The Cake That Almost Killed Me

I made a wedding cake.

Ahhhhhhhhhh!  
I MADE A WEDDING CAKE!!!

I still can't decide if I'm glad I did it.  Part of me feels accomplished and proud.  The other part of me thinks it didn't turn out perfect and I almost lost my mind, so it was the dumbest decision ever.  
(Hmmm.... glass half full or half empty?)

A friend asked me to do this months ago.  A friend that has way more faith in me than I do. 
 First I said no, then avoided the subject, but I finally caved and committed.  I spoke with the bride and she was easygoing (whew!).  She didn't want anything too fancy, but did want fondant.  I don't have a healthy relationship with fondant (read this post).  In fact, we broke up.  So this task required repairing my strained relationship with fondant.  Getting back together seemed great at first.  I made a practice cake and it turned out okay.  Not perfection, but my edges were sharp, the square was, well square and the level was spot on. 

But for some reason, just thinking about this cake gave me anxiety like I've never had before.  I'm talking insomnia, loss of appetite, messy house, cold sweats, wanted to hide, wanted to quit, etc.  I was certifiable at the point of actually covering the cake.  The good news was that my husband was out of town the whole weekend so he didn't have to wittiness the crazy and still wants to be married.  

When it came down to it, I had major cracking issues with the fondant.  I ended up covering each layer 3 times each, wasting a lot of fondant and re-sharpening the crumb coat between each time.  I tried to work fast but still had those issues I didn't have on my practice cake or any other cake for that matter.  I don't know if I just psyched myself out or what the reason was, but I had issues.  Because of the edges tendency to crack, the more I tried to sharpen them and make them perfect, the worse it got.  So my final product was not near as sharp or as awesome as I wanted it to be.  It wasn't an epic fail but I wouldn't really call it a success either.  :(

My only saving grace was the 200 cupcakes that made the whole presentation better.  
And I used my fave cake stands (tutorial here) at the bride's request.  

I also made some fun little flags for the chocolate cupcakes.  The other two flavors of cupcakes had some different flowers made out of modeling chocolate.  Unfortunately I only snapped a few phone pics of this whole debacle and these pics are all I've got.    

So that's the story.  
And at the end of it, I HAD to question my sanity in committing to something I had no business doing. 
I'm not very good at cakes!  Why do I feel the need to push myself beyond my abilities?

ANSWER:  I blame my childhood.
Specifically, I blame my mom.  

She somehow raised me to believe in myself.  To know -without a doubt- that I can do ANYTHING I decide I can do.  She told me for as long as I could remember that there was something special about me.  She praised my talents, encouraged my education and valued all of the simple accomplishments along the way.  She was an amazing example of living life to it's fullest and taking opportunities as they come.  Most importantly she helped me understand that failure is part of the learning process.

My mom has been gone for more than 10 years now, but her belief in me remains.  I think she would have been proud of my attempt at this project.  She might have laughed at me and sent me to therapy, but she would have been proud.  I'm so thankful for her, and the other people in my life who believe in me.  Yes, this cake ALMOST killed me, but "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."  

I'm ready for another challenge.  

12 comments:

  1. it looks so beautiful and yummy ;D

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  2. good for you! I would have been in tears!

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  3. It looks beautiful!! Yeah for trying to mend your fondant break up!

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  4. Oh dear...I have such a similar story about myself. I can't even tell you how much I know what you went through with this cake! Really...I'll spare you the details. But I will tell you that I have a certificate in Pastry Arts from the French Cullinary Institute in NYC...and I think fondant is a nightmare to work with! It also tastes terrible and it confuses the people that are eating it. LOL They never know if they're supposed to peel it off or not. When I finished school, I did a french dessert wedding buffet for a couple! I NEVER should have said yes! I still cringe when I think about it! haha
    Your pictures look great though and I'm sure your friend was so happy that you did the cake for her!
    Erica :)

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  5. I bet you're harder on yourself--the cake looks fabulous and the cupcakes perfect! XOXO

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  6. I think the cake looks pretty and yummy--and I love the story about your mom. Love love love.

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  7. I never doubted you could do it! Ever since you were goldilocks in your Kindergarden play, I knew my sister was awesome!

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  8. You did a beautiful job! My Mom was a pastry chef and I know from watching her that fondant is a horror show. Just a small change in weather can affect the results! You did great and the cupcakes are wonderful!

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  9. It looks great! The cupcakes are beautiful too! Was the wedding at a lavender farm in turlock??? Pete's friend just got married and that room that the cake is in looks very familiar???

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  10. That tribute to your mom at the end is so sweet! She sounds like she was a great lady :).

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  11. I always love to hear stories about your mom. I miss her too.

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