A cake that has frosting smeared all over it, making it look horrible.

The Time I Made My Hubby a Cake that Looked Like Crap

I’m not proud of it. Well, okay maybe a little. I did save money and I certainly didn’t waste any food. But still, the birthday cake I presented my husband, Jason, looked like total and utter crap. And there was absolutely no way around it. (Just see the picture!)

The whole thing started out innocently enough. I’d planned our older son’s birthday party and sent out all the invitations. But without any RSVPs, I had no idea how many kids may or may not come. So, I planned accordingly and order a big ol’ half-sheet cake from Costco. I figured better to have too much cake than not enough, right?

But when the day came, only one little girl showed up. I thought Nate, our son, would be crushed. After all, it was his very first birthday party. But turns out he and the little girl had a great time going on the scavenger hunt I’d painstakingly put together in the backyard—all the while knowing they’d get to keep all the hidden treasures for themselves!

But you can imagine my thoughts when I began putting the tiny birthday candles on the massive cake. Sure, Costco cake is good—but it’s important to show some restraint!

I offered up second slices. But even still, over three-quarters of the cake remained. Then, it hit me: Jason’s birthday was only a week away—and I had plenty of room in the freezer.

I thought the plan I’d cooked up was pretty darn slick! So, I carefully cut and wrapped the remaining part of the cake in aluminum foil. Then, tucked it safely away on the top shelf of the freezer where it would be safe from crushing.

Fast forward exactly seven days, and I began unwrapping the frozen treat. At first, things went pretty well. I was able to take the piped frosting border and smear it down the sides, successfully covering the areas that had been previously sliced. In fact, I was even able to piece together a pretty good-sized and fairly normal looking square-shaped cake. But sadly, that’s when things started to take a turn for the worse.

I began to contemplate how I might move a bit of frosting here and spread it over there to at least try to make it look a bit better. Well, okay, I didn’t want it to look like what it was: a secondhand cake. But the more I worked it, the worse it became, and it wasn’t long before all the bright colors muddled and mixed together to form an ugly brown. (Again, just see the picture.)

To make matters worse, our family—including Jason’s parents—were all sitting just a room away waiting for the big birthday cake reveal. I had no choice. No matter what I did, I couldn’t make that crappy looking cake magically look any better. And so, I stuck the candles into the mushy brown frosting and marched right on into the room—ready to laugh at the situation—and at the cake—along with everyone else.

Truth be told, we all had a great laugh and the cake tasted every bit as good as it had the week prior—when it looked infinitely more attractive. But you know what? We will never forget that cake. That cake is forever etched in all our memories because it was different—ugly, granted—but different. It wasn’t average. And this is how we can choose to look at hard, stressful times, too.

Stress sucks. No one likes to deal with crappy situations. But it’s often these times—challenges and struggles—that bring us the most opportunity to grow and change. I think the key is to not let the crap change your core. Deal with it, yes. Make tough decisions, absolutely. But strive to not let it eat away at you while you do these things.

The next time stress threatens to take you down, remember this crappy looking cake. You really can be in the thick of a stressy, messy situation and still be yummy and good on the inside, too.

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