Today Ellen suggested that we make a cake for Granny’s Birthday. I am not fooled. I know that Ellen’s ultimate goal is to lick the icing bowl clean after the cake is made, but I play along. After all, how nice for her to want to make a cake for her Granny’s Birthday and a good opportunity to practise her new egg cracking skills.
We have a discussion about what sort of cake we should make; we think Granny would like a lemon cake and so we buy some lemons while we are at the community shop in the morning. We then have a discussion about which heffalump and woozle will be best at making cakes and Ellen decides it is Road Sweeper Heffalump – as long as he’s washed his hands of course. So I paint her face the appropriate pink.
‘One day’ Ellen begins, as we spoon the cake mixture into the tins, ‘Ellen wanted to mix a cake, but Mum said she was too big to help’
‘Oh dear, poor Ellen’ I reply. She giggles and continues.
‘Ellen went for a walk until she found Dad. Dad, Ellen says, can I mix a cake with you? Of course says Dad and they lived happily ever after’ she giggles again. I’m not quite sure why I am the villain of the piece, but perhaps Ellen has anticipated the next problem. We have run out of icing sugar for the all important icing.
‘I’ll tell you a story about the icing sugar’ Ellen begins.
‘One day, Mum was making a cake but there was no icing sugar. Oh dear, said Mum I need to go to the shop and buy some icing sugar.’ Ellen pauses and looks at me expectantly.
‘You want me to go and buy some icing sugar?’ I ask, Ellen nods, I sigh. The nearest shop is a 10 minute drive away but I can’t leave the cake half made and anyway I always find it hard to say no to Ellen.
So I drive to buy the icing sugar and when I get back we assemble the cake, with minimal finger licking but quite a lot of manual cleaning of the icing bowl and whisks.
‘Can I have a slice of cake please?’ Ellen asks when we have finished cleaning up.
‘I thought this cake was for Granny?’ I reply.
Ellen barely pauses ‘take Granny a slice’ she replies, already getting a knife out of the drawer and getting herself a plate out of the cupboard.
A new story is already circulating in my head as I cut guiltily into the sponge…Oh well, it’s actually not Granny’s birthday for a couple of weeks and anyway, she’s not supposed to eat too much sugar and she certainly wouldn’t want a whole cake, I tell myself. After all it’s the thought that counts, isn’t it?