My BIL Marc will be turning 40 on April 6th. Last Saturday was his combo party that he shared with his son, my nephew, Jacob (who turned 6). I had this great idea in my head to make Marc’s cake. In my head the cake looked fanfreakingtastic. In my head my cake looked something like this. But my cake would have lots of personal details. 40 ounces, established in 1969, etc. I bought a bunch of supplies (not cheap). CSP said I should probably make a practice cake. But I was so sure of myself I didn’t. I was raised thinking I could do anything. So even though I’ve only taken the Wilton cake decorating level 1 class I thought for sure I could make a free standing, fondant covered, hand painted, realistic yet cartoony, beer can cake. Why not? I made a great looking, if hazardous to eat fondant covered cake for Momo’s birthday 2 years ago. SUCCESS!
I baked a ton of cakes in my specially bought pan. I stacked them and spread the filling in between the layers. I inserted supports just like they do on HGTV. Things were going well! I carved my cake, tapering the top just so while using one of CSP’s beer cans for inspiration. My sketch was nearby, but all the details were burned in my brain. I made butter cream icing and spread on the crumb coat. Things still going well! I rolled out my fondant (store bought). The fondant was fighting me a bit. It was tough to get it as thin as I needed it to be. I carefully picked up the fondant and gently draped it over the cake.
This is when my world went to HELL. The cake started shrinking. Squinching all down. My dowels poked right through the fondant! