The end result is priceless - a haphazardly decorated cake filled with love and affection. The photos of the cake are treasured memories, however they only tell part of the story. The rest of the story makes that cake so much more meaningful.
What you don’t see in the photo is the hours of negotiation and management, as my husband worked patiently with Eldest and Youngest to help them through the different steps of cake making and decorating.
I had strict instructions from Eldest to stay well clear of the kitchen “for no particular reason”. That is four hours of being upstairs in my room, reading or watching a movie on Netflix (a great excuse for a lie in on a Sunday morning). Everyone had to keep the secret, and stick to a cover story that has been made up to hide what is really going on. This year they were "making themselves an extra big breakfast". The elaborate lengths that Eldest went to in order to keep the secret was hilarious - especially when Youngest broke ranks and mentioned the word cake.
Talking with Dad, I found out that everyone had assigned cake-making roles, and the process for making the cake had to be precise and exact. Any deviations from Eldest's plan resulted in a “no, no, no” and rising anxiety levels. This included the flour in the cake needs to be sifted by everyone, twice. A very lengthy, and somewhat stressful experience for all involved. The mixing process was strictly controlled, and once ready the cakes need to be carefully monitored to make sure they are cool.
The decoration process was no different, and Eldest had some elaborate design plans. This year it was 54 hearts - with candles, a marshmallow crispie heart and a multitude of decorations.
Youngest had different ideas. which could have gone so wrong. Thankfully Dad knew just want to do - let them make two cakes ... yup a big cake from Eldest, and cup cakes from Youngest. Crises averted.
As I said the story behind the cake is so much more precious - a loving husband who knows just how to support his children to help them achieve something great, and has learnt to bake! The cake was delicious.