Kids, birthdays, cake…a long standing tradition of yumminess that our family whole heartedly embraces every year.

It started out pretty simple — some cupcakes to mark T-man’s and Bear’s birthdays with candles lit for a wish.  And they were delicious


T-man’s birthday happened to fall close to our family’s annual vacation, so he usually celebrated his special day surrounded by grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

For a long time Bear celebrated her birthdays with a party at home, where I’d make sweet but basic cakes for her.  Delicious, yummy, made-to-be-devoured-by-a-bunch-of-kids cakes.



But then we ushered in the era of the Cake Boss.

You’ve seen this show, right?  It ran on TLC — I don’t really remember how I stumbled across it because I don’t watch a whole lot of TLC (all that Learning and such), but once I did I was hooked.  It was about an Italian-American bakery in New Jersey that was family owned and operated (which made for hysterical tv at times), and the shows focused on how they made these **incredibly** intricate cakes.  For real, you should catch some back episodes if you haven’t seen this.

At any rate, I’ve previously mentioned my sister’s incredible crafting abilities…well, her awesomeness extends way beyond scrapbooking.  She has mad skills in the kitchen (her cooking, y’all…oh my gawd), but she is our family’s Cake Boss when it comes to baking and birthdays.

When the kids got old enough she started this wonderful tradition where she asks for a cake request for their birthdays.  And no matter what crazy-ass idea they throw at her, she always delivers. ALWAYS.  It’s insane.  I have no idea how she creates these things, but I can tell you the kids feel immeasurable joy every year at the unveiling.  Here are just a few of her masterpieces.

T-man was into “work machines” the first year, and this is what appeared on the table:

The amazement. The joy. The sheer wonder at THE CAKE OF HIS DREAMS.
The amazement. The joy. The sheer wonder at THE CAKE OF HIS DREAMS.

Okay, I’d just like to point out that, with the exception of the cool Crayola candles, every single bit of this creation was edible.  Twinkies, Twix, crushed cookies, Twizzlers, god knows what else, and (of course) cake.  Those kids were in sugar heaven, and the rest of us were in awe.  It was the cake to end all cakes (or so I thought at the time).

Where could she possibly go from here, right?  HA!  It turned out our Cake Boss was only getting started.

The following year Turner was into pirates, and his birthday celebration brought a pirate ship so complex it could have been used as a miniature for a movie set.  T-man loved that cake.  It had way cool pirate sails and actual Lego pirates he could keep for play time.  It was, for all intents and purposes, complete awesomeness.

The pirate theme resurfaced a couple of years later and, not one to do reruns, the Cake Boss rose to the occasion:


Oh, and you notice that the treasure chest cake is filled with candy, right?  Rolos and Reeses Cups and candy necklaces and ring pops…SugarSugarSugar, YES.

This was the year that Bear got her own plate of princess gem cupcakes…because aunts don’t play favorites and apparently she needed her own helping of pink yumminess.

our princess with her pirate patch
our princess with her pirate patch

The next year we travelled with BrightSide’s parents for Bear’s birthday, but T-man requested a Star Wars theme.  Ummm…okay.  I would have been shooting for “How do I bake a light saber cake without making it look like a sword?” but not our Cake Boss.  She went full on battle scene with backdrop to boot.

The following year we gathered at my parents’ house for Mother’s Day and, since we were all together, we celebrated Bear’s birthday, too.  She was very into Monster High at the time — my sister’s girls were teenagers and she didn’t know Monster High from what-all, but after scoping out the local toy aisle and interviewing random shoppers she definitely rose to the challenge.  The look on Bear’s face was priceless when they walked this beauty into the room:

Just look at that grin…

T-man also threw the Cake Boss a curve ball that year when he requested a Bey Blade cake.  (My sister was all “what the heck is a bey blade??”)  Google was her friend, though, helping her transform this bizarre toy craze into an edible delight.

As an aside, even though this post is technically about my kids’ birthdays, I ABSOLUTELY have to talk about my niece’s cake that year.  She was a huge fan of the Hobbit, and watching my sister make her cake was nothing short of amazing.  The hobbit house, the roof, the walkway out front, even an arched doorway.  The details, right down to scorching the edges of a book quote, were perfect.

Last year my sister really went above and beyond when it came to creating a Frozen wonderland.  (I know, like she hasn’t already.)  This one had so much cake that we ended up bringing home the leftovers, putting out plates, forks, and drinks on the front porch, and sugaring up every neighbor kid we could find for the next two hours.  There were a lot of blue (and happy) faces that evening.

T-man’s love of basketball and LeBron drove his request last year, and our Cake Boss made his birthday special, too:


I scroll through these pictures and am amazed all over again.  When I think of the sheer volume of hours she’s spent over the years on the kids’ cakes alone…well, it’s a bit staggering.

There’s nothing quite like the love baked into an Aunt Bee cake.