Maya turned two last week. Last year, on her first birthday, I made her some eggless banana muffins, which she didn't eat, quite understandably. Later, we celebrated at my brother's, since we have many birthdays in September in our family, and my nephew Lucas was born five years before Maya, on the same date (what are the odds?) She enjoyed my sister-in-law's pear charlotte more than my vanilla bean loaf. Mrmph.
This year, since she has taken a strong liking for her Hello Kitty T-shirts, I decided to bake her a HK cake. That seemed easier than baking a Teletubbies cake, although I'm pretty sure Laa-Laa outranks the Kitty in the favourites list.
My first idea was to search the internet for a HK cake tin/pan. Well, they don't exist, not really. Go figure. HK is a very widely marketed icon (a while ago they said the singer with Radiohead, Thom Yorke, was a fan), but there are no cake tins to be bought.
So one of my forum friends gave me a link to this website where home bakers have shared their tricks to make beautiful-looking cakes without too much gadgetry. I was a bit nervous, since I had invited some neighbours that have small children too. Invited them for the first time, I mean, and actually hardly knew them, since our conversations hardly extended beyond playground talk. I didn't want to be a nervous mess by the time they'd show up, nor did I wish to have to bake another cake at the last minute if I failed miserably. The Susan-invites-Bree-over syndrome, as it were. Except my neighbour isn't Bree (I wouldn't have invited her otherwise). She does have a tidy house though.
Anyway. It ended up being a doddle in comparison. Really fun to make and assemble, and delicious to eat if you'll forgive the smugness. For the cakes, I made a simple yogurt batter. I baked them in two shallow tins the day before, then spread one with some confiture de lait, the French answer to dulce de leche. I cut out Hello Kitty on paper, then cut the assembled cake accordingly. Then smeared it with some light butter frosting (out of Cooking from Mr Latte). Coloured some with food colouring drops (wearing gloves, these babies can stain) for the bow and nose. Then melted some chocolate and tried to make some whiskers and eyes on a sheet of parchment paper which I then refrigerated. It worked! Miracle! We all loved it! I could tell the neighbours were impressed. But Maya? She preferred the sprinkles on the mini chocolate cupcakes and the Schoko-bons her Oma had sent her. Hmrph.