Until this week, my only knowledge of a cakewalk came from one of the Junie B. Jones books that I used to read over and over again to our youngest daughter. In the story, Junie B. skipped around with other children until the music stopped and a number was called. The numbered square she was standing on just happened to be the winner, and Junie B. proceeded to choose a cake from the table. There was one rectangular cake wrapped in shiny aluminum foil, and that was the one she insisted on taking home. It turned out to be a fruit cake. A very dense, heavy fruit cake that her parents tried to dissuade her from picking, but she insisted. It turns out that she didn't like fruit cake after all, but it was so sturdy that she used it as a booster seat at her kitchen table, so all ended well.
Our children's elementary/middle school had a Back-to-School Picnic last evening and one of the activities was a cakewalk. Another dynamic mom and I co-chaired it because it sounded like so much fun. She had cakewalk experience, unlike me, so she knew what to expect. She and I both did a little bit of baking (the cupcakes, mini-cherry cheesecakes, and brownies above were mine,) but she was bold enough to ask for donations from a couple of the local supermarkets.
Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures until we were almost finished, but I think we started out with 21 different containers of cakes/cupcakes/cookies/brownies and some boxes of Skittles for those with nut allergies. There were no fruit cakes though. I don't think most of the children there had ever done a cakewalk before, so we initially had to practically beg kids to start playing.
But once children saw that they could walk away from our table with free cakes, they started lining up to play. We duck taped numbers on 12 circular stones, and placed a child on each one. Once the music started, they hopped, skipped, ran, and jumped in a circle from one stone to the next. One toddler marched to her own beat and repeatedly wandered off the path, but she always ended up on a number once the music stopped.
My friend's husband drafted children to help him call out the winning numbers, and each winner came to the table to eye up the loot. The younger ones were reluctant to choose anything without a parent's input, but the pre-teens jumped right in there with no hesitation. Interestingly enough, they chose all the store-baked products first...and the Skittles. Go figure. After about 70 minutes, we ran out of cakes, so we called it a night and finally got to go mingle with the other 350 school family members who were there. I would call it a success, and it was definitely a lot of fun.
I have to admit though, that I had my eye on this cookie dough cheesecake that our grown son baked from scratch and donated. It was very tempting to keep it at home in my refrigerator, but I didn't think that would be very charitable. So instead, I persuaded my youngest two to play the cakewalk over and over again.
And I kept the cheesecake under the table in a cooler with ice.
Because it was almost 90 degrees out, and I didn't want it to go bad, you know.
And my 10-year old son actually landed on the winning number during the first half hour of the cake walk.
So he really did win fair and square. Honest.
...and he just so happened to choose that cookie dough cheesecake over the Skittles and the numerous store-bought cakes on the table.
So guess what I'm having after breakfast this morning?