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Parent Balks After Mother Claims Her Birthday Was ‘Ruined’ By Letting Young Grandson Bake Cake

boy adding egg to baking ingredients
Kseniya Ovchinnikova/Getty Images

Spending time with children is something most parents cherish. And when they can share a hobby, it can lead to years of memories.

A parent hoping to foster their son’s interest in their own love of baking found blowback from an unexpected source.

They turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.

They asked:

“AITA For letting my 9 year old bake my mom’s birthday cake which didn’t look perfect for her party?”

The original poster (OP) explained:

“I usually bake my mom her birthday cake, but my 9-year-old son has been really interested in baking lately, so I thought it would be nice if he helped.”

“I ended up letting him do most of it since he was doing a good job. The cake wasn’t quite how I make it, but he did a good job.”

“I thought my mom would find it sweet and be forgiving, but after the party, she told me she was really disappointed and had been looking forward to me making it for her.”

“She said she wanted her party to look a certain way, and the cake ruined that.”

The OP summed up their predicament. 

“I might be the a-hole for letting my 9-year-old bake my mom’s birthday cake, which didn’t look perfect for her party.”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors were split in their judgments with every option being chosen. 

However some people used identical justifications to come to completely different judgments.

Some felt everyone sucked (ESH).

“ESH. Lack of consideration and/or communication on OP’s part, who then objects to being told this wasn’t what birthday girl was expecting or would have wanted.”

“If you take it on yourself to surprise someone, you have to accept there’s a risk it won’t be welcomed. Or do your homework properly in advance.” ~ Resident_Win_1058

“ESH except the kid. Aesthetics over her grandchild’s development and (probable) affection for granny?”

“She is shallow. My Dad’s favorite cake sinks in the middle. The almost undercooked goopy pieces are fought over in the family. Taste matters more than looks.”

“As for you, however, you were put in charge of cake delivery on this day asked, offered, or assumed, you have a history of what you generally produce, and if you were going to alter that, then the celebrant should have had a choice to find other providers.” ~ KnightofForestsWild

“ESH. Your post just seemed to indicate she didn’t like it just because it didn’t look as nice. It seems like you should have taken over decorations, or some of the more sensitive steps, like getting it out of the pan, that affect the appearance.”

“I’m sure the cake tasted fine, but possibly a very soft AH for not taking over more at appearance steps.”

“Your mom is an AH for being disappointed in a free cake that was still made well and tasted good but got a bit messed up in appearance.”

“That cake didn’t ruin anything, and it’s very easy for even an adult home baker to make those sorts of mistakes themselves. If she needs a perfect-looking cake, she should order one.”

“She can express her disappointment in a more respectful way and make her desires clearer. I honestly probably wouldn’t make her another cake next year if there’s a chance you could mess it up and ruin her party in her eyes.” ~ C-Dreym

“ESH apart from the child. Good on you for encouraging your son in his baking efforts. But it would have been tactful to tell your Mum ahead of time that her 9-year-old grandson was the baker.”

“It’s the management of expectations. Your Mum, though, was very ungracious in her response. Does her joy at a party really depend on the cake?”

“My cake this year was a store-bought sponge cake with a household candle stuck in the middle, presented to me by my daughter, who’d come from Australia.”

“The cake made me smile, the candle was hilarious, and I, of course, loved that the effort had been made after 22 hours of air travel.”

“Not every birthday gesture has to be perfect.” ~ anemoschaos

Others decided the OP was not the a**hole (NTA).

“According to OP, it was just a meal with friends and family. That was a big part of why I voted NTA.”

“People are acting like OP legitimately embarrassed her mom at a huge, expensive, once-in-a-lifetime milestone event when that just isn’t what happened.”

“Sure, the grandma reacted as if that is what happened, but can’t account for delulu.” ~ lingoberri

“NTA. I’m a grandma, when my grands reach any age to make me anything.. bring it on! I can’t wait to gush over their skills and talent.”

“I would have bragged to all my friends, ‘My NINE-year-old grandson made this for my birthday!’.”

“And because I have great friends, they’d all gush over it too.” ~ KarinaBoBina77

“NTA. I guess Grandma is all about appearances. How sad for her and her grandkids.”

“She sounds very self-centered, like our grandmother whom my brother and I hated. We could do no right in her eyes.”

“Then she’d talk about how talented, smart, and polite her friends’ grandchildren were.” ~ Alternative_Sun_797

“I cook and bake with my nearly 4-year-old grandson. If he helped bake a cake for me, I’d be thrilled.”

“Sure, it would have way too many sprinkles, but I would be touched that he wanted to do that for me!”

By the way, I started cooking at 9. I made my aunts’ dinner one time when they visited…. veal Parmigiana, asparagus with hollandaise sauce, and cheese souffle. I was trying to be fancy.”

“As I recall, everything was delicious, but even if it wasn’t perfect, my aunts were really pleased that I made a fuss over them. Led to my love of cooking.”

