Sunday, September 2, 2012

Calling Cake Wrecks! My Fail, My Save and What Really Matters to a 3-year old

Last year was crazy busy here on the blog with my cake creations. I was taking the Wilton class series and just fell in love with the medium. ...oh, and my family was happy to support/eat my work.

Loved the fondant class and the final cake was my favorite,

had fun with my son's Lego cake,

and even made a figurine and used the new punch sugar sheets for Father's Day.

But, my daughter's 3rd birthday cake, the only thing she had been asking for for months, was quite the disaster.

More of a glorified hobbit-hole than a castle, I know, it is amazing it ever made it to the table!

I purchased the Wilton castle cake set with the windows, door, turrets and cones. When it arrived my kids flipped. Both of them wanted a version for their birthday. As a Mom I knew I had a winner - or so I thought.

Okay, I can't blame it all on the set. I decided to use my children's low-protein PKU cake mix. It says "cake", but really only holds up well enough for cupcakes. I went the boxed route to save time. The mix only had enough batter for one small hexagonal cake, I had an entire set. I  hoped to make 2 so it would be tall enough for the set pieces. You might notice the door and turrets are a bit off scale.

The cake took forever to bake. Even adjusting for the size, etc. When I took it out I had my doubts. Anyone who has baked with wheat starch and alternative baking products knows gluten in flour really helps to make the cake's crumb hold together. As I cooled and sliced the layer in half I had butterflies in my stomach.

I filled and iced it with little trouble. Just a simple buttercream and a seedless boysenberry preserve filling. Carefully with my cake mover I went to put it on my covered cake board. In the blink of eye the world went topsy-turvy and the cake fell down the front of me!


That is not the sound any baker wants to hear. With the clock ticking and no more mixes in the pantry I had no choice but to salvage. Now, don't judge! It was a clean floor and the cake landed on the bottom (not frosting down).

It is amazing what can be covered by a healthy doll-up of buttercream! As I started adding the set pieces I was painfully aware that the scale was off. I tried my best to make it resemble a castle. *gulp* And as every good decorator knows, adding color and piped flowers will cover a multitude of sins. So, there were a lot of flowers on it.

The eaves of the door and even the pinnacles on the turrets were supposed to be frosted and rolled in sanding sugar. Now here is where the set has a major flaw. Nothing sticks to the smooth plastic! Not fondant, and the buttercream was a pain to add nicely. As for the sanding sugar? I am now convinced the box photo for the set has glued on glitter. Even with frosting on the turrets' top the pinnacle wouldn't stay in place. Ugh. I gave up with just one in the center and gave up on adorning the other pieces. For a future use I may just paint and detail the plastic pieces. I do not recommend trying this kit. I think a dowel through a tier of cupcakes would have been easier to work with than this.

There was no way I could get out of having this cake ready for my daughter. When she came down from nap she exclaimed, "My castle cake! I love it." So to a 3-year old Mommy had delivered.

It is not my best cake by far, but it will be a very memorable one. I think as a Mom I want everything to be perfect for my kids. They don't have the same expectations that I do. My kids were thrilled and didn't see the flaws or problems painfully obvious to me.

The day wasn't about my success or failure. It was about celebrating the birth of my sweet little girl. She means the world to me, and all she wanted was a castle cake. Cake Wrecks may now have another "masterpiece" to ridicule, but the outcome made my little girl smile.

I can live with that.

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