Everyone has a story to tell, here's mine sprinkled with some creative projects along the way.
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Thursday, May 19, 2011

My Anniversary Cake.....

Have you ever had one of those experiences/projects when, in the middle of it you realized that you were way over your head when you decided to tackle said project?

Well that's exactly how I felt when I "attempted" to make a decorated cake for my husband for our anniversary yesterday.

If you remember, a dear friend taught me how to make a fondant covered cake late last year. See my proud cake here. Back then, she was there with me, guiding me all the way and let me used all of her tools. Now, after attempting to apply what I've learned from here, I learned that having her with me and using the right tools was essential for my success. Sadly I didn't have both this time and here's the result.....

an ugly, lop sided, attempt of a cake!!!

So this "project" was a last minute idea. On Monday, I was watching one of the many cake shows on TV and came across an idea of the swirls on the cake. That gave me the, what would be a totally stupid idea, of making a cake to surprise my husband on our anniversay (which was yesterday). So that afternoon, I called my dear friend. I should've listened to the inside voice in me because while she was giving me a refresher course on the phone, I was already feeling intimidated and overwhelmed.

But I didn't listen to that rational side in me and went out Tuesday and bought the ingredients, made my cake and started making my buttercream frosting and fondant.
The cake baking was not difficult being that I just used a boxed cake. *wink*. When I got to the buttercream, my little hand mixer (lesson learned- do this with a stand mixer!) started having some difficulty. But alas, after some elbow work, I got them all mixed up. Placed them in a bowl, covered with saran wrap and refrigerated it!

Then I proceeded to work on the fondant. I tried to follow my friend's directions to a T. Seriously I did! But in the middle of my mixing/whipping it, my hand mixer died on me. I know! of all the times it could die, it's during a middle of my fondant making!

So what did I do? I did it my hand with a wooden spoon. Let me tell you,my arms had never had a harder workout than that! I think my hand mixing made a big difference with the consistency because on decorating day, my fondant was ripping on me. Grrrr! I thought I had it right because when I did the finger check, it wasn't sticking right away on my finger.

My dear friend would probably be upset with me because even after all her instructions and directing me to some you tube videos on how to do it, I still failed! Miserably!

Here's some close ups....

After watching some you tube videos, I was inspired to make some Calla Lillys to add to the cake. Why do these videos make it seem so easy but when I try to do it, I fail?! Seriously is it just me?!

So on Wednesday, I labored all morning trying to decorate it. I knew I was in some major trouble when I pulled out my buttercream frosting and it was hard as a rock! "Seriously when will the problems end", I say at this time! Being that I don't have any more mixer, I did it by hand! What was I thinking! I added milk a little at a time but it was clumpy and soooo ugly!

With my need to just get through it and not waste my ingredients, I plugged along and covered my cake with the clumpy frosting!

Then I worked on rolling my fondant. Oh boy! Another disaster. It was sticking on my work surface everytime I get to roll it at about 8". Even after many shortening and powdered sugar added to the board! Plus it was ripping! Geesh!

Still I continued. I was already commited to get this done, however it would look. I didn't care anymore if it didn't look like the cake I had in mind!

I worked on the first layered cake which was about 8". Covered it with fondant and transfered it onto my cake pedestal. I had cut out my next layere which was 6". I even used my ruler to make sure it was all even but when I went and transfered the fondant covered layer, it was about the same size as my first layer. Grrr!

Again, at this point, I didn't care anymore. I just wanted it to be over! I placed the layered cakes in the refrigerator and worked on my trims. This process was not hard. Thank goodness there was something easy in this process. Me and Maddie formed some balls in lavender colored fondant and I made the strip to cover my ugly seam in the middle.

I then worked on my swirls. Again this is something where I thought would be easy enough for me but alas, my luck would not be in the "easy" side today. Turns out my handmixing the buttercream and adding milk made it toooo loose. My swirls were drooping on the side! At this time, I seriously wanted to cry!!!

I know this post has been so excruciating to read. Believe me, making the cake was more difficult to endure! But at the end and after a few attempts to cover up my many booboos we had a cake!

The kids knew I was making this and I told them that they can't taste it until dad came home from work which he did a few minutes before bedtime. Poor kids had to wait all day. So because I knew they waited so patiently, I let them have a piece and extend their bedtime for about 15more minutes.

So a little background on why I used white....because it reminds me of weddings and why purple accents...because that was the color of our wedding.

In all fairness though, the cake was delish! My friends recipe for buttercream frosting and fondant was superb that even though the cake was unappealing, it still tasted great!

And to finish this unexpected long cake story...

Marcus told me that I should be "proud" of my cake!

I love my family and how they can see the good things in what I do, or attempt to create!

That's it for today. Now off to eat some cake!

Till next time,



Lori said...

Hi Grace, I give you an "A" for effort. Remember it doesn't matter what it looks like as long as it tastes good. I never worked with fondant before because I always thought it tasted bad, but if you have a really good buttercream & fondant recipe maybe I will give it a try. I'm thinking petit fours for Cassidy's tea party. Mind sharing your recipes?
~Lori T

thekolbes said...

You have a great family. I didn't think it looked bad at all. Its always the thought that counts

Anonymous said...

Grace, A for courage, A+ for determination, A- for not believing in yourself. You PASSED. I am so proud you for testing your limit. The limit is procrastination. The first trial is not always perfect so the next time you do it you know exactly what to experiment.
Your sister-friend is wonderful. She will always be a friend because she teaches you from the heart. No reservation. CONGRATS.


Nati Tristan said...

I think that the thought and the love you put in it is awesome. I love it by the way. Your swirls are amazing. I can't do swirls like that I'm always so scared!

Becky said...

Hi Grace! Look who just figured out how to follow blogs!!! (I know, I am a little slow.) But I wanted to say that i think you did a fantastic job. Doing a square stacked cake is an ambitious job, and I love that you did it! I do have to say that the buttercream being hard is my fault. I should have told you that it would be, because butter and shortening harden up when cold. All you have to do is leave it out on the counter until it softens. SO SORRY!!!! But Marcus is right, you should be proud of what you did. And I bet Mitch loved it as well! Say hi to everyone for us! Miss you!

Allison said...

Hey, I think it looks great! And I'm sure that it was delicious! :) Happy Anniversary!!