This is another story I had forgotten to bring over from AO3. It was originally written for my friend Amelia for her birthday! 3
Five Times Gigi Failed at Making William a Birthday Cake and One Time She Succeeded
The first time Gigi Darcy attempted to make her brother a birthday cake, it resulted in pink frosting everywhere.
She was thirteen and it was his first birthday since their parents had died so Gigi had wanted to do something special for him. Only what had seemed like a simple task when she'd first started, had quickly spiralled into one of the biggest messes she'd ever seen. Making the cake mix had been simple enough, and she'd been very careful when following the instructions for the temperature of the oven, so that part had been fine. But then she'd tried to use the fancy kitchen aid to make frosting from scratch (following a recipe she'd found in one of her mothers' old cookbooks) and somehow she'd managed to turn it up too high and partially mixed frosting was flying everywhere. Worse, the frosting, which she'd intended to be red, was bright pink and was now splattered in her hair, on the wall, on the floor and all over the counter tops.
Gigi was trying to mop up some of the globs on the counter when William walked in, stopped in the doorway and gaped at her.
"Gigi! What on earth is going on here?"
She pulled a glob of frosting from her hair and shrugged. "I'm making you a birthday cake… sort of."
Just then, the smoke detector went off and Gigi spun around to see smoke billowing from the oven.
The second time Gigi Darcy made her brother a birthday cake, it ended with sirens and firemen.
She was seventeen and after four years of bakery cakes, she wanted to try her hand at homemade cake again. And this time she'd been extremely careful, and had purchased store bought icing, just in case. She'd poured the cake into the pan and put it in the oven and now she was watching the timer on the oven diligently. Suddenly there was a hissing sound followed in quick succession by three more and Gigi quickly opened the oven door to check what was going on. She was greeted with a plume of smoke as her cake bubbled over the side of the pan and splattered onto the bottom of the oven. Suddenly a drop of batter hit the heating coil and Gigi hopped backwards as it burst into flame. Not sure what else to do, Gigi grabbed the phone and dialled 911.
Twenty minutes later, William arrived home only to find a firetruck parked outside and a handful of firemen leaving the apartment.
"Gigi?" He asked, still panting from his sprint up the stairs.
She looked up sheepishly from the kitchen table where she'd been sequestered since the firemen had arrived. "I tried to make cake. There were flames."
"What?" William's gaze swept over her, as though taking inventory.
"I'm fine." Gigi assured him. "I'm afraid your cake is beyond repair though." She gestured to the pile of charcoal that was cooling on the stovetop.
"It doesn't matter." William pulled her into a hug. "I'm just glad you're okay."
The next time Gigi Darcy attempted to make Darcy a birthday cake, she actually managed to avoid mess, smoke and flames.
She was eighteen and she was determined to conquer cake making. She hadn't used a mix this time, because she'd decided too late. Instead she carefully followed the basic cake recipe in "The Joy of Cooking", made sure to select the largest pan possible so last year's mistake wouldn't be repeated, and slid it into the oven. Her heart beat rapidly in her chest for the entire thirty-five minutes it took for the cake to bake, and she nearly jumped for joy when the timer buzzed and she pulled the cake from the oven without a single sign of smoke or charcoal.
Pleased with herself, Gigi started to spread the store-bought icing she'd found in the cupboard (probably left over from the year before, she realized, but the date was still valid so she figured it was safe to use) over the top of the cake. She frowned as the icing melted on contact, realizing too late that she probably should have let it cool first. Shrugging, she decided to keep going until the cake was smothered with melty icing.
After dinner that night, Gigi surprised Darcy with the cake and was delighted by the shocked expression on his face.
"See? I can bake without causing catastrophe."
William laughed. "So you can. I'm impressed."
"Thanks." She pulled a knife out of the drawer. "Do you want to do the honours?"
Darcy accepted with a nod. "Sure."
It wasn't until he made the first cut that Gigi realized everything had gone wrong again.
