No it wasn't me who said that. It was my daughter Helen just a week or so ago. We were discussing the amazing fact that Florence will soon be three and talking about birthday cakes and we started to reminisce about the cakes I used to bake for both her and Kathryn when they were small.
I have managed to track down photos of some of these cakes and scanned them but pretty poor quality I am afraid.
I used to do a house cake, standing on a square cake tray, covered in coconut which I had coloured green to represent a lawn. Cover the cake tray with melted jam and scatter coconut over so that it sticks. The house was a square sponge cut in half and assembled together to form the body of the house, roof ditto. Roof then covered in melted jam and covered with rows of chocolate buttons to form the tiles, the door was Matchmaker sticks or similar, the windows were piped on and I would stick cake decorations in the shape of flowers around the door to make it look like a country cottage. It was always popular.
Hedgehog cake - a breeze. Chocolate sponge cooked in pudding basin, cut in half an stuck together. Entire thing covered in chocolate butter cream icing, chocolate buttons again broken in half and used as spikes for body; cherry and currants for eyes and nose.
I remember one year Helen, who was learning the violin, asked for a violin cake. Panic and then I sat down and thought about it. Two seven inch sponges cut and shaped with the narrow bit in the middle and glued together with icing. Entire shape covered in chocolate fondant icing. Licquorice strings for the violin strings etc. Took me ages to put together and I was really quite proud of it. In comes my musician husband "looks more like a viola to me". I resisted the urge to smash said cake over his head, smiled and said sweetly that I did not think the average 8 year old would be able to tell the difference. He took one look at my smile, which must have been pretty fixed and ghastly as I was talking through gritted teeth and left the kitchen very quickly. As you all know, he is my ex husband now.....
Then there was the Winnie the Pooh cake, sitting upright - he looked a bit thin if I remember rightly and though Helen was pleased (she was the Winnie fan) I was slightly disappointed in the end result. I also produced Care Bear Cakes, a train, a butterfly, a clock (dead easy this one) and then my Piece de Resistance. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs cake from the Jane Asher cookbook. Snow White was conspicious by her absence if I recall but the seven dwarves were there alright (is it dwarfs or dwarves??)
Bed was square sponge; headboard ditto and then covered with fondant icing. The seven bodies of the dwarves in bed were seven fudge fingers; heads made out of marzipan and painted; hats on head fashioned out of fondant icing again (had to colour it but now you can get all sorts of shades); beards were glace icing piped on. At the foot of the bed were seven pairs of slippers, fondant icing again, and a sack of treasure they had mined today. This was a small mars bar wrapped round with chocolate fondant icing and the top studded with coloured edible dragees to look like jewels. Axe propped up was, if I remember rightly, another of those sweets called Matchmakers which were popular back then. When I produced this cake at the party there were cheers and applause - and that was from the mothers.
I think it is likely that Florence will want a more contemporary cake with characters she knows and loves so am already thinking of how I fashion an Iggle Piggle cake, complete with red blanket. I am going to have a go and see what I can come up with.
It was lovely talking to Helen about all these things she remembers from her childhood and realised that those kind of memories are always there and irreplaceable. She remembers this cake with particular fondness and said solemnly "Mum, truly, this was your finest hour"...
Lump in throat.