I was so surprised (not!) when my beloved son told me he wanted to have a soccer party followed by a BBQ at home to celebrate his birthday. I love the fact that he requested a BBQ so that the families of his friends could come too – so that his party would be fun for everybody. And the fact that he shares a birthday with his wonderful soccer coach sealed the deal.
Of course this means having enormous amounts of food! – but everyone is generous and helps out on that front, leaving me to do the odd dip, a couple of salads, a mountain of kebabs, and of course CAKE.
The rest of the plan sounds easy – take the boys to a park and let them run themselves into the ground before you bring them home for a feed and more playing. Of course the reality is, there is no such thing as running a bunch of 10 year old-ish boys into the ground. Five minutes of chill out time and they are full of beans again.
Anyway, I was immersed in kitchen activity when the boys made their noisy appearance at the house. Suddenly a couple of mums screamed “out out OUT!!!”. I looked up to see that the boys had had a water fight to cool down after the game, and so they arrived at the house sweaty, stinky, ravenous AND covered in mud! Yay – go the dads who were so thoughtfully supervising park activity!
I needn’t have fretted too much about the mud for there was worse to come. In an uncharacteristically public place, our infamously socially inept cat (her actual name is Honey but there are SO many other names…) did the unthinkable under the porch table – with at least 10 people sitting around it. And of course, a good friend, wearing some stunning (and no doubt expensive) suede boots, stepped in it. I do believe this was my ultimate definition of mortification. Words cannot express the agony of the moment as I strut outside with a huge tray of dips and crackers and cheese, and the reality of the commotion sets in. The cat was lucky she didn’t become the next soccer ball – although of course she commited the deed and made a very speedy exit…
It is a true testament of our friendships that we could move on with the day.
Of course the boys played on in the backyard in happy oblivion.
Eventually, after large quantities of food were consumed, the garden was slightly trashed (the backyard had a bit of a Lord of the Flies vibe going on there for a while), and some sporadic quiet was acheived due to a live soccer match on TV featuring the Sydney Football Club, it was time for the cake.
In keeping with the party’s theme we had two cakes – in the shape of soccer jerseys and decorated in the colours of the birthday boys’ favourite teams. I took the easy route and used shaped cake tin, rather than cutting them to shape. The cake recipe that I use is my standard for all cakes I make in moulds. It takes the mould well, and is solid enough to withstand a bit of prodding in the icing process, and it has a lovely buttery vanilla flavour.
- 375 g butter, softened
- 1 1/2 c caster sugar
- 3/4 c milk
- 4 lg eggs
- 1 1/2 t vanilla extract
- 3 c sifted self-raising flour
Preheat oven to 180C. Grease cake mould. This recipe will make the equivalent of two 18cm round springform pans.
Beat butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Beat in eggs 1 at a time until well combined. Add vanilla and milk and beat in. Fold in sifted flour and spoon batter into tin. Spread with a spatula to make sure batter reaches all crevices. Cook for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Once cooled to room temperature, place cake in fridge or freezer to firm up before icing.