Who wants to eat some cake?

If you’ve ever watched Cake Boss – even one single episode – you know that this is the line that Buddy utters each and every time he delivers a cake, before brandishing the cutting knife and disassembling the latest awe-inspiring 23-layer creation.

We watch a lot of Cake Boss at our house (along with Next Food Network Star and Chopped and Restaurant Impossible and Mystery Diners and, yeah, so we like food, what can I say). There are only so many times I can sit through part of My Little Pony without wanting to claw my eyes out; the girls and I do So You Think You Can Dance, but we’ve yet to convince Nick to join us; and we’d probably be arrested if we held family-wide showings of Homeland. And so, aside from the occasional game show (a la Minute to Win It), there really are very few shows that all of us enjoy equally.

I know – Cake Boss is hardly the pinnacle of wholesome family entertainment. There’s at least one “ass” in every show, there’s a heckuva lot of yelling, someone is usually throwing a temper tantrum, and while I’m all for pulling pranks, I’d prefer that they not include buckets of flour dumped off of our roof. Plus also… the grammar. OH DEAR GOD, THE TERRIBLE GRAMMAR.

But what Cake Boss lacks in terms of properly conjugated verbs and accurate pronoun usage, it makes up for in happiness. The Valastro family genuinely loves to make cakes – and to make others happy making them. Their work ethic is deeply admirable, and the creativity shown in each episode is off the charts. They problem solve, take responsibility for their mistakes, demonstrate the value of giving back to others, and put let everyone know the importance of family. So, yes, we’re fans.

Plus also? Um, CAKE.

We got into Cake Boss several years ago, just as it was taking off, and managed to visit the original store in Hoboken the very day that Buddy and crew were flying to Chicago to be on Oprah, thereby launching them into megastardom.

See? Hardly even a line out the door.

Eying the many treats (Annie is even wearing her official Carlo’s apron – ordered straight from the store before they had a website).

We got to chat with Mauro when we placed our order. He asked the girls if they liked the Sesame Street episode. They were so starstruck, I believe they just mutely nodded their assent.

Seeing Carlo’s and religiously watching Cake Boss episodes not only inspired the girls and me to want to eat cake, but to learn to make it, Buddy-style (albeit on a considerably smaller scale). We (okay, I ) practiced with various recipes, finding the yummiest ones that were also durable and carve-able. Fillings and frostings were tested. A homemade fondant recipe was perfected as I pored over baking sites and subscribed to decorating blogs. For years, my Christmas and birthday wish lists have consisted of cake pans of all shapes and sizes, specialty food dyes, luster dust, fondant tools, scads of adorable aprons, and even a steamer and an airbrusher. Hey, I may be a (very) amateur cake maker, but I have got the goods, man.

Two summers ago, as their interest in the show reached a fever pitch, the girls had a Cake Boss-themed birthday party.

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Drop lines can kiss my patootie.

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We now watch the show much less obsessively, making fancy cakes only a few times each year, but we’ve still got all of the stuff, so when the cake-making mood strikes, we’re ready. At the beginning of August, Ella decided that she wanted to make a cake all on her own – and drew up the plans to prove it.

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This hung on the refrigerator for at least four weeks, taunting us with the reminder that we’d yet to follow through.

I was supportive of the idea, but August threw us a big ol’ curveball, and the cake just never got made. Much to my surprise, Ella took this in stride, mercilessly not declaring me the Worst Mom Ever for preventing her from letting her inner Cake Boss shine… but when she asked last week if she could instead make a “Back to School” cake, I decided that it would be a perfect way to give her some quality attention (something that’s a bit lacking these days as I’m still in a this-can’t-be-real fog) and maybe make her really happy.

Plus also? Um, CAKE.

Annie decided that she wanted part of the action, and they eagerly partook in the Recipe Reading and the Ingredient Mixing and the Cake Baking. And then, when it dawned on them that the frosting and fondant weren’t magically falling from the sky, they decided they’d had enough cake baking, thank you very much, and left the cakes on the counter for three days.

Ah, short attention spans. How I love thee.

At last, yesterday afternoon, after maybe hearing that if they didn’t finish up their cakes, they wouldn’t be able to make any others for a really long time and what about the starving children of the world? they agreed to frost and decorate their cakes.

By themselves.

With no help from me.

Which is always a great idea.

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Ella chose to cover her cake (which is a single round topped with four cupcakes) with fondant, then add school-themed decorations. Yellow = pencil. Of course.

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Annie rolled out the fondant and then decided that it was too much work to cover the whole cake, so she used cookie cutters and just slapped little fondant shapes right onto the cake. The orange-y little squiggle? Also a pencil. Of course.

At long last, the cakes were finished, and each girl asked to photograph her masterpiece.

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Ella opted for my big camera and took twelve rapid-fire photos of her cake.

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Luster dust FTW! My favorite part is the sheet of notebook paper on the top, complete with holes on the left side.

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The baker in her element.

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Annie opted to use my iPhone to capture her masterpiece.

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So, there’s a lot of luster dust here… and a dolphin on the top (impaled by the candles)… and the orange pencils… and “lots of polka dots because they’re fun.”
My favorite part? Hard to narrow it down.

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Apparently, we’re also serving Annie’s head alongside her cake, but whatever.

So… We’ve still got a ways go to in the cake decorating department, but hey, at least they’re super-excited for the start of school. Maybe they’ll learn some baking skills along with woodworking. I’m all for bringing back Home Ec and Shop, people.

After dinner, the girls eagerly dug into their creations, and declared them delicious.

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Annie? Why do you have candles in your cake?
“Because it’s a CAKE.” Duh.

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And Ella? The candle?
“It’s a crayon, so it goes with my theme.” Obviously.

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I have to admit… Luster dust aside, they actually tasted pretty darn good.

What? Of course I tried them.
One, I’m supportive of all of my children’s endeavors, naturally.

And also? Um, CAKE.