Thursday, February 25, 2010

My own Cake Wreck

I now know what it feels like to open the door of the van and see all your hard work tumbled over and waiting for you to desperately rescue it. Thankfully it slid away from the cake I didn't stack and it was ultimately saved. I doubt there is one decorator who hasn't experienced it and if you haven't then let me know what I did wrong!
This cake was supposed to be a surprise for my friend's daughter to celebrate her sweet 16th birthday. Ok, so it was a surprise for more than one person! The design I had on paper looked great but my execution (yes, pun absolutely intended) of it didn't quite make it. With a couple of sketches in hand, I had a couple of my daughter's friends to help me to decide on the final design. Blue, black, 3 tiered cake: Square, Round, Square cake, fondant dots and black ribbon. Simple enough, no problem.

Here is what I learned:
First, don't decide to change the size of the bottom tier at the last minute, because you will waste valuable baking time running to the cake store to buy another pan.

Because you know that the cake store is always closed on Mondays, then you have no excuse to go pick up the filling you procrastinated getting the week before. Because then you will have no excuse to run to the store to purchase another pan thinking it won't be any trouble at all. You should never be purchasing stuff the day before the cake is due, especially the pan since it should already be baked by now!

Second, purchase black fondant, do not try to color your own. Even after using half the bottom black dye, it still looks like a faint brownish purple and will leave lovely purple stains around all your finger nails. Yes, food gloves would have come in handy, but the fondant would still be some brownish purple color.

Third....Make your frosting and fondant ahead of time, there should be no explanation here.

Lastly don't change plans at the last minute UNLESS you absolutely have to. Because I spent so much time running errand at the last minute I didn't take into account the extra time I would need to get the cake finished on time.

So as you can see my biggest issue BEFORE the cake fell over was my lack of planning and preparation. I pushed myself to get it finished and though I was careful in stacking and securing it, it still didn't make it to the church in one piece. Even though I would late getting the cake to the church, I drove carefully and obeyed all traffic laws. One final note, take pictures before you leave. Because I was running late, I didn't take one picture of the finished cake, was going to do that when I arrived.
However I am still not all that sure why the cake fell other than the two cakes I had stacked where not probably prepared properly, or that my bottom cake was not stable enough and slid. The round middle cake was still in one piece, just had the frosting damage. And even then the frosting was easy to smooth out after I picked up and took it inside, the satin ribbon bow was ruined from the frosting of the bottom tier!

So here are pictures of what was left. I didn't take any of the white one, but trust me it looked great, really it did! I do plan to make a smaller version of the cake that fell apart and take it Sunday so she can see what the rest of her cake was supposed to look like!

The top tier. This tier was actually going to sit on top of a bowl filled with black ribbon.

We save about half of the botton tier. We were able to pick up the cake and slide it back together that....Sharon Zambito's buttercream recipe is amazing, it has one mark in the middle where we pushed the cake layers back together!

The dots were supposed to look more frilly, but instead looked more like baseballs and basket balls!And I was worried about the corners looking right! Still amazed they held up as well as they did!

Happy Birthday Sarah!


Kara said...

You don't say what kind of cake it was, but did you have a raspberry filling by any chance? The only time I've ever had anything slide was when I used too much raspberry preserves as a filling. I've also heard horror stories from other bakers who had sliders and also used a raspberry filling.

Sandi said...

I did! It was a lemon cake with lemon filling. What is funny is that I used Sharon Zambito's method of filling a cake (from her Buttercream DVD) and did a very thin layer. I have done lemon cake before with no problem and lots of filling, this one just wasn't going to stay together!