If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: ALWAYS BUY THE CAKE.
I had every intention of taking my own advice this weekend for my lovely girl's ninth birthday extravaganza. With the breakneck pace of our lives these days, it was a smart idea. But when my girl and I went to the bakery to order a cake a few nights ago, the options being offered were not to our liking. I told her I'd order one during the week, with a birthday party, a visitor, and Father's Day on the weekend calendar; I suspected that I'd be at the grocery store even more than my usual 3 or 4 times this week. And I did hit every joint in town at some point, but the cakes never quite presented themselves in a way that made the cost seem worthwhile.
Flash forward to Friday night. THIS is why store bought cakes are worth the money:
I assessed this situation with Erin, my dreamgirl niece who came to visit this weekend. She had, incidentally, supervised the baking and decorating of 24 cupcakes for my girl's class the night before without incident. She helpfully recounted a story about a time when one of the Huxtable kids tried to cover up the evidence of having dug into Claire's cake too soon by stuffing the cavern with paper towels and then covering it up with frosting. I was not sold on the paper towel idea, but I did like the bones of the plan, and I had just the things to fill our caverns: frosting and oreos.
The rest is, as they say, history.
Happy Birthday to my baby girl! And goodbye, lovely Erin. We miss you already!