Let Them Eat Cake: A Tale of Birthday Shenanigans

25 Sep

Yesterday was my wonderful friend Susannah’s birthday. Yay! Birth! Joy! Cake!

Birthdays are always a great time. Yes, for the birthday person. But also for the people in that person’s life who like to pretend to be Martha Stewart a couple of days out of the year. Who doesn’t love Martha?

Actually, I can think of at least one person who doesn’t love Martha… but that’s in the past.

Bottom line is NO ONE hates learning how to glaze a Bundt cake, or how to fold a napkin into a swan figure.

(I had no idea I felt so strongly about Martha Stewart until I started writing this post.)

Anywho, I LOVE birthdays. When it comes to celebrating them, I like to go big or go home, Martha Stewart style. We’re talking singing cards full of confetti, overpriced balloons that get in people’s faces, public serenades, yadda yadda yadda. And yesterday was no exception.

My friend Emalie and I decided to make Susannah a birthday cake. Hold on, I know what you’re thinking: “How many posts are you going to write about cooking and your failure to cook? WE KNOW. YOU SUCK.”

Well, friends, prepare to be amazed because the actual making of the cake went FLAWLESSLY. It was chocolatey and yummy and fun to make (probably because I had Emalie to supervise me and to do the majority of the pouring and frosting; but we don’t need to dwell on the details):


Look at that! HA!

And, if you don’t believe that it was so delicious that I ate approximately three pieces (give or take… but mostly give) please notice the tent-like “pregnant lady” top I’m sporting today, and then try to tell me otherwise…

My initial plan was to gather a bunch of people, bring the cake to Susannah’s doorstep, call her and tell her to come outside, quickly light the candles while she was coming down, and then sing “Happy Birthday” to her in perfect harmony… all the while attracting a crowd and documenting the entire scene with pictures and videos.

Is it really SO much to want perfect harmony and candle lighting to exist in the same, flawlessly executed span of five minutes? IS IT???

Probably. But I’m a dreamer.

So, I gathered my friends, and we gingerly carried the cake toward Susannah’s brownstone.

Everything was going according to plan. I’d remembered to bring utensils and plates. I had candles. I had matches (leftover from “electric stove incident” circa early September; you know the one). I’d even thought to charge my phone so it had enough battery with which to document the experience!

For good measure, my friends and I decided to practice singing “Happy Birthday” a couple of times before making our grand entrance. We sang it once, and a couple of frat boys hanging out on a stoop cheered.

We were on cloud nine.

So, we sang it again.

That is the LAST time I allow myself to be distracted by a frat boy’s applause! (I know, I know, I say that every weekend.) Overwhelmed by our newfound celebrity, my friends and I didn’t notice the petite brunette who was lurking in the shadows.

“Hey guys,” Susannah said.

APPARENTLY, Susannah had decided she wanted GATORADE and had left the confines of her brownstone to find some… and THAT’S why she was lurking in the shadows instead of sitting inside, LIKE SHE WAS SUPPOSED TO.

We started screaming and running away. Because that’s how you make a ruined surprise less ruined – by making it even MORE apparent that your surprise has been ruined…

“Go away! Leave! DON’T LOOK AT US,” I yelled at Susannah. The entire scene was like the one in Air Bud, where Josh is screaming at Bud to leave and never come back, when really he’s all sad and torn apart inside… gets me every time. I’m sure the frat boys were equally emotional about our Air Bud reenactment.

After Susannah retreated, we hurriedly rushed to light the candles.

“Wait, guys, shouldn’t we wait to light these until we’re actually outside of her building?” asked Laura. Oh Laura. So practical and scientific.

She had a point. So, we marched to Susannah’s building and sent Tiffany inside to make small talk with the birthday girl. BECAUSE THAT’S HOW YOU MAKE A RUINED SURPRISE LESS RUINED – by talking to the birthday girl and trying to convince her that no, that was not a cake in Sophie’s hands, and what do you mean people don’t just harmonize birthday songs on the street at 10pm on a Tuesday night?

The candle lighting was terrifying. Mostly because my face was closest to the candles, seeing how I’d eagerly volunteered to hold the cake.

Oh yeah, and also because THE CANDLES WERE TRICK CANDLES.

Apparently, only evil trick candles of doom go on sale for $1 per pack at Shaw’s. It would be helpful if I knew how to read labels. Then this might have been avoided:


And also, this:


As Laura and Emalie diligently worked to light every candle, I screamed like a kid being chased by a clown at a carnival. I think my screams (and not the “wind” that I kept pretending to notice) were to blame for extinguishing some of the candles. But we’ll just keep that between us…

When the cake was finally lit, we called Susannah outside and sang to her. And you know what, we harmonized! And you know what else? Because we were blocking the door to her building, some random guy was forced to stand outside and listen to us, and he is quoted as calling the experience “amazing” and “super cool.” He constitutes as “attracting a crowd,” I guess.

When all was said and done, we had a cake, we had a song, we had pictures and video (courtesy of Angie! Thanks Ange!), and we had an audience. So, I’d say it was a pretty successful birthday adventure.

Oh, and the cake really was delicious:


Because remembering to bring forks doesn’t mean you have to remember to use them.

Aah, birthdays.

3 Responses to “Let Them Eat Cake: A Tale of Birthday Shenanigans”

  1. alyssamichellefrench October 2, 2013 at 8:44 pm #

    Hahaha that is fantastic! Congrats on throwing an awesome birthday “surprise”! I’m impressed with the harmonizing in Happy Birthday, that goes above and beyond the call of duty. Also I checked out your blog right after I published my Up To Speed post, and I think it’s really funny that we’re both referencing Marie Antoinette in our titles within a week of each other. Although mine involves significantly less cake):

    • sophpearl October 2, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

      Wow, that is so funny! I guess we have royalty on the brain? In my case, I think I just had cake on the brain… And hey, you mentioned ganache! Minds that want cake think alike 🙂


  1. Good Measure, Pressed Down, Shaken Together and Running Over… | My Blog, aka, Sorry My Mind Must Have Wandered - September 28, 2013

    […] Let Them Eat Cake: A Tale of Birthday Shenanigans (sophpearl.wordpress.com) […]

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