Pay close attention. I will not repeat this.
1) Commit to bringing your grandfather's birthday cake to your mother's house for his birthday party.
2) Pick out your favorite recipe that you've done a thousand times. I picked Ina's chocolate cake which I always use with Nigella's chocolate frosting (because I will never feel safe using raw egg in anything ... sorry Ina). NOTE: If you use this combination of recipes, then you MUST double the amount of frosting to accommodate the entire cake. Learned this one the hard way ... twice.
3) Stay up really late to bake the cake because it's really warm out and you don't want to use the oven during the day because you're too cheap to turn on the AC before June 1.
4) The next morning, make the frosting and frost the cake before the kitchen gets too warm and you run the risk of having the frosting melt and drip off the cake.
5) Frost the cake and really ENJOY the process. Tell yourself, "Look at me: I'm SO GOOD at this. I'm so glad I know how to make such a great cake. This is something that all people should know how to do. *sigh* I really am amazing. Let me use my iPhone to take a bunch of hippy-dippy vintage-looking photos of the whole process so I can, like, create The Cutest Blog Post Ever." Continue inflating your ego while frosting. This is imperative. Do not skip this step.
6) Everything looking good? Good. So the top is slightly crooked. That's ok. That makes it look wonky and cute, like a shabby chic, homemade cake. That's what we're going for here. Genius. Keep going:
7) Perfection! There's even icing left over which has never happened before because typically you run out before you're finished! This is great. Now all that's left is to put some sprinkles on the top, remove the foil and, finally, to destroy the finished product. Ready?
Ta-DA! You did it! Here's the magic secret step: It's all about the tin foil. Make sure that you place the foil a tad (just a little! not too much! you don't need to put much effort into this kind of mistake) too far under the bottom layer of the cake. Of course, this is to protect the plate from getting covered in frosting, but MORE importantly this step will ensure that
THE ENTIRE BOTTOM FREAKIN LAYER OF THE GODDAMN CAKE TOTALLY FALLS APART WHEN YOU GO TO REMOVE THE FOIL, THUS FOILING (PUN INTENDED) ALL OF THE TIME AND EFFORT YOU SUNK INTO THIS CALORIC NIGHTMARE OF A MESS.
8) Pick up the phone. Dial your mother's number. Expect your sister to pick up.
9) Your mother will assume that you did not/could not/have no intention of making the cake. Scream at your mother (via your sister) on the phone that you DID make the cake. You're NOT calling to say, "Hey mom: I know you've been going nuts prepping for this party all week and the only thing I had to do was to bring the stupid cake, but can you go buy one? I ran out of time." No, you're calling to say, "I RUINED THE GODDAMN CAKE AND I WANT TO KILL SOMEBODY." But, your mom is too busy chasing her cat down the front yard because the cat is chasing a squirrel and your sister is yelling, "I CAN'T BE THE GO-BETWEEN ON THE PHONE!! YOU GUYS NEED TO TALK TO EACH OTHER!!"
10) Hang up on your sister who is yelling your message to your mother who is chasing the cat on the front lawn.
11) Yell the F-word REALLY loud in your kitchen even though all of your windows are open and your neighbors can hear you.
You did it! That's how you ruin a perfectly good birthday cake! YAAAY!!!! Don't you feel like a mature, responsible grown-up? If you don't, you should!