Six years ago last week, my sweet third daughter turned one. Back then, I was still anal about birthday parties. Especially the first one.
Read with a Madonna-like fake British accent: We simply must have a party!...it shall be perfect!...people care that my daughter is a year older!...
But six years ago, we were all fighting persistent respiratory infections. In an odd moment of clarity, we cancelled the party, stayed in, and I made a cake from the ingredients in my cupboard. I must have been heavily medicated (I wasn't) because I thought I could defy gravity by stacking a layer of cake on top of pudding. And to make sure it would fail, I also frosted it with pudding.
Before I could even shove a candle in it, the top layer split down the middle and settled into what appeared to be two perfectly-shaped butt cheeks. We laughed and laughed, and coughed, uncontrollably.
I scoured my old hard drives but was sadly unable to locate a picture of this cake (...and I distinctly recall my husband keen to document it for future blackmail opportunities).
Fast forward to 2012. My pudding skills haven't improved much. I thought it would be great to make pudding parfaits in mason jars. For a Thursday night party. So I got up at 3:30 am to make 24 parfaits before I went to work.
How could something, so near and dear to my heart fail so miserably?
I believe it was the aerosol whipped cream. When I got home that evening, my parfaits were reduced to alternating layers of pudding and deflated-watery-formerly-whipped-topping. Oh, and the marshmallows! I should have put those on right before eating.
I ended up grabbing some store-bought cupcakes on the way to the party. My oldest daughter, who served as my party planner, told me I should have just brought the pudding. They're kids and they wouldn't have noticed. She was probably right.
For a homemade pudding recipe, check out this epicurious link. If you plan to make parfaits ahead of time, may I suggest adding the whipped cream and goodies right before eating. And if it's kids, just let them top their own.
For the ability to accept your weaknesses and just plan from the beginning to purchase cupcakes on the way to the party, I cannot help you.
On the plus side, we ate pudding all weekend!