Having taken on the recent intiative of remaining one of the significant minority that has never watched Game of Thrones, and hosting no intention to ever watch it – in fact, I have made it my mission in life to never watch it (although, I do oft shy from the term “never”, as, inevitably, when I “never” the thing I’m “never” going to do, happens … so let’s just say it’s a goal, not a “never”), I was rendered literally speechles why my then fifteen-year-old answered my “What sort of cake do you want for your birthday?” with “An iron throne.”
Firstly I was speechless, because I was trying to determine if he was being facetious or not. He often is, and over the last few years has developed that level of sarcasm where even he no longer knows if he’s being sarcastic or not.
Secondly, once I’d established that he wasn’t being facetious, sarcastic or otherwise, and established what an iron throne actually was, then googled it and thought “oh, fuck, how do I do that” … and no one was around to listen, so, you know … if a mum says “oh, fuck” and no one is around to hear it, did she actually say it?
Anyhoo, I have never, yet, not taken up this level of challenge, and wasn’t going to this time. Even though … even though … in all my years of birthday cake making for my children, which is usally two cakes per year, each, if not three, I have never resorted to the use of fondant/royal icing/that roll out icing stuff (which is what I like to call it).
I did let him know that he had forced me to do a thing I had never done before, and had no intention ever of doing, and I hope he is happy about it?!
Essentially, the process started a week prior to the cake actually being required. It commenced with my googling the fuck out of it, Pintersting, You Tubing, and still not having any idea what to do.
Driving him to work the next night, we had a chat.
“I watched a tutorial today,” I said to him. “To make an iron throne cake thing. It took the lady who did it, who does stuff with cakes and knows what she’s doing, three days to make it.”
He turns his head to me and states, quite calmly and logically, “Well, you have a week. I don’t understand what the problem is.”
I watched the same tutorial, I conjured up a concept in my head, talked it over with my beloved, who has a clue about such things, and left him with a shopping list as I had a revoltingly busy week and no time to get the things I needed.
The list was this:
Rolly out icing stuff
Silver and gold icing paint stuff
I didn’t mean for him to purchase the candles; it was there as a reminder for me. But he did get everything else on the list, bar the gold paint colour stuff, becuase they were our. I’m impressed he knew what I was talking about.
It took me a few more days to create the courage to even attempt, and I did make five cakes in the process. All of which were intended to form part of the rest of the cake and my brilliant ideas!
Watching the tutorial again, I noticed something … whilst there was the claim of “three hours”, it transpired it was actually “three hours” of hands on over three days! There was drying time and shit and I wondered what was wrong with a bit of icing and screw you and your stupid cake ideas.
So, I started making the sword things, with the aid of the thirteen-year-old, only to have input from the fifteen-year-old along the lines of “The iron throne is made from a thousand swords, melted by the breath of a dragon.” He was quickly evicted from the kitchen.
Fatigue, stress, and work/project pressures made me just stop and think about things a bit. So it sat for a day or two. I endeavoured to spend the Friday afternoon and evening, the night before the sixteenth birthday party, completing the majority of the construction.
I got a bit done, then got distracted by the offer of a night out with some friends. Part of me was saying “Noooooo!” because, well cake and stress, but another part of me said “screw that – cake and stress, I need a night out!” So I went.
Then spent the Saturday morning tired, stressed, and creating a whole heap of cake-type accessories, like jelly and a dark grey white chocolate ganache and pink whipped cream, and finishing off the damned throne.
I realised some of the issues I had in sticking bits together, aside from the fact I lacked the skills and experience with the use of fondant/royal icing/rolly out icing stuff, was that my finger nails were not perfectly manicured with a fresh, French polish, but recently cut but not filed into shape, and hosting a fair portion of the bottle of black food colouring.
Eventually, the throne bit was completed, and I set about constructing the rest of the cake. This required three tiers, the middle one with a hole in it, which I filled with a raspberry jelly – the heart of the cake, designed to ooze red when it was cut into.
Much, I might add, how I was feeling about anyone who pissed me off at that point in time.
Cake creation was interspersed around the usual Saturday activities; guitar practice, basketball games, dropping a child off somewhere, picking a child up from somewhere else, guitar performances and … nope, I think that’s it. Possibly.
Guests arrived, mess was made, the Happy Birthday song was sung, and the cake was sliced and diced and, sadly, did not give me the satisifaction of oozing the level of ooze that I so greatly desired.
I returned to the kitchen, leaving the teenagers to their teenager-y party stuff and contemplated the idea of making his cake for the Family Party to occur the following day.
Then I realised I couldn’t be bothered, and didn’t.
I stayed up to farewell some of those that were being picked up at several hours past my bedtime, and until I could hold my eyes open no longer.
So, after yet another late night, the driving of various children (many not my own) to various places, and shaking my head at, well lots of things really, I summoned up the effort to find the recipe for the cake I was going to make for the Final Birthday Celebrations for the year.
Unfortunately, I grabbed the wrong recipe book. One I had clearly purchased because it had some deliciousness in it, but that I had never made a thing from.
I blame the fatigue and stress of the last week or so with what happened next. Instead of replacing the book in my hands, and locating the one I needed, I lay on the couch and flicked through it.
“Hey,” says Brian, my Brain. “This looks like a great recipe. Let’s do that!”
“Awesome idea,” says my brain – obviously Brian The Brain having a conversation with itself. “Let’s do that.”
Which is why I spent my morning, wandering around aimlessly, holding bowls and jugs of various concoctions I had created, and wondering where I was going to store them to set, given the fridge was bursting full …
Because it’s always a great idea to try a recipe you’ve never made before when you are tired and stressed and tired.