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Monday, January 12, 2009

Zurg Returns

Jasper turned five this weekend! My little baby. Does anyone else feel as if they have known their children forever--and yet it's all whizzed past in seconds?

I love planning Jasper's birthday parties but it's getting more and more difficult to fit all of his friends (and their parents, as is the custom here) in our tiny apartment. Somehow I managed to talk Jasper into postponing his party until the spring, when we could hold the party outdoors. But I wasn't off the hook for a birthday cake. Or another pile of presents. Can I please stop buying toys now?

All last week I kept asking Jasper what kind of cake he wanted, each time hoping for a different answer. Each time he gave the same answer: a Zurg cake. He doesn't remember our trip to Venice and Basel two years ago but he does remember the Zurg cake I made him just after the trip.

Anyway, in the intervening years Jasper has decided he does not like chocolate. Instead, he suggested a lemon cake and I was happy to comply. I used this very easy and delicious recipe from MSLO (my favorite source for cake recipes) and then I spent about two hours painstakingly making buttercream frosting from The Joy of Cooking.

This was pure insanity, as Jasper would have been perfectly satisfied with regular butter-and-powdered-sugar frosting. But buttercream frosting is divine, so glossy and luscious. So I made the sugar syrup and slowly whisked it into the eggs and then cooked it over a pan of hot water, and then beat in the butter a tablespoon at a time.

When it came time to actually decorate the cake I did not have enough food coloring to do a deep purple so the evil robot came out pink. Worse, I made a fatal error when drawing on his eyes/beak. Jasper complained that Zurg was THE WRONG COLOR and I growled at him for being so ungrateful, even though I was clearly slaving over the buttercream purely for my own benefit. Oh Jasper, I'm sorry your mommy isn't a nicer person.

In the end I scattered poppyseeds--sort of a pointilist way of coloring Zurg purple. (And hey, lemon poppyseed cake, yeah?) Good enough. We had a friend over and everyone liked the cake.

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