Well, my sister had came down from London and with the children off in their various educational pods for the morning we had some rare time just the three of us. I lit the candles in the utility room and then came back into the kitchen where Laura and my mother were...wanting to share the surprise cake moment, I asked my sister if she would mind carrying through the 'thing' that I'd left in the other room. She obliged and came round the corner carrying it, with a huge smile on her face and singing happy birthday very enthusiastically, but our tune was rapidly obliterated by the snorts of hilarity that she became unable to contain and as she came closer to our dear Mama, who was then able to get a better look at the cake, she too ended up screeching with laughter until all three of us were completely bent double.
Having taken in and expressed her horror about the fact that the icing looked like the skin around a pug dog's forehead (pictured left, as it does seem unfair not to illustrate the disaster in some small way), my mother then said 'what is it?' gazing at the purple sugar crystal blobs inquisitively....and somehow, Laura, who I don't think even knows herself how, said: I think it's an iris...at which point we laughed even harder as none of us could quite believe that she'd guessed at what I'd intended it to be...in some ways it was possibly the very best cake I've ever made as it propelled us off on the right foot for a high-spirited morning. (NB. Before you think that my mother and sister could be described as heartless or ungrateful...really, it was so ugly there was nothing else you could do but squeal with laughter at how on earth I managed to create such a sight and I loved that they couldn't hide it!)