The small one celebrated his seventh birthday last Saturday and amongst all his lovely presents was a most unfortunate gift – his little hand in a cast.
The hubby has commented many a time over the years about how I wrap the small one up in cotton wool and if I’m honest he has a point. I have played the over-protected mother from the very moment I sensed him growing inside me.
I didn’t plan it that way… it was a serious of events beyond my control that moulded me into this role and only time could and would allow me to let go, ever so very gently of these mothering strings.
Unfortunately, accidents happen and no amount of mothering or cotton wool can help us foresee what is coming at us. Like… three weeks ago standing on the sidelines of an under eight’s football match, the last thing I was expecting was to spend the rest of that night and the best part of the following morning in casualty – the small one lying across me and the hubby trying to sleep – whilst waiting to be told he had broke his thumb.
Cotton wool or not, I knew I had brought my son up well, when he put a smile on his face soon after his ordeal and adapted to his unplanned situation within hours. Unlike me, who could think only of my poor little baby and worry about the school tour that he’d been so looking forward to… or his sports day… but mostly of his birthday party in just three weeks time.
Of course, I didn’t need to. But I guess I secretly knew that… he’s a child, full of wonder, with no time to worry or think about what if’s? And so… he went on his school outing… joined in at the sports day… was back on the football pitch the following week. But most importantly… enjoyed eating his creepy-crawly birthday cake that he helped me make and decorate at his seventh birthday party last Saturday, surrounded by his little friends. Happy birthday Boo. Love you. X
Serves 12 • Baking time: Approx 20 minutes • Inspired by The Baking Book: The Ultimate Baker’s Companion
225g castor sugar
4 medium eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
225g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
For the buttercream icing
200g soft salted butter
400g icing sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 tablespoons double cream
Green food colouring
For the decor
Selection of creepy-crawly sweets
1. Preheat oven to 190c/gas 5/170c (fan). Grease two 7″ sandwich tins and line each base with baking paper.
2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Beat the eggs, vanilla extract and milk together and slowly add to the mixture, beating well after each addition.
4. Gently fold in the flour and the cocoa powder.
5. Divide the mixture between the two tins and spread out, leaving a dip in the centre of each. Bake for about 20 minutes or until coming away from the sides and springy to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin for five minutes, before turning out onto a wire rack.
To make the butter icing
Beat the butter for about 5 minutes. Sieve in the icing sugar – a little at a time – beating well after each addition. Add in the cream and vanilla extract and finally the food colouring (a little at a time) until you get your preferred shade.
When the cake is cool, sandwich together with some of the buttercream icing. Transfer the cake to a stand and ice the top and down the sides, smoothing it out with a palette knife. Decorate with edible creepy crawly sweets.