“Let your son make things for people who appreciate it! NTA. Disappointed in your mother though.” ~ evilgenius6

While some declared the OP was the a**hole (YTA).

“I mean it’s a little YTA. My grandmother and my mother made a special Christmas dessert, which I learned to make with them. My relatives love this.”

“My grandmother has since passed and my daughter and I made some one year to help out my mom—without her help as she lives far. Our relatives still wanted the one that my mom made, even taking smaller pieces.”

“Was it a bit disappointing? Sure. But the sun does not rise and set with my child. My mom is the ‘master craftsman’ of the treat, and I’m not as good (yet). Hers are works of art.”

“My daughter’s helping did not make them any prettier. I am 0% annoyed that my relatives didn’t want the one my kid and I made.”

“My mom ate it as did my dad and brothers, but sometimes minor traditions, artistry, and such are really important, and it is what it is.” ~ journey_to_myself

“Gentle YTA. While I understand wanting to support your young child’s newfound interests, other people’s events are not the time or place to showcase them.”

“You could have had him help bake a cake for your mom to be delivered at any other time or even made a dozen cupcakes to go with the cake that you bake.”

“Other people are allowed to be disappointed when something that they expect based on how it has been in previous years suddenly changes without any advance warning.” ~ johnjonahjameson13

“Soft YTA. Imagine this… your daughter always makes you amazing birthday cakes.”

“You wait all year, looking forward to that amazing cake, and you’ve told your friends and family they, too, will get to enjoy this amazing cake at your birthday party.”

“You were never informed that your daughter would not be making the cake, and the day comes… and the cake is not what you were hyped up about.”

“As cute as it may be that your grandchild went to the effort to make you a cake, it is nowhere near the same as what you’d been looking forward to all year. And you had no prior knowledge that the baker would be different.”

“Basically, you outsourced the job to someone else, and you didn’t let your mother know she would be getting something hugely different from what she was looking forward to.”

“I think it’s sweet that your son wanted to do something nice for his grandmother, but this was horribly executed.”

“You should’ve made the main cake as promised and allowed your son to have some creativity and pride by letting him perhaps make cupcakes or a smaller full cake alongside your cake.”

“Making his attempt the only cake available was perhaps a little short-sighted on your part, and there was absolutely an alternative way to ensure that both grandma and son would be happy.” ~ majesticjewnicorn

“YTA. Let your kid play around with a less important cake.”

“It was important to your mother to have it the way she was expecting from you, not the gold-star-for-trying version from your kid.” ~ AngusLynch09

But others saw no a**holes here (NAH).

“Eh, I don’t think anyone really rises to AH levels here. You thought it would be cute, but your mom didn’t agree.”

“Maybe she would have liked it if your grandson made a cake alongside one you had made rather than in place of it. Plenty of people love kid-level efforts but not under all circumstances.”

“People assume all parents and grandparents will automatically and genuinely love everything their kids/grandkids produce, but even if they praise them for their work to encourage them, many can also see the work objectively too.”

“But it doesn’t sound like your mom expressed her disappointment to your son or anyone else besides you, so I think this is a shruggable offense.”

“She was put out that the cake didn’t look better and you were put out that she wasn’t as enthused with the cake as you were.”

“But your son had a fun experience and felt proud of himself, and the guests all had a delicious cake, so I’m at NAH.” ~ HellaShelle

“NAH. We usually encourage people to talk to close family when a gift doesn’t hit the mark, right?”

“Mom kept her thoughts to herself during the party then let OP know separately that she prefers OP’s cake for her party. A meal/party celebrating a grown-up may not be the right venue for a cake obviously made by a child.”

“I love my kids with every fiber of my being and love all the things they create, but if I were hosting a party for all my family and friends, I wouldn’t necessarily use a cake they made.”

“It seems that it was meant to be a bit more adult quality than that. Which is fine. It’s her party, she can have what she wants. It’s good that she felt comfortable to share that with OP, praising OP’s cakes (her own daughter, her child).”

“Saying OP’s kid’s cake ruined the aesthetic is a bit weird, but so is bringing a kid-quality cake your kid made when you agreed to bring a high-quality cake you made. Hopefully, both adults can move on here.” ~ coatisabrownishcolor

“NAH in my opinion, it’s very understandable what you did to encourage your son to bake, and I can see how you would think it’s cute to have a cake made by your 9-year-old grandson.”

“At the same time it doesn’t sound like your mother knew this beforehand, so it’s fair that she expected a more polished cake made by an adult who, from what it sounds like, is very skilled at baking.”

“As long as she’s not badmouthing you or your son, I don’t think it would be fair to expect her to not express her disappointment at all.”

“I see a lot of other people here say she should be grateful for what she gets, but I’d assume you bake her cakes because you want to make her happy and not because you’re forced to.”

“She’s letting you know that she’d be happier if you baked her cake. Assuming that you care about this, it’s fair to both of you for her to be honest about this.” ~ RatInACoat

After this feedback, the OP can choose whatever judgment they want.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metís Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.