I thought I would share with you all a little behind the scenes action of a cake I did recently that just did not want to co oporate with me.
We constantly see all these beautiful cakes online all dressed up with their decorations etc that we often don’t hear the struggles of the cake decorator creating them, and some cakes can be more difficult then others.
This has nothing to do with the client who ordered the cake, this is just what happened behind the scenes!
The cake ended up beautifully at the end and I was happy with it!
Here is one of my bad cake stories!
I had a tall naked cake on order, thought yep this is easy, so I went about my day doing some other jobs, not really thinking too much into it and left it until after about lunch time to do because it wouldn’t require too much time to assemble.
Well was I wrong! What I thought was going to be the simplest cake, quickly became the most annoying cake I’ve had to structure and decorate in at least a few months!
I started melting the chocolate to set the cake to the board and as I was heating it up (in the microwave because I only need a little bit), it started to burn a little, I thought yeah ok I’ll use the chocolate from the other side of the container where it was only just melted.. so that was fine.. (I should have known then that this was the first bad sign and this was going to be a very long process lol)
So I stuck the cake to the board and started preparing my sugar syrup and buttercream to layer up the cake. The first layer was wonky so I trimmed it a bit then continued stacking. It was fine until I got to the last layer and then remembered that I didn’t use any sugar syrup to brush between the other cake layers.. awesome..
So I thought, it’s alright Ill just keep going, I can’t pull apart this cake, I’ll just ice it and it will have to go without this time..
So I start layering the buttercream onto the sides of the cake to scrape away smooth. Meanwhile if you take a look at the first picture I have posted here, it’s looking pretty close to the leaning tower of Pisa at the moment. That should have been my other clue, which I thought, yeah it a bit wonky but I’ve done this before so I can fix it once the buttercream goes on. Boy was I wrong!!
I layered that baby with so much icing it would have weighed about a tonne lol, I’m surprised it didn’t fall over right in front of me!!
So I started scraping the icing away to get my smooth surface and the “naked look” which is where you can still see the cake through the layers of buttercream.. it’s all the rage right now!
And I kept scraping, and kept scraping and kept scraping, until I had spent about 40 minutes going around and around again, adding more buttercream, scraping more away. The top to even the bottom and the bottom to even the top! I was slowly starting to get frustrated! This should have be done by now!
I could see the cake through the bottom but couldn’t see it through the top. The icing was too thick and needed to be scraped, but because the cake as wonky it also needed to be straight. And as it was a tall cake I needed to have that straight as I can so it can hold the weight of the cake!
So I kept going around again for another few minutes, adding and scraping buttercream until I couldn’t do it anymore.
I stood back and hated it.. it was ugly and wonky and I just wasn’t happy!
So I did what I have never done before to my cakes.. I started pulling apart the layers and scraping the icing off and throwing it in the bin. I took every one of those 5 cakes off and I was going to start again.
I had to walk away as I was frustrated, teary and just down on my luck. I started to doubt myself, my skill, my ability to decorate a cake. I thought, i needed to do this. I need to finish. This client needs their cake..
So I had a break for about half an hour, left my mess there and walked away.
I came back with a fresh mind, determined to finish this cake.
And this is where it gets funny..
I cleaned up my bench and washed my tools ready to start again. I prepared more buttercream in the mixer only to have the whisk attachment break on me mid mix.. yay.. what else could go wrong!?
I threw that batch in the bin and started again.. I had no other choice but to hand whisk my buttercream (which is not easy and hurts like hell!) My arms were already sore from trying to straighten this cake before, now it’s even worse!
I started again, melted more chocolate, made another batch of sugar syrup and had everything prepared to start stacking this cake again.
I began, I re trimmed the cakes so they were flatter.. a good start which I should have done the first time.. I started stacking and actually used my sugar syrup this time! Yay!
It was going good this time.
Then was the fun part again of scraping the sides to get her straight.
I did this for about another 20 minutes. (It felt like longer) around and around again a million times and it was still frustrating me, she wasn’t going straight. I was angry, I was doubtful and I was crying.. why isn’t this working? This is supposed to be the easy part.. it’s only a naked cake, it’s simple. But no.
I had decided to do one last scraping and leave it how it was. It wasn’t as bad as the first time and it was good enough for me to stop.
Not my best work, but she was done. I was done!
I guess I was nervous the customer would hate it. That she would see every tiny mistake I had made, every flaw, every struggle. But they don’t see that. They see the beauty that is our creation when it is all dressed up with decoration and ready for the main event.
I guess us cakers or any creative artist really, are our own worst critic. We see everything that is wrong with something that we don’t see the beauty that we have created.
I was happy when I got the cake all dressed up in pretty flowers and a beautiful gold mirror topper, and you couldn’t see all those flaws, and the wonky cake..
She was beautiful!
I was happy!
The customer was happy!
And I have done my job!
Time to lift my head up and move onto the next cake..
Never give up!