E, my second-born girl, turned 6 on Saturday, as I wrote here. She's having a party at a local playcentre this coming Saturday with her sisters and 20 of her friends (yes, yes, it's a big party, but it's her first year of school, so I want her to enjoy it).
She is, naturally, very excited about the whole birthday business, but possibly the single greatest impetus to her excitement was the promise made by our friend K, she of the drool-worthy food blog Inspired by Wolfe, that she would come and help decorate a birthday cake for E. K is no stranger to either cake decorating in general (check out her mahvellous efforts here) or indeed to cake decorating in our house in particular, as she was our partner in crime in the marathon that was the creation of 118 inscribed cupcakes for my eldest girl's Periodic Table of Elements cake last year.
So, yesterday after school, the kids were thrilled to see K arrive with her toolbox of cake decorating gear to help us decorate the two love-heart shaped butter cakes E and I had baked for the purpose.
My, but the girls had a wonderful time. They chattered away excitedly as K and I took it in turns to mix up a large quantity of buttercream icing, and watched as K carefully coated the two cakes with it.
Next, they donned plastic gloves to help K knead the colour gels through the fondant icing. They both thought this was excellent fun, as did the toddler, who hung around their legs in the hopeful (and satisfied) expectation of grabbing a few bits of dropped icing to eat.
E had decided on a pink base for the cake, decorated with pretty things, so K had obliged by bringing sweet little butterfly and love heart cutters. The girls worked hard to create their decorative objects for the cake top.
K had also pre-made several beautiful yellow roses to go on the cake. When my elder girl saw them, she was fascinated and wanted to have a go herself, so K very patiently and kindly instructed her in the art of rose-making. The pink roses on the cake were made by A, my almost 8-year-old, with K's help.
The girls often bake with me, but in baking as in cooking, I am generally a Taste Not Appearance person; I lack the knack (and patience!) to make food beautiful as well as nutritious and delicious. I think I often lack the confidence, too, thinking that I could not possibly produce something elegant or pretty or "proper" looking.
Seeing E and A's enjoyment of the decorating process, though, and realising that with pre-bought fondant icing, it's not terrifically complicated, inspires me to think that the girls and I might give cake decorating a whirl again soon, maybe as a winter holidays activity. After all, it looks pretty awesome (if I do say so!) and much of it was put together by my girls under K's expert tutelage. I reckon it could be great fun to do in a wet, wintry day. This post is part of the weekly We Play meme at the wonderful Childhood 101. Check out the main page over there for lots of fantastic play ideas.