At first, time seems to inch forward, slowly, painfully, a snail’s pace. Every day is a series of seemingly endless and mundane and totally necessary tasks: feeding, napping, changing diapers, crying (you and the baby). Some days feel so long you could swear they last way more than 24 hours. In the early days of new-baby-town, when you finally manage to crawl out of your hole, I mean home, and see other babies in the world, they seem so much bigger than your new squirmy worm. They can do so many more things than your baby. It seems that it will take ages for your baby to be that many months old, to do those sorts of big baby things. Then, in a flash, you’re the one with the bigger baby. Then, another flash, and your baby is no longer a baby to anyone but you.
Bunky’s 5th birthday party was, in a word, awesome. Days before the party, while I was running around like a crazy person, a close friend reminded me what a kid’s birthday should be about. I’m paraphrasing here, but here are her words of wisdom: “Kids want to be celebrated, have a little recognition, but mostly they want to run around with their friends.”
So. True. And that’s what happened at B’s birthday. Four of her girl pals from school came to our favorite carousel, some in princess attire, and they ran, jumped, danced, hoola hooped, and rode the carousel more times than I can count. They also ate some fantastic (if I may be so bold) gluten, egg, and nut free cake. But more on that in a bit.
The weather was PERFECT. No easy feat for an end of April birthday. This by far was the warmest and bluest skied day we’ve ever had. And thank goodness, since the carousel does NOT run in the rain, eeks.
I knew from the moment Bunky had her first ride on the carousel that we were golden. The look on her face was ecstatic, so purely beautifully happy, that it took my breath away. This is the kid who cried and hid in my arms during her disastrous 2nd birthday party (our mistake, huge party for a shy kid). This is the kid who would not play at her preschool at age 3.5, who sat on a chair and cried with her doll after we dropped her off (heart-freaking-breaking). That same girl has been playing all year long. She has played and danced her way from four to five. I can’t explain how grateful I am that her birthday was so sweetly perfect for her.
Though a bumpy start for Little Guy, he perked up with bubbles, a chocolate chocolate cupcake (which he inhaled) and quality time with my dad, also known as Greedles.
Now for the cake. I may have mentioned I was stressing out a wee bit over the cake. Well, all for naught because it rocked! Who needs eggs, seriously?! Or gluten, or nuts?! Not us!
After the party I said to my husband, “oh no, I was so busy taking pictures of the kids I didn’t take any pictures of the food,” and he was like, um, duh, that’s a good thing. Which of course it was. But that didn’t stop me from a photo shoot the next day with this little beauty.
As for all my recipe experimenting, let me just give some unsolicited advice for anyone new to egg free baking: when in doubt, use a recipe specifically written for egg free baking. I got lots of great advice from people about replacing eggs – use applesauce and baking powder, sub in a can of pumpkin, etc. But in the end I decided on buying this Ener-G egg replacer. It worked great in the Cybele Pascal’s eggless (and allergy free) recipe for Chocolate Layer Cake. Which is what you see in the above picture.
Since baking is a science, you can’t always just wing it and sub in some egg replacer for two eggs, which is what I tried with a usually successful Annalisse Roberts chocolate cake recipe. The poor cupcakes puffed up like crazy in the oven and then collapsed and become almost hollow inside. Don’t get me wrong, anything with Betty Crocker chocolate frosting (gluten, egg, and nut free!) on top tastes good – but I wanted something better for my girl’s birthday. Here’s a side by side pic of the two cupcakes. The successful Cybele version on the left, the hollow puffer on the right.
Another great part about Cybele’s recipe is that since it’s for a layer cake, it made enough batter for 12 cupcakes and a single layer of chocolate cake. Nice.
Bunky picked out red sugar roses and we topped the kids’ cupcakes with them and offered the puffier cupcakes to adults. Everyone was welcome to enjoy cake. Let’s just say the minimal leftovers didn’t last long at home, thus the lone rose photo shoot.
I have to say, unlike the heavy build up to Bunky’s 4th birthday – which made sense since it was our first anniversary of B’s celiac diagnosis – this year felt lighter. My biggest concern was nailing an egg free cake. Kind of cool, since that means, in many ways, being gluten free is simply part of our lives.
Now that the party’s over, the fact that I have a five year old is starting to sink in… Crazy!
Last but not least, I want to thank all of you for supporting my birthday crisis and really, just for reading my blog. It’s pretty awesome to realize that people I’ve never met, but feel like I *know,* are rooting for my cake baking attempts and hoping for the best for my girl.