This was the cake I made at the last minute for Princess Cutie Pie’s first birthday. It was my contribution to her party, at the request of my mother. I had barely any time to throw it together, so it’s pretty sloppy, but everyone oohed and aahed just the same. My mom bought the kit ahead of time, but when she said “castle cake,” I had no idea what I was in for.

I made all the icings from scratch – I prefer it. The two different recipes were both nice and sugary, just the way I like it. I hate these awful New Jersey cakes with their flavorless whipped cream topping – what kind of frosting is that? Give me butter cream, or give me death.

The party went off without drama and without a hitch. Dad came, along with his wife and my half sister. Aside from Dad being a little bit quiet, it seemed as though they had always celebrated things together. I think I was the only one who was stressed at all. I did notice him looking at Mom’s china hutch, which was filled with dishes he had sent her from active duty in Japan. Must be weird, after all this time…

This is my Dad’s tribe… my sister and her baby, my two “babies” and me, and our little sister, Megan, who is just three years older than Ana and off to college next year.

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