P's birthday cake was a screaming success! And seeing as it was completed with no drama this year, I have decided instead to post a how-to and share some of my divine secrets. (Also, someone asked.)
J and I have been doing cooking lessons on Fridays, and we used last week's time to bake the cakes. He enjoyed helping with the measuring, timing the mixing, and of course licking the spatula at the end. To ensure a clean removal, I lined the bottom of the pans with waxed paper and gave the sides a quick grease with cooking spray. I used an 8 inch circle pan (purchased for the famous drum set cake) and an 8 inch square pan, and used the leftover batter for cupcakes. Once the cakes were cooled, I cut the circle one in half and gouged out two places for the eyes.