I’m sure that every parent can relate to this familiar conundrum: Your child’s birthday is fast approaching and it is your duty to supply the best cake they have ever forked into their mouth, but there isn’t a single thing that they want. Chocolate doesn’t suit them and vanilla is too plain; Fruit flavors appalling and nuts unappealing; This picky kid claims to love sweets, but it seems that not a baked good on this planet could appease their taste buds. Yes, I know this problem all too well myself, even though I’m the furthest thing from a parent you could find. The picky kid with a palate to match was my Dad, and he was giving me a hard time as his _0th birthday was quickly descending upon us. Considerate as he is, I knew that he wouldn’t refuse whatever I chose to bake for him, but that didn’t mean I would give up the ghost and give him a plain old cake that he would rather slide into the trash than on his plate.
Certainly my father could appreciate sweets; A self-proclaimed sugar addict, he has been observed pouring no less than 6 packets of the white crystals into a single bottle of iced tea. Candy of all types easily find a place in his heart, and also his office, home, and sometimes even his laptop bag. Clearly, with such a passion for saccharine delights, there was something that I could bake to bring a smile to his face. Digging through my old recipe file as the days slipped away, I struck gold. Crazy as it may sound, it was then that I realized that a cake doesn’t always need to be made of cake.
No, your eyes are not deceiving you- Those are indeed two layers of rice crispy treats being frosted into the guise of a standard cake. There is nothing fancy or sophisticated about this creation, no exotic flavors or ingredients, just sweet crunchy cereal stuck together with more sugar and topped off with a thick coat of vanilla “buttercream.” Easily made before hand, the layers were a simple batch of the traditional treat, (albeit without marshmallows to make it vegan, but you could use your own recipe) pressed into two 8-inch round pans just like regular cake batter. You don’t even need to heat up your oven for this one, a serious plus for all of those summer birthdays coming up!
Never one for subtlety, carefully piped shells or roses would do little to impress my dad, so away went the piping bags and tips to make room for the rainbow sprinkles and cookies instead! By placing halved cookies around the bottom edge, I was also able to cover up some of the uneven frosting where the “cake” met the plate as well. Press in handfuls of sprinkles along the sides and voila, no more lumpy frosting there, either! Now, you could always tone down the colors and opt for a coating of nuts or coconut instead, but what kid doesn’t love foods in unnatural hues?
Don’t ever let the request for a birthday cake limit you- There is still a million options out there, outside of the standard chocolate or vanilla that so many bakers become mired in. Try something different for your child [or father’s] next birthday, and you will probably both be happier with the outcome.