Have you ever had such high hopes for something, that you don’t even consider the end result will be anything except for everything you ever imagined? It happens to me a lot. Especially when I’m decorating cakes. I get these fabulous ideas, grandiose even, but sometimes when I start working on them…the ideas just don’t materialize. It’s not that I don’t know what I’m doing or that I don’t have the skills or technique, but sometimes things just don’t work out. …At least the way I want them to.
The above cake, for example, came out all busted up when I turned it out of the pan. I greased the pan with butter, put parchment paper on the bottom and even greased that too. It didn’t matter. There was nothing, short of insane amounts of frosting, that would save this cake. Luckily, the recipe had made enough batter that I had plenty left over for 2 more 6″ cakes…and this small crisis was really no crisis at all. Instead, I had leftover cake scraps to share with my family and co-workers. Everyone was happy.
It made me laugh, actually. Earlier in the day I had been watching an old episode of “The French Chef.” Julia was making sugar syrup and caramel. I can’t remember the exact details now, but I do remember she made a mistake. Instead of freaking out and throwing everything into the garbage she simply looked into the camera and said,
“If you’re not ready to fail, you’re not ready to cook.”
She went on to share tips on how to turn your failures into something that you had not necessarily intended, but were proud of anyway. This way your guests would have no idea that your failure was not your intention…does that make sense?
Anyway…back to the cake. This cake was a mini-wedding cake for one of my co-workers. She wanted a pumpkin cake (recipe) with cinnamon brown sugar buttercream. The only thing I was told was that it should be simple and incorporate trees and nature. That left a lot of room for my mind to wander and it was getting a little overwhelming. I had so many ideas…but no idea if they were the right ones!
I thought about doing pulled sugar leaves…that didn’t work out (pulled sugar is NOT easy!!! Instead we ended up with giant leaf lollipops). Then I thought about making gumpaste leaves and flowers, but I wasn’t really feelin’ it. So the other day when one of my other co-workers stopped by my house to get some Chinese Lanterns to use in the flower arrangements, I asked her if she had any ideas (see her website here). I told her I wanted to do some sort of a tree topper but wasn’t sure what direction to go in. We brainstormed a little bit and walked around my yard collecting branches and twigs. Since she was doing all the flowers for the wedding she said she’d make a topper to go along with all her arrangements. It turned out incredible! The wedding is tomorrow and its taking place in a really awesome stone barn that is about 100 years old. It’s decorated with a fall theme, using all sorts of things found in nature during this time of year. When I delivered the cake today I just couldn’t get over how beautiful it was!
The cake went together rather quickly and I had no other issues (tutorial coming soon!). I was glad, mostly because I didn’t have a lot of time to do this cake and was trying to fit it in. I was only asked about a week ago but I really wanted her to have a beautiful cake…so I made it all work :).
Piyush helped me deliver the cake today. I was really nervous about it because the whole cake is buttercream…and buttercream is temperamental. It also is very easy to completely wreck the decoration of the cake. One harsh turn or one quick stop…the cake could be damaged beyond easy repair. The place we were taking the cake to was about 30 miles away, with curvy roads, so it was kind of a scary ride. We made it though! I didn’t even have to touch anything up! I packed it in a box with towels around the cake stand to keep it from moving, and then I prayed. Oh man…did I pray!
And here, my friends, is the finished product (there will be some additional flowers tucked in around the base of the cake topper and probably around the cake as well):
Edited to add:
Here is the final cake, I just thought I’d share!