It’s that time of year again. My son’s birthday party is this weekend and once more, I’ll be making his birthday cake. No big deal, you say, a lot of moms do that. And you would be right, except I suffer from delusions of grandeur. I think I’m a pastry chef and I’m not; I just spend too much time watching the Food Network.

I’ve designed a large train cake. The blueprints, including notes, fill two pages, and I’ve only allowed myself a day and a half to complete it. I’m either a show off or a sucker for punishment – most likely a bit of both. And I know at some point, while making this cake, I’ll have a breakdown. It happened last year. I’d just discovered fondant and had only used it once before. It was 11:00 at night and my fondant kept cracking on me. I was tired, stressed, and worked up because I didn’t think the cake was going to work.

Imagine my husband’s surprise when I suddenly sunk to the floor and burst into tears, babbling uncontrollably about cake. I did eventually pull myself together, made a fresh batch of fondant and got the cake made. I crawled into bed sometime around 1:00am the day of the party and I’m expecting it’ll go about the same way this year.

I’m also a bit of a perfectionist (my husband would say more than a bit) and I’m never happy with how the cakes turn out. Everyone else goes on about how nice they look but all I can see are the faults. For Jeffrey’s first birthday I made a bathtub cake complete with rubber duckies. This was before I discovered fondant, so the only thing I saw was how bad the icing looked or how bad I thought it looked. Last year I made him Olie (from Rolie Polie Olie, his favorite show at the time) and the only thing I could see was how the tint in the fondant was uneven in a couple of spots. I’m too hard on myself.

So, we’ll see how things go this year. Will I be happy with the way the cake turns out? Will I have another breakdown? Will I have to come up with a plan B at the last possible minute? I’ll be sure to let you all know how it goes next week.