Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Cake

I was too ambitious. I like cute cakes. I like the smooth, finished, look of fondant cakes. I naively thought that using fondant couldn't be that hard. (Maybe it's not.) So, my mind created a vision of what Lydia's birthday cake would look like, and let me tell, it was adorable. Bright colors, happy flowers, smooth, pretty, nice. I could picture it perfectly. Just your simple double layer round cake. But then I thought that a triple layer would be better, because than I could have two layers of the whipped cream pudding filling that I envisioned would be perfect. And wouldn't it just be cute if the top layer was smaller? (If you ever ask that question, I have the correct answer now. No. Not cute.)
Anyway, I looked up some fondant recipes and decided against them. A marshmallow based one looked pretty simple, but it required a microwave, which we don't have here. So I just bought the store-bought packaged fondant. I bought one all white package, and one with four bright colors.
Monday morning I made the cakes. I did the normal Melanie method, and used a boxed mix. Two, actually. I made two 9x9 rounds, one 8x8 round, and a dozen cupcakes. But I let them cool all the way in the pans, and when I finally got around to removing them, a couple of them were pretty stuck. This is where my disaster really began, unless you count my vision as a disaster.
One of the 9x9 layers broke into three strange pieces. It was ugly, and misshapen, and flimsy.
But I still had a layer to put on top of it.
It was around this time that I starting thinking about how I should take pictures of each step so I can blog about it. That was my one consolation through the rest of the process. At least it will be a tell-able story. So I put my pudding filling on...

and it was super ugly. Then I put my top layer on. I did my best to trim the edges to make it as nicely shaped as possible.

Still ugly. Then I frosted it. I had to keep telling myself that this frosting would be covered, so it didn't matter that it didn't look even a teeny bit pretty.
Now I was ready for the fondant layer. I had actually gotten it ready prior to putting the cake together. I kneaded the blue coloring into it, which took some time, then I rolled it out. Mom helped too. Well, this may have been one of my bigger downfalls. While the fondant was waiting patiently, all rolled out, on the counter for me to be ready for it, the air was hard at work to make it brittle and crusty. When you play with it, it is soft and warm and easy to mold. When you leave it, it hardens. I didn't know this. In fact, I still don't really know it, I'm kind of making assertions based solely on my inexperienced experience.
I had watched a tutorial on youtube on how to put the fondant on the cake. I tried to mimic the video, but failed. I made a mess. It ripped in several places, I couldn't smooth it well, and it was extremely bunched at the base.
It was about this time that I may have thrown a stomping, supressed-screaming, mini-tantrum of frustration.

I still had one hope. The flowers. My cake vision had lots of brightly colored flowers. I had the brightly colored fondant, now we just needed them to be flowers. A cookie cutter would have been nice. I went to Wal-Mart that morning to see if they had any useful cookie cutters, and spent WAY TOO MUCH TIME there. I looked in the baking section, the kitchen isles, the party row, the craft corner, and even at the playdoh accessories. And guess what? Wal-Mart doesn't carry cookie cutters.
I don't know if you heard me. Wal-Mart doesn't carry cookie cutters.
Back at home, my mom pulled out her scrap-booking kit and found some previously un-used stencils. One of them had a little flower. So with that stencil, we carved out each flower using a cutco knife. Time consuming.
I tried to create a cascading-flower effect to cover the worst of the tears in the base fondant.
Then I patched up the other rips, and placed flowers randomly about using only my un-artistic eye as a guide.
Oh, and we put a border on the base of fondant balls.

Then we put it on a platter and covered the ugly green plate thing and the ugly bottom of the cake with the prettier cupcakes that mom did. I added a cake banner that Alisha made, stuck a candle in, and called it good. Well...actually, I never did call it good, because I knew how much it wasn't. Lumpy, lop-sided, sloppy, and un- athstetic.


Smullin Family said...

I think the cake looks great. Good job on your first time with fondant..live and learn. :) --I know what you mean about having a vision in your head and then the final product doesn't look anything like your vision. Hate it when that happens..I've been plagued with that all my life.

kura2025 said...

I concur. Great job for a first time. I loved the cascading flowers even knowing the reason behind them, lol. Kudos!

Teresa Mataitusi said...

The funniest cake story ever - laugh out loud! Thank you so much for documenting it. I can't wait for my mom, who used to decorate cakes BTW, to read this blog. She's been asking me to put her on the computer. I'll do it tomorrow. She'll love this (in a very supportive way!). Thanks, Melanie!