Killing Herman

Killing Herman

It has to end. I just can’t care for him any longer. When he first came to us, I was vigilant about feeding him, looking after him, helping him reach his potential. But it’s been a month now and I just don’t think I can do it any more.

I could blame it on my busy life. Already caring for five males (one husband, three sons and a ginger cat), it would be reasonable to say I don’t have room in my life for another.

I could blame the injury. A fall at work last week left me on crutches for a day and my scraped right hand is still giving me gyp. It doesn’t need another task to undertake each day.

But if I were to be truly honest, I would have to admit that it’s most probably because I am bored. He’s had a pretty good life with us, three times longer than we were expected to keep him, but he’s starting to outstay his welcome.

I almost killed him over the weekend. He should have been fed on Friday. I remembered on Monday. He’s hanging in there but it doesn’t seem right to subject him to such neglect.

So it’s time to lay Herman to rest.

Herman

Herman – Surviving rather than thriving

Herman is a chain-letter cake. Okay, so technically he’s Herman the German Friendship Cake but when it comes right down to it, he’s really just an edible version of those annoying chain letters that do the rounds. I’m not much of a fan of chain-anythings but in this case, at least we got cake. Multiple cakes, in fact.

The theory, having been given Herman by a ‘friend’ (see aforementioned opinion of chain letters and suchlike), is to look after and grow Herman until he is able to give of himself and to then pass him on to three friends while keeping one portion for yourself to bake into a cake. I thought it was clever to give away two portions, make a cake with one and then keep the last one to start all over again. Herman has been prolific in his sharing. I thought we’d be together longer. Others have lived for 25 years. It’s a romantic idea but impractical in a barely-managing household of teenagers and working parents.

I’m sorry, Herman.

At least you can cater for your own wake.

Herman Cake

Still giving.

 

 

 

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Exterminate! The Dalek Cake

 

Birthday Dalek

When my boys were young, I loved to throw them a birthday party at home. We would pick a theme and everything would be based around that – invitations, games, activities, food, prizes, lolly bags – the works. Cowboys, wizards, astronauts, the alphabet, Cat in the Hat – we had a lot of fun. In an era of contracted-out birthday parties at play centres and fast food joints, ours were something of a novelty.

My favourite, though, would be the year my eldest had a Knights of the Realm party. I spent months saving up the cardboard discs a local pizza restaurant used for their takeaway pizza (we also ate a lot of pizza in those months). I spray-painted them silver, attached a vinyl strap and stuck paper to the front so the kids could create their own crested shields. Dressed up and with their trusty steeds (made from shoeboxes and the inner cardboard tubes of rolls of fabric), we held a jousting competition in the front yard. The cake, of course, was a castle. The lolly bags were the pièce de résistance. I made leather pouches.

I can get carried away.

The parties were only every second year and they stopped once they hit twelve years of age, giving way to easier movie/bowling/sleepover versions. But I do still love to have a crack at a good cake.

The Eldest Son turned 18 on Friday. I am now officially a parent of an adult. Don’t give me the argument about it being 21. Here, everything hits at 18. They can drive, drink, vote, gamble, get married. You hope not all on their birthday.

A significant birthday demanded a significant cake. The theme for the party was Pop Culture and as Eldest Son was going dressed in his customary 10th Doctor costume, a Doctor Who themed cake seemed mandatory.

Enter the Dalek cake.

It took me two days to make it. One to bake the cakes (five of them) and one for construction and decoration. Being a Jack of All Trades, I was, of course, making it up as I went along with nothing but an image in my head and a half-baked (ha!) idea of how it would work.

I’ll confess I was really happy with the result. As was Eldest Son which made me even happier.

Take these and my favourite mudcake recipe and build a Dalek. No worries.

Take these and my favourite mudcake recipe and build a Dalek. No worries.

Okay. So somehow I have to turn all this into a Dalek.

Okay. So somehow I have to turn all this into a Dalek.

Stacked, glued and trimmed. (I love using mudcake - it cuts beautifully with a bread knife.)

Stacked, glued and trimmed. (I love using mudcake – it cuts beautifully with a bread knife.)

I could have saved myself a lot of work and just stopped there and called it a Cousin It cake.

I could have saved myself a lot of work and just stopped there and called it a Cousin It cake.

The finished product. This cake could actually kill you. It has 1.2kg butter, 1.2kg sugar, 1.2kg chocolate and 18 eggs in it. And that's not counting the icing and decorations.

The finished product. This cake could actually kill you. It has 1.2kg butter, 1.2kg sugar, 1.2kg chocolate and 18 eggs in it. And that’s not counting the icing and decorations.

I think I'm proudest of my inspired Wagon Wheel eye and half a Kinder Surprise chocolate egg suction cup!

I think I’m proudest of my inspired Wagon Wheel eye and half a Kinder Surprise chocolate egg suction cup!

Sparklers!

Sparklers!

The birthday boy with his cake, just to give you some perspective. We'll be eating cake for the next month.

The birthday boy with his cake, just to give you some perspective on the size of the thing. We’ll be eating cake for the next month.

 

 

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