a minute...

Birdy V said...

I went off to check my mother's cook book, because we lived overseas she had a lot of recipes that called for very basic ingredients. I believe her Wacky cake is the same as your chocolate one. And the other one I thought would work for vanilla actually does call for 1 egg. While I could easily google recipes, I knew those two are sure winners. Sorry I couldn't help just in case you were to run into this situation again!