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Two years in a row Mia Freedman's had a birthday cake controversy. Here's what went wrong.

After a huge reaction to her post about her latest birthday cake drama this week, we decided to ask Mamamia co-founder Mia Freedman some hard questions.

MM: Ok, so what have you done now to bring cake shame on yourself?

Mia: It was my daughter’s 12th birthday and she’s on school holidays so she decided to make herself a birthday cake. I got home from work and it was still in the oven and we had family coming for dinner so I thought I would help things along by turning up the oven. I didn’t turn it up much. Just from 160 degrees to 180 degrees but I also put it on fan-forced which  – it turns out – makes it much hotter.

MM: Don’t you know anything about ovens?

Mia: Apparently not.

MM: Then what happened?

Mia: Well, people arrived and we sat down to eat dinner and the next thing I know I hear my daughter shouting at me from the kitchen that I’ve burned her cake. Which I had. Really badly. Because I forgot about it and she didn’t know I’d turned up the heat. So yes, I managed to burn a birthday cake I hadn’t even made. Even for me this was a new low, admittedly. So I shouted back, “I WILL FIX THIS” and got out a knife and tried to saw off the burnt bits from the cake which was pretty hard because it was burnt on the top, bottom and all the sides.

MM: How the hell did you salvage that mess?

Mia: Well, by this time the cake was a fraction of its original size but I grabbed some Betty Crocker icing out of the cupboard and some emergency sprinkles and iced the sh*t out of that hot burnt cake.

MM: Why are there only three candles on it? Wasn't your daughter turning 12?

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Mia: Yes but I thought 12 candles was too many so I did one candle and then a space and then two candles. For 12. See?

MM: Why is it so lopsided?

Mia: It was burnt deeper in some places than others so I had to cut away all of it and then flip it upside down and cut a bit more off the bottom.

MM: Oh yes. Now that you point it out, I can see it. What is it with you and birthday cakes though? This isn't your first 'cake controversy' is it? IS IT?

Mia: No. It started when I confessed a few years ago that I usually buy my kids' birthday cakes from Woolies. It was after I'd been reading an article about Miranda Kerr and she had this quote about how she'd made this organic, sugar-free cake for her son's first birthday. She described all the ingredients in it that I'd never even heard of and it made me feel incredibly guilty and inadequate. I figured there were probably lots of mothers feeling bad so I thought if I confessed how I roll with birthday cakes, it might make some other women feel better.

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MM: How did that go down?

Mia: Mixed. Lots of people were like, "YEAH! WOOLIES CAKE! ME TOO!" But there were some who were very angry with me for not making my children's birthday cake from scratch. This didn't worry me because I don't use cake making as a unit of measurement for parenting. Kids don't care. So long as there are candles and icing. Give yourself a break. Unless you love the creativity of making something extravagant which some people do, in which case knock yourself out. No judgement either way. It's just cake.

MM: What about last year - wasn't there another cake drama?

Mia: Yeah, so last year I decided to take it up a notch and make an effort for my third child who was turning eight. So I ordered a Smash Cake - you know, those cakes made of chocolate that you smash with a rolling pin and there are lollies inside? But when I posted a short video on Facebook or Instagram of the kids swarming towards the cake and grabbing all the lollies, it made some people angry and judgemental about first of all, the fact I'd paid money for a cake instead of - you guessed it - MAKING IT MYSELF - and secondly, that it somehow encouraged bad behaviour among the small children who were grabbing the lollies in a way some perceived as, I don't know, grabby. There were media stories about my "VIOLENT BIRTHDAY CAKE that went all over the world. I thought it was hilarious.

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MM: Were people upset about this latest birthday cake incident when you posted about it this week?

Mia: Of course! Most people found it funny and tagged their friends but some people said I was a disgrace for being proud of "ruining a special occasion for my child".

MM: You did ruin it though, didn't you?


Mia: Only a little bit. My daughter thought it was pretty funny in the end. Many good natured eye rolls. My kids have lived with me their whole lives and are well used to my failings in the kitchen. I try to keep their expectations very low so they're well primed for such mishaps. Also, I just spent some time in hospital with my youngest son and I think it gave everyone in the family a lot of perspective about what constitutes a  'disaster' and it's not a half-burned, lop-sided birthday cake.

MM: Plans to retire from birthday cakes?

Mia: No way! If I can make any other person feel a bit better about their inability to be a Pinterest-perfect provider of baked-goods, then it's a good day in the kitchen - or the supermarket.

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