"Um, Gigi?" Darcy asked in a measured tone. "Is it supposed to be liquid?"
The fourth time Gigi tried making cake, she nearly broke a tooth.
She used the same recipe she'd used the previous year and managed to get the cake into the oven without a problem. She'd done her research since the last failed attempt and had learned that she should have tested the cake with a toothpick before taking it out of the oven. This time, she was prepared and when the timer went off, Gigi diligently poked the middle. It came out dirty, and thanks to the internet, Gigi knew what to do. She set the timer for ten more minutes, and checked again, repeating the process until she was certain it wasn't liquid.
William had invited Fitz, Bing and Caroline over and when they'd all had their fill of dinner, Gigi brought out the cake. She'd removed it from the baking pan this time, and set it on a plate before icing it (another thing she'd learned from the internet). Everyone sang to her brother, who's cheeks flushed slightly at the attention, and then they all exclaimed over the cake. Gigi watched nervously as William cut into the cake but much to her relief, liquid didn't come pooling out of it. In fact, William seemed to be struggling to cut through it.
Soon everyone had a piece of cake in front of them, and Gigi happily picked up her fork and dug in.
"Ouch!" she yelped as she took a bite and pain shot through her tooth.
"Gigi?" William asked with concern, his own fork half way to his mouth.
Gigi put her own fork down and rubbed at her jaw. "Don't eat the cake. It's rock hard and I think maybe I chipped my tooth."
The fifth time Gigi made her brother a cake, she nearly poisoned everyone.
Well, okay, she admitted that was maybe a slight exaggeration, but despite her careful attempts to follow the directions and double the recipe (because Fitz was throwing her brother an awesome surprise party and a regular sized cake wasn't going to be enough) she somehow managed to forget to double the sugar. She didn't realized this until it was too late however, as she was busy focusing on making sure her cake was the perfect consistency. When she was positive it was neither too runny nor too hard, Gigi let her cake cool and carefully removed it from the pan. She iced it, decorated it with chocolate frosting and bright coloured candies, and covered it with candles.
William's face when he tasted her cake and promptly spat it out was priceless though, and Fitz had luckily managed to catch it on camera.
"Gigi," William informed her after the cake had been discarded and an alternate desert procured, "You are amazingly talented at many things, but I think it's time we accept that you are simply not a baker."
Gigi had laughed. "I think you're probably right."
It was years before Gigi even thought about trying to make another cake for her brother.
William and Lizzie had recently celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary and Lizzie had come to Gigi all excited about surprising William with a homemade cake. Gigi had tried to decline at first but Lizzie's earnest enthusiasm had won her over. Which is how Gigi ended up in William and Lizzie's kitchen on the day of his birthday, carefully breaking eggs into the bowl. She was terrified she'd drop a shell in or something, but she managed not to and as she and Lizzie bustled around the kitchen together, she began to relax.
Lizzie let Gigi put the cake in the oven and then they sat down at the table together to have tea while they waited. They slipped easily into their usual rapport and before they knew it, the cake was done. As they went to decorate it together a little later, Gigi frowned.
"Why are all the decorations pink and blue?" she asked Lizzie. "William doesn't even like pink."
Lizzie grinned at her sister-in-law. "William and I were going to wait until tonight to tell you, but I don't think he'll mind if I tell you now."
Gigi's eyes shifted from the blue and pink candies to Lizzie's glowing face. "Tell me what?" she asked slowly although she was starting to have an inkling.
"How do you feel about being aunt?"
Before Lizzie knew what had hit her, Gigi engulfed her in a massive hug. "I feel pretty good about that."
Lizzie laughed. "I thought you might."
As she peppered Lizzie with questions while they decorated the first successful cake she'd ever had a part in making, Gigi couldn't help but grin. She was so glad that her brother had found happiness with Lizzie and she couldn't wait to see him with a baby. It was going to be epic.