For some reason kid’s birthday parties, at least my kid’s birthday parties always come down to the cake. Sure there are the decorations and the quest for ‘goodie bags’ that are actually good and not filled with plastic junk destined to outlive the birthday child in some landfill, and of course activities, location (avoid Golden Gate Park reservations in the summer, especially when assured a free concert won’t affect your little party…) and guest list. But even though those things take time and preparation it always comes down to the cake. First the kid has to decide what they want for a cake- that sets the theme of the party. The range for us has been nature- frozen tree icecream cake and so many sharks that the cabinet is stockpiled with food coloring boxes all devoid of blue, to fantasy -pink unicorns, to movies-Hogwarts (3D.). But you can’t bake a cake- at least one that you want to be delicious- days in advance. It’s kind of a down to the wire exercise that always, and even though I am prone to exaggeration, it ALWAYS takes longer than you imagine. Even though initially the request can be simple: a Thomas the Train cake. It evolves. And as you prove your worthiness (through time and tears and possibly saying or shouting things that you don’t really mean at all to your mother or your spouse) the request get more fanciful. When your son requests a Thomas cake the following year you think you dodged a bullet- but then he surreptitiously adds A STAND UP THOMAS cake. And as the doorbell is ringing you find yourself trying to insert skewers and chop sticks to support the cake while your husband shakes his head in dismay pronouncing architecturally unstable. And just as you swear off making another cake EVER, your kid looks at you with eyes twice their normal size and says “WOW” and suddenly it’s all worth it. Even though you don’t even like cake. You only like frosting.