My mom is a very good cake decorator (while cake decorating is just a hobby for her - she's a nurse by profession - she's placed cakes and gingerbread houses in Madison competitions), so starting with our very first gingerbread houses and her famous Halloween cupcakes she began teaching my sister and I how to turn decorator frosting into art.
Despite my mom's hard work showing me the ropes, I'm not very good at cake decorating. I don't have a very steady hand, and while I can follow a pattern (organized control-freak that I am), I'm not particularly creative or artistic. Additionally, I don't really enjoy the cake decorating process. I'm not very patient (cake decorating takes quite a while as there are usually a lot of steps), there are far too many opportunities for catastrophic error, and the clean-up is insane.
All that being said, I love the feeling of accomplishment that comes with a completely decorated cake (that other people can correctly identify/recognize), and I love creating things that members of my family will appreciate and enjoy.
So while I won't be entering any cake decorating Food Network Challenges any time soon, I will continue to create these mediocre but well-loved cakes and cupcakes for my kids (and maybe my husband, if we can discover a kind of cake he actually likes) until they ask me not to.
In honor of Halloween, here's a pic of my Halloween cupcakes (of which I made six dozen this year) and a trip down my kids' birthday cake memory lane.
Will's 1st Birthday (we hadn't discovered a dairy-free frosting that Will could eat yet, nor could Will eat any candy decorations, so the cake was just train shaped)
Will's 2nd Birthday (Will wanted a train cake again, so we went with the same cake shape and added candy for decoration)
Will's 3rd Birthday (by this point we'd finally figured out which frostings Will could eat and therefore could finally use it on his cakes)
Hallie's 1st Birthday (we chose a cupcake cake for her, but she was afraid of the cake and wouldn't pose with it - enter Will-the-photo-bomber)
Will's 4th Birthday (I nearly had a meltdown during the decorating of this cake, but my mom helped me through)
Hallie's 2nd Birthday (she LOVED this Minnie Mouse cake, which I was particularly proud of because I used a Mickey Mouse cake pan and turned the cake into Minnie on my own)
Will's 5th Birthday (my most recent - and well-received, likely due to the fact that Will's getting older - project)
I'm glad I have a few months until Hallie's 3rd birthday - after Batman and six dozen Halloween cupcakes my Carpel Tunnel Syndrome needs time to recover.