Challenge Accepted

Most people know I spend one day a week with grandchildren. And the life lessons that occur are big and small and they go both ways. This story is about a life lesson for me. I call this challenge accepted.

person standing on top of rock formation
A challenge of a different sort… not me, I hate heights!


Baking is something I share with my grandchildren, especially one granddaughter. When I asked what she wanted for her birthday cake she started with, “ice cream cake!”
“Homemade?” I asked.
“Yes!” was the answer.
“I don’t even know how to do that.” I said.
And she came right back with exactly what I probably would have said to her, “I guess you’ll have to figure it out.” She went on to say she wanted the cake decorated like a starry night with black fondant. The remainder of the agreement was that it would be a secret. The four-year old granddaughter agreed, gladly, to be my baking and decorating assistant.

Challenge accepted! Logistical nightmare

At first my plan was a simple layer of vanilla in the cake. However, my own children grew up on Dairy Queen ice cream cakes which have a layer of cookie crunch. Because of my grandson’s peanut allergy buying an ice cream cake is out of the question, not worth the risk! Logistically creating the ice cream layer at their house with the cookie crunch, getting the cake baked, and getting it together and decorated was going to be hard. Not only were we doing her birthday, we were also creating our Thanksgiving brunch on that same Wednesday evening. Still, i am Grandma Kay… challenge accepted!

package of oreo thins

Oreo Thins

Oreos are OK for my grandson so I planned to use them for the cookie crunch. Starring at the diverse choices for Oreos I noticed Oreo Thins. Previously my thought was Oreo Thins were just useless, the cream is the best part, right?! But for this project, or a cookie crust for a cheesecake, Oreo Thins were perfect. They practically made themselves into crumbs before they arrived home.


Cookie crumble WITH sprinkles would be even better. Into the cake pan to be used later for the cake (so the layer would be the exact right size) went parchment paper, cookie crumbs and sprinkles. Then a layer of softened vanilla, chosen after carefully perusing the ingredients and allergen list I rejected at least 3 brands to find one my grandson could have. (Nut allergies suck!) Another layer of cookie and sprinkles on top, another parchment, and the second cake pan to push it all down hard. With the freezer turned extra cold, into the freezer it went. Wednesday morning early, it made the journey to their house wrapped in a towel, on a bed of ice in a cooler.


completed starry night design after serving

The youngest granddaughter and I made the cake layers (chocolate funfetti!) and let them cool. Then we made vanilla butter cream! My fav! We assembled the layers with the butter cream, back into the freezer. Later, we started to decorate with purchased black frosting (no black fondant available) for the starry night. Just as I opened it, I saw the nut allergy warning on it. (nut allergies SUCK!) So we changed the design so one wedge would be vanilla butter cream for brother. Black icing, golden star sprinkles, and a moon made of vanilla butter cream completed the design.

Challenge Met

homemade ice cream cake

Was this the hardest challenge I have ever faced? No, of course not! What was important to me was to be challenged by one of the grandchildren, and meet the challenge. Life lesson for them and for me! Just because you have never done something, doesn’t mean it cannot be done! The best answer to a difficult challenge is, “I will have to think about this carefully so I can succeed.” The other lesson to be remembered is you absolutely will fail in attempting to meet life’s challenges! You cannot change, grow, and learn, without failure! F.A.I.L = First Attempt In Learning Contact me if you want to discuss!

person riding personal watercraft doing acrobat on body of water during daytime
Embrace “failure” it is the First Attempt In Learning


Kay Lehmann


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