You know those friends on Facebook who post pictures of amazing birthday cakes/cupcakes they made for their toddler’s birthday? I admire them but never knew why they wanted to do such a thing. The little one will not actually remember the cake and it takes so much time. I’ve never made a cake even worthy of a picture. Of course, I am not a skilled artist and I don’t enjoy baking. That might explain my cynicism.
Bird turned ten yesterday. Double digits. It’s a big deal. Emotionally, nine was tougher for me. Nine is the half way point to legal adulthood. Hopefully the halfway point of Bird’s life at home with her parents. Nine might be the reason I started this blog. Nine caused a renewed effort to parent intentionally while I still have great influence. And then I wanted to share.
I digress, Bird turned ten yesterday. And everyone says, “OOHH. Double digits.” And Bird isn’t having a friend party. And there isn’t any extended family to celebrate with. And I felt a little sad not making a bigger deal about ten. This birthday is the first one where I’ve watched her carefully and wondered how she got so mature. She spent Friday evening and Saturday morning rushing to finish homework the long list of chores quickly so she could fully enjoy her celebration day on Sunday. She did her extra chores (a result of not being kind to her sister) without reminder and without complaining. All this amazing growth and memory reflection, it clouded my mind and I agreed to make soccer cupcakes for my soccer crazy girl. Enough for her whole class and soccer team. That’s 48 cupcakes.
There was no budget to purchase soccer cupcakes. And Bird thinks the plastic rings stores put in cupcakes are lame. So what’s a mom, who’s never made a fancy cupcake to do? Call friends. Thanks to my talented friends Stephanie and Amanda, I made 48 picture-worthy soccer cupcakes. Just don’t look too closely, they are far from perfect. I’ll spare you the details of all the trials and errors. Here’s how it ended up working.
I used boxed cupcake mix and baked 24 cupcakes because I can’t bake from scratch and decorate cupcakes too. The top layer of frosting was simply green frosting. The soccer team got fancy textured grass using a special tip. But I’d never used a piping bag before and my wrist hurt (can hear my whiny voice?). The school class of 30 got flat grass! One thing I learned is that gel food coloring base produces a brighter green the normal liquid drop food coloring I buy at the grocery store. You can buy these craft stores or bakeries.
The soccer ball was the tricky part. I used an Oreo cookie (well the generic version) so I didn’t have to make pretty circles. I probably could have used double-stuff Oreos and removed the top cookie layer and only drawn the hexagons and lines, but I didn’t think of that in time. So I spread white frosting over the cookies and then painted the hexagons and lines with black food coloring. The girls taste-tested and the food coloring did not affect flavor. To draw the lines and hexagons, I tried creating a template out of cardboard. Since the goal was just to get the cookie to look like a soccer ball, I discovered that perfect hexagons were not critical. In the end I am not sure the template helped much. My freehand paintings sometimes worked better than the template cookies.
My neighbor had a cool cupcake carrier so the cupcakes could be transported safely. And now my decade-old daughter thinks I rock because when her friends asked where she bought such awesome cupcakes, she said, “My mom made them!” Happy Birthday Bird!