A few weeks ago my husband and I came across an estate sale. Isn't it everyone's dream to find some amazing thing at a sale like this? You know the legends of people finding Rembrandt's and buying them for $1 and then selling them at an auction for millions. It's like a treasure hunt. At this particular estate sale, there was a whole shelf of old books, mostly cookbooks and craft books. On that shelf I found a treasure. This treasure is "Decorating Cakes for Children's Parties" by Polly Pinder. It has a copyright date of 1984. When I picked it up my husband asked "that's for your mom right?" since she does all the cakes for our kids' birthdays. I was like, sure, yeah, for mom. Then I opened it. Readers, I can not let this book go. It is too awesome in it's ridiculousness and I love it. Please note the title again before I reveal what was behind the old, tattered cover. Pay special attention to "for Children's Parties." These cakes are intended to be enjoyed by people under the age of 12. Which is why I was quite baffled to see this:
That's a soap dish. Soap. Really? That's the best you can come up with for a kid. What kid in the world would request a cake in the shape of a soap dish? Did they really like bathing that much? Polly's description of this cake says "[this] can be given to the young person who is constantly being told by members of the family not to spend all her/his life in the bathroom". Because that's what kids want on their special day - to be nagged some more by their parents.
But maybe your child is a sports buff. Your son requests a football cake and you go all out to create the coolest, most awesome football cake your son has ever seen!
OH NO! Johnny's been killed. Both teams are baffled. The cheerleaders are devastated. I think some people in the stands are crying. Was there no other pattern of players to put on this cake? Like a touchdown being scored or some other positive aspect of the game.
This book was created in England, so of course, there are children there who would request a cake with a Cricket scene. This child doesn't really like Cricket, just the idea of Cricket. He wanted a cake but not with people playing. He wanted people angry. Angry that they couldn't play because their game had been rained out. Again. I mean, what doesn't say "Happy Birthday" like a bunch of cranky Brits? And I really don't want to know how she got the liquid metallic puddles on the field. I hope she's not feeding her children mercury.
Some kids are more into literature than sports. So for them we have some classic Nursery Rhyme cakes. Remember the old lady who lived in a shoe? Well one day she finally figured out what to do - she went on a rampage and killed all her children!Well, maybe it's just a really stinky shoe. At any rate, we can definitely deduce that she cannot afford to clothe them. Poor stinky, naked children.
This cake is just, well, it's, um, I really have no words for it other than EW.
That's a very frighteningly realistic steak you got there. Is it just me or would biting into that thing feel like a psychological experiment, like that trick where you put an apple under someone's nose and then make them bite an onion and ask them what it tastes like.
At this point, I'm really beginning to worry about Ms. Polly Pinder. Her description on the book jacket says that she is a graphic artist and has designed bed linen and wallpaper. Why is this lady designing cakes for kids? She seems more interested in mind torture on their special day. Along with the dreaded soap cake above, she appears to enjoy mocking them. This final example of her work she describes as follows:
"This is specifically for the child who constantly frowns at the request to polish his shoes. A very young child might not understand (or might even be a little hurt) by the cake, but an older child of 12 or 13 with a sense of humor, will appreciate the message."
They're going to need a sense of humor and the thick skin of a rhino to be able to appreciate this monstrosity:
Shine your shoes you little brat! Happy Friggin' Birthday.
For more cake disasters, check out one of my favorite blogs Cake Wrecks.