Happy Birthday to Me


March 23rd was my birthday. As an adult and a parent, it’s not like I expect a lot of streamers, balloons, presents, or even free time to use the bathroom uninterrupted. I’m just mentioning it to explain why there is a picture of dessert at the top of this post.

Birthdays=cake. Right?


My side job involves monkey-typewriter skills to produce content for those annoying webpages you go to when you search for party ideas and find you’ve landed on a collection of pictures stolen from actual artistes but leechingly getting the ad revenue for them. I’d say it pays the bills, but it’s more like funding peanut butter on a tortilla for all three meals at college.

What? Oh, yes: CAKE.

I found this Chocolate Easter Egg Nest Cake while researching ideas for Easter Desserts for Some Purpose That Will Rank High in Search Engines. It looked fancy. It looked tasty. Above all, the directions looked doable.

Maybe I just wanted to make that edible nest thing.

Point is, I bought (most of) the ingredients. I harvested that instant coffee. I mixed the flour and cocoa and yoghurt into chocolate cake. And, who helped me? Not those lazy children. Not that husband-who-works-a-steady-job-so-I-can-afford-something-called-“yoghurt”-as-opposed-to-“yogurt.”

Actually, my oldest son did help me. We (mostly) followed the recipe, substituting for the fact that NO STORES around our little suburb had Woolworth’s Gold Greek Yoghurt nor Woolworths Gold Hand Finished Chocolate and Hazelnut Meringue.

I’m no professional baker, but I’ve made my share of cakes. From scratch. And, not just “scratching” open a cake mix box. Although we followed the directions, the cake turned out like a round brick. The Sahara Desert has a moister surface than it did.


Still, I whipped my own meringue, filled the darn thing, drizzled hodgepodge ganache over the top, and perched that cute, actually-inedible nest up top. Jellybean birds flew through the window and laid their little clutch inside it and the birthday cake was ready to serve.

I suppose I hoped the filling and topping might soften up the cake slabs. I optimistically hoped the cheap brand of instant coffee we found at Whale-Mart would not make it taste like overpowered, cheap instant coffee. I also get a bit pigheaded when I start a project (I like to call it “tenacity”).

I even forged ahead when we had to pickax a few holes in the top in order to place some candles.

But the chocolate rock stayed solid, its meringue/cream/sugar innards gooshed out when we attempted excavation, and the darling chocolate and vermicelli nest chewed and digested much like actual twigs.

We all tried some. You know, after singing about birthdays and happiness.

“I like the jellybeans,” my second-oldest said. “Can I have more?”

“Cake?” I asked.

“Jellybeans,” he and two brothers answered.

“Sure,” I sighed.

Determinedly, I sliced myself another piece. I dolloped the escaped filling atop the bits of pumice I removed. “Welp,” I told my husband, swallowing broken brick and teeth, “Maybe next time I’ll not bake it as long.”

The sweet man adopted his encouraging face. “I’m proud of you for trying it.”

“Can we have more jellybeans?” Asked the dog, the cat, and the rat.


13 thoughts on “Happy Birthday to Me

  1. As you say, there’s no birthday without cake, and as grown-ups, we have too bake them ourselves. I have had my share of failures as well, but it never looked so good as your “brick”. And the edible bird nest is really something special.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A beautiful failure! Looks can be deceiving, right? I’ve never had success with any recipe that looks too good to be true. My hunch is that the original was probably a bit of a flop too, but who is gunna know as long as it looks really cute! Happy belated birthday!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love your witty writing! Those busy days of motherhood can be daunting and moms often get neglected. Not on purpose, it just happens.So, I love your adventurous attempt at making your own birthday cake. What I learned when my kids were little was that when my birthday month rolled around, for weeks before the big day, I’d put pictures on the fridge of things I’d like to do, presents I wanted, or restaurants I’d like to go to. Example: I remember there was this outfit I desperately wanted and I put a picture of it on the fridge with a note saying, “Mom would look fabulous in this for her birthday.” I love cheesecake and I put pictures ever day of different yummy cheesecakes with notes “ this cake would be awesome for mom’s birthday.”. Anyhow, I learned that my husband and sons were clueless about how important a Little Birthday gift or cake could be. So I gave them ideas and basically taught them what I wanted. Then my boys learned to have a shopping day for mom. It became a thing. They got creative over the years so I didn’t need to put up pictures after while. Down the road the husband died, sons grew up, but they learned how to remember mom. My oldest learned how to spoil his wife on her birthday. My youngest is inventive with gifts to girlfriends. A good lesson to treat those they love special.
    Moms work hard. They need to feel special at least one day a year! Next year let your hubby and the boys bake a cake or better yet, surprise you with one they picked out. Happy Birthday! You deserve a Birthday where you can relax a little.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Lesley! It was important to me to have a cake that tasted good. If it’s definitely going to fail, though, why not let them have a chance?
      Your ideas have made me think I ought to just have them take me out to dinner next year.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy Belated Birthday, Chelsea. Oh my, the cake LOOKS great. And your dear sweet husbands giving you the thumbs up for the old college try. Ha ha. I cracked up at your description – “pickax a few holes in the top in order to place some candles.” I’ve made cakes like that. The jelly beans are a good back up plan.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy Belated Birthday for the 23rd ❤ First up, the cake looks fucking GREAT, so I'm highly impressed anyway. Secondly, thank you for being open and honest about how it actually tasted haha. You could have posted the pic, raved about how cute your son was helping you, and how lovely the evening with your family was. Even though it may have been all those things, you also shone a realness onto it that is reminiscent of all my birthdays as a mum. Side note: I agree with Lesley, I ask my husband where he's taking me for dinner on my birthday at least a week in advance 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh no! Sorry about the disappointing birthday cake! Maybe you should have settled for the “free time to use the bathroom uninterrupted” instead? But at least there were jellybeans to be had! Hope your day was pleasant other than the cake fail.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 😀 I’ll save the bathroom for next year, maybe.
      I would have liked it the best if the cake turned out tasting fantastic, but enjoyed the process of attempting something new.


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