The story of a lava cake.

The Xman turned five.

Well, okay – not technically. Technically the Xman doesn’t turn five until tomorrow. But the Xman was having trouble understanding all of this since his party was Saturday and so: the Xman turned five. And when I asked the Xman what kind of cake he wanted, he had one word for me: lava.

I had molten lava cakes dancing through my head. Then they turned into exploding lava cakes. Cakes with raspberry jam or melted chocolate. Cakes with rivers of red lava pouring out the top, and teeny tiny dinosaurs running away at the bottom. I had big plans, big plans I say! (I’m in, says the Mynah bird!)

There was only one problem: I am not the mom here.

Yes, my mom made all of our birthday cakes. She made all of our cakes and none of us are on crack and so I kill myself making perfect birthday cakes for all of my kiddos so that they will not end up on crack. (Shoosh – the causation is clearly proven.) But the thing is, I’m Xander’s (pseudo-) Stepmom. Not his real mom. And as I do in most tough situations involving stepparenting, I asked, What would Angelia have done? And that is when I sighed a big sigh because she clearly would have let me bake the girls birthday cake. So with a heavy heart and cake plans popping in their thought balloons, I told Jeff to tell X’s mom that she could do the cake.

Which is why I really didn’t mind when a week out from the party, she panicked and asked if we could do the cake. Of course we could!

I didn’t even consult Pinterest – there wasn’t time for doubting myself. I planned out what I would need: seven cake mixes, eight tubs of frosting, and lots of luck. I was so worries, I waited until Friday night. Heh.

I started off with a sheet cake. Three cake mixes and 45 minutes later:



A base! This would be my green pasture and also hold up our volcano, which I made out of a 9″ round cake. For the top of the volcano, I used a bundt cake. How smart am I?!



See? Does that look nice? I only turned my thumb and two fingers green. Oh, and my teeth from when I licked my fingers. That gel dye is potent. I was a little nervous about crumbs, and also that the volcano would separate. So I used some lollipop sticks I had lying around and used those to attach the volcano layers to the base. Wicked smart – that volcano never slid an inch.

That mission completed, I moved on to frostening the volcano. At first, I was thinking of adding another layer around the bottom to try to add some slope. But I got a little lazy and decided everything looked just fine. So I started frostening the volcano with chocolate frosting. I had three shades of brown, but decided against mottling it.


It’s maybe not the best volcano, but it’s good enough for a five-year-old, right? Bee thought it was amazing, but I couldn’t tell if she was saying so because she thought it was expected, or because she really thought so. (The kid is really perceptive about what she’s supposed to say.)

Now it was time for lava. I grabbed the red food dye, added three times as much as I thought I needed and went to town. And, um, uh…I got nowhere. Actually, what I got was pink. Pink frosting everywhere. Everything was pink! I added more red dye. Pinker pink! I remembered what I had forgotten: The Great Elmo Disaster of 2005. I cracked and made an Elmo cake for Gracie’s 2nd birthday (because it was the only TV the kid would sit still for – I get a pass on the cake choice). I remembered having the same frosting emergency then and having to use the pre-made red frosting in a tube. I had exactly one tube of ready-made-red. And Jeff had just gotten back from the store because we didn’t have any gift wrap. Oh, and here’s where I tell you that Jeff had thrown out his back the night before. So I couldn’t ask the poor guy to turn back around and go get me a bunch of red frosting. Although he did offer, because he is the best. Instead, I adjusted my volcano expectations from a volcano with a river of lava and strewn dinosaur bones to a few pools. And it was fine:


Or, I should say it was fine until I looked at the picture and saw that the lava looked more like blood and dubbed the volcano The Overlook. All I could picture was the little dinosaurs running around crying, “Redrum! Redrum!”

But all was well. We added the dinosaurs when we got to the museum and everything was perfect. Perfectly perfect!

And that is all that matters. Happy birthday, Xman!


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One Response to “The story of a lava cake.”

  1. Kathy Says:

    Happy, happy Birthday X-man. Your pseudo step-mom is one amazing woman who makes fabulous cakes. I hope you had a wonderful party and than your birthday is out of this world fun.

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