Have you heard about the new cake phenomenon called “cake pops“, created by Bakerella.com? I was intrigued by these round, candy-coated cake balls, and thought how hard can they really be to make. I googled how to make cake pops and watched the video by Bakerella, and then went shopping at my local Walmart. The cake pops did not look difficult to make, and I was sure I could even make Dora The Explorer cake pops for my daughter Keira’s third birthday.
I bought a cake pop pan and baked some cake in them three days before the party, but they did not turn out and looked more like half-misshapen eggs wearing space helmets from another planet. The cake tasted great, but that would not do for my little princess’s birthday. Everything had to be perfect because you only turn three once and being a super mom I would have it all done, however, when making cake pops this is what not to do!
I had not been able to make a cake the day before my daughter’s birthday because I needed a nap due to lack of sleep from my three month old baby girl Ayla. I made the Elena’s Cake Recipe the morning of her birthday, and it was outstanding. I have not baked much with almond flour, and I was impressed with the flavor and moistness of the cake. I knew making the cake pops would be done easily once I got all my kids down for a nap, and I could also wrap presents and decorate.
Nap time came and I put my two older children in their beds. They were excited about the party and cake pops, and did not want to settle down. My baby girl was tired and grumpy from teething, and she did not want to sleep without me holding her. Making cake pops and holding a baby was not possible, so I put her in my Moby Wrap to be hands free. Finally, after several minutes of bouncing my body up and down like a Jack in the Box, Ayla quit struggling and fell fast asleep on my chest. I cut the cake in sections like Bakerella did on her video, and with both hands I took the pieces of cake and crumbled them to a fine mess in a glass bowl. I took a can of Duncan Hines Premium Chocolate Frosting, and scooped it out with my fingers and mixed it together like a child making a mud pie in a sandbox. It was messy, but so far so good.
Above me I could hear loud thumps of little feet out of their beds and giggles on the baby monitor. With chocolate covered hands I walked up stairs. “Keira and Tristan, you need to stay in your beds and go to sleep or there will be no party!” I calmly said. Back in the kitchen, I laid out cookie sheets with sheets of wax paper, and begun the cake ball rolling process. Rolling cake pops was not that hard, but the thumps and screams from my two monkeys jumping on their beds caused me great distress and lack of focus. How was I going to get these cake pops done if my kids did not settle down? I did not have a single gift wrapped or a balloon hung, even her birthday dinner I had planned was not even cooked.
Stressed and tired, I hurriedly opened up the first bag of pink candy melts, half reading the instructions. I melted them in my microwave and went to the freezer to grab the now hardened cake pops. Ayla started to stir, but was not totally awake as I dipped my first cake pop in the pink runny melt mixture gently tapping it on the bowl to let the excess candy coating slowly drip off like honey from a spoon. The candy coating dried faster than I anticipated as I quickly sprinkled pink, purple and yellow sprinkles on the outside. Only three pops finished and Ayla was totally awake and crying for my boob. Tristan and Keira were still awake, and now were yelling loudly at each other and fighting like two cats in heat. Desperate to get the cake pops done I let my kids get up and turned on NickJr on the television, and watched it with them while I nursed Ayla. My hope was this would keep them occupied while I finished the last minute party details. Cookie sheets of now softening cake balls beckoned my name, but there was not enough of me to go around. I was irritated, stressed out, and angry with myself for not having this done the day before.
The pink candy had hardened, and so I microwaved it again, but it was not as runny as I thought it should be. I nuked it again, but to my dismay it thickened even more. I added a tablespoon of water, but that made it into a crumbly, sticky, ooy gooy mess. I reread the directions to see it said DO NOT ADD water or overheat. Well, only four pops into the process, and I destroyed my bag of pink candy melts. I poured red and brown candy melts into other bowls, and made another five or six melts before all my children were whining or needing something from me.
It was nearing 4:30 with only a small percentage of the pops done, no decorations were up yet, and dinner was still on paper. Grumpy, frustrated and stinky from not having showered for a couple of days, I sat almost in tears of defeat at my dinning room table while I nursed Ayla again. The phone rang, and it was my husband. I vented over the phone about my day, and he suggested we go out to eat, and to have the kids ready in twenty minutes. I agreed, and threw a dress on Keira who fought me tooth and nail screaming “I no pretty, I no pretty, wear boy clothes!” I threw my hair back in a pony tail put on a nice shirt as I looked in the mirror at my dark circles and pale complexion. This was not how my day was supposed to end, depressed, stinky and exhausted, but I had a little girl whose life needed to be celebrated, perfect party or not.
We did end up eating out and had a lovely time as a family. When we got home Michael ran downstairs to wrap all her presents, and we let her pick her favorite cake pop adding three star candles. There were no Dora pops or decorations even used, but my sweet Keira was happy. She blew out her candles, opened her gifts, and at the end of the day ran up and hugged me saying “I love you mommy!”
I need to remember my children do not need perfection. They want their mommy to spend time with them. She happily bit into a Dora less pop and loved her party despite it not being what I had envisioned.
Do you ever have the best-laid plans not work out? As a parent how do you deal with days like this when you bite off more than you can chew? Why do we as moms or even some dads set ourselves up for failure? Is it from societal pressures to give your child the best, competition, or simply personalities traits? Whatever it is, I need to learn to be okay with failure. It does not make me a bad person or a horrible mother because Dora was not present!
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