As you know, Annie is an expert at making pepperoni pizza, but her culinary aspirations don’t end there. Lately she’s constantly after me to go into the kitchen and “make something,” and last night she took that request one step further by asking to make something “with my own ingredients.” When I asked her what she meant by that she explained that she wanted to create her own recipe. At first I wasn’t crazy about the idea (and imagined Annie dousing salami with pancake syrup or something equally unappetizing), but then thought, “What the heck.”

A big reason I went along with this scheme was because of my Dad. I remember that, when I was not much older than Annie, I was very impressed by a TV show about a chef who cooked sugar and molded it into different shapes. (Thanks to Google I now know this is called “sugar sculpting” and goes back thousands of years.) When my Dad got home that night I basically blindsided him with the fact that I needed to make a sugar sculpture and I NEEDED TO MAKE IT RIGHT THEN! I don’t know where my Mom was, but eventually my dad somehow agreed to this madness. Don’t forget, this was long before the Internet, so there was no Googling how to do what I was describing. Basically, all my Dad had to go on was a five-year-old babbling about cooking sugar in a pan. For a few glorious minutes I was giddy as we started cooking, but then things went South. Um, quickly. The sugar may have even ignited into a huge fire that had to be put out with the fire extinguisher. Allegedly.

Agreeing to cook sugar might not have been my dad’s wisest decision, but it made my decade, and I figured that if my dad could go along with that I could let Annie experiment a little. I was also more than a little curious to see what she’d come up with.

“Okay, Dad,” Annie began. “First you need a pan.”

Pan. Check.

“Then you get the milk and you pour the milk in it.”

“How much?”

Annie rubbed her chin a pensive beat. “Two.”

Not sure exactly how much “two” was, I poured a cup or so into the pan.

“Now sugar!”

I should have known sugar would be involved.

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Yeah, we’re wearing aprons. What of it?

Now the flour, Dad!”

I got out the flour and Annie scooped about half a cup into the pan.

“Now butter!”

Check. Butter.

“Now I turn it!”

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Once Annie was satisfied with her turning (aka “mixing”) she directed me to cook it on the stove.

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I have to say, at this point I was pretty impressed with how non-insane Annie’s recipe was. When it started to look pancake-y, I flipped it over.

“Okay, Dad,” she said. “Now we put on brown sugar!”

“But it already has sugar -”

“Brown sugar! Pleeeeeease!”

Fine. Whatever. At least she didn’t want to make a sculpture out of it.

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Annie then pointed to the microwave and said, “Now put it in there!”

“The stove AND microwave?” I said. “Now that’s groundbreaking.”

Annie nodded as if to say “duh.” When I finally pulled her creation out of the microwave and place it on the counter to cool, she was pretty pleased.

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“So what should we call this?” I asked.

“Annie’s Cakey-cake!”

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I have to say, “Annie’s Cakey-cake” was actually really good! I’m more than a little proud that Annie was able to make up a recipe that was edible (even if it did use two kinds of sugar).

“Tomorrow we can make it again,” Annie said once we polished off the cakey-cake. “But with different stuff!”

She’s a perfectionist, that Annie. Like any great cook she won’t stop until her recipe is perfect!