The Birthday Cake Conundrum

By Patti Parish-Kaminski, Publisher

Blender battles – the struggle was real.

Well, I did it.  I threw all caution to the wind and embarked on an activity that is definitely not in my wheelhouse.  But in my defense, it was Mr. Kaminski’s birthday, and I was trying to be sweet about it.  Sweet – another thing not exactly in my wheelhouse.

I don’t necessarily cook, and I certainly don’t bake.  But for this momentous occasion, I decided I could – and likely should – bake Mr. Kaminski his favorite cake for his birthday.  Now typically I would outsource said task, but he wanted to go to Colorado for his birthday, so we went.  Unfortunately, my resource net isn’t cast as wide in Colorado as it is in Texas, hence the decision to forge ahead solo.

On the special day, I got up at 7:15 – in the morning.  That was my first error in judgement.  I’m not a morning person and it was 34 degrees, so I was cranky and cold.  My thought was, “Doesn’t everybody want cake for breakfast on their birthday?”  That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.  I commenced with the cake conundrum by securing all ingredients.  And let me just say up front this baking at high altitudes situation is a real thing.

I found the beater thingamajig.  It’s a small hand-held.  The only saving grace is that it’s red.  At home I have the humungous Kitchen Aid beater thingamajig that weighs 4,700 pounds and sits obtrusively on my countertop.  I cannot recall using it, but I have it.  Mr. Kaminski bought it for me – really? – years ago.  My enthusiasm waned until I learned how much the beastly beater cost.  I could have had a really nice pair of shoes for that kind of money, which is obviously a much better investment.

The birthday boy – all smiles.

I followed the directions on the box for high altitudes.  Yes, it was a box mix.  I know my limitations.  All was going somewhat well until as I was beating the mix, I noticed that this beating things makes a ghastly loud clanking noise.  Of course, I was trying to be quiet for the big surprise.  I soon discovered that I was down to one of the beater blades; the other had somehow disappeared into the dark colored batter, hence the noise.  I turned the mechanism off – that took a minute – and dug deep into the chocolate pit for the blade.  Found it, but at this point, I was up to my wrist in chocolate cake mix.  I again inserted the blade, turned on the device, only to have said blade sink back into the chocolate abyss.

I allowed a few choice words and gave up on the maniacal mechanism.  I completed the job by batter-covered hand, did the math on the altitude baking time situation and put the pans in the oven.  Let me be the first to say, math is hard.

I managed to bake the layers without burning them by constant, brutal surveillance.  It was exhausting.  By the time the birthday boy awoke, there were two perfect-ish layers of cake cooling, and I commenced with the frosting.  Thank the Lord I had the foresight to buy canned frosting so I didn’t have a repeat of the beater blunder.

Adored with golden sprinkles and candles in homage to his golden years, Mr. Kaminski loved the effort.  Not sure about the actual cake, but I got an A for effort.  I’ll take that.  See y’all next week – on the porch!

Patti Parish-Kaminski

Follow Patti Parish-Kaminski on Facebook at and on Instagram at