I guess one can say I definitely learned from my cake making mistakes this week. I am the type of cake maker that loves to be put up to a challenge; there is nothing that I won't try. And I will also be the very first to admit that I am a complete know-it-all, and thought that I absolutely knew to a "T" how to do this cake...it's pretty simple after all, right? Ha!
So my neighbor, Jill, is one of my best friends. I mean, she is like the "borrow a cup of sugar" type of neighbor (although she would actually borrow the sugar from me...the only sugar she usually has is the little packets that you put in your coffee...but you get the idea.) There have been many of times in the past few years that I have run to her house, annoyed with life and needing someone to talk to, and vice versa. She's the only person that I don't mind a "drop by unannounced" visit from. She knows all of my secrets, and I am pretty sure I know most, if not all of hers. She is a one in a million friend and person. So this week was her birthday, and I wanted to make her a cake. They are having a bbq today, so I thought that would be a perfect excuse to make a "for real" cake and not just a round, generic "Happy Birthday!" cake. She collects fairies, so there was my theme. I looked through pages upon pages of pictures at Cake Central, Flickr, Google to get some ideas, and finally decided on a tree stump with a giant mushroom on top, and fairies sitting underneath the mushroom. Easy-peasy, right? I started with the fairies, making them out of fondant (the last time I made figures I used only gumpaste, and because I'm a bit inexperienced at making figures, the gumpaste was hardening too fast for me.) So everything was going great till I got to the face. I tried sculpting the face. I tried painting the face. Yeah...let's just say I'm not a talented painter. I remembered seeing face molds in the clay section at Michael's, and I found a 50% off coupon (which made the molds something like $3.50.) Once the fairies were done, I was pretty happy with them. So on to the mushroom. I decided to use rice krispy treat, another medium that I have not worked with much. Looking back, I should of mixed some white chocolate into the marshmallow mixture, because the mushroom would NOT harden up enough. It started to crack...I patched it up and went with it anyway. Biggggggg mistake. Let me say that again. Biggggggggggg mistake. I covered the mushroom in fondant, painted it, and it looked pretty cool, but was way heavy. So next the cake. I used 12in, 10in, and 2 8in rounds. The 10in and one of the 8in I torted. I sculpted it some, crumb coated it, and the next day covered it in fondant...I had my tree stump, and man it looked great. However, my mushroom was not looking so hot. I patched it up again, and decided to go with it. Ok, one more time....bigggggg mistake. I put it on the tree, in the back part (uhhhh, DUH?! That mushroom was so heavy, and there was NOT enough support) so of course, that part of the cake started to squish. And then.....the base of the mushroom started to split. I decided to cut my losses with the mushroom, tossed it in the trash...but then was left with a crater in the top of the cake from where the heavy mushroom sank. Quick thinking came up with a puddle made out of blue tinted piping gel.
I hate it that I get ahead of myself a lot of the time with cakes, and don't completely think things through. I had no support in the cake, no support under that darn mushroom. What was I thinking?! I kind of wish to do another of these cakes soon, to redeem myself!!!
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4 days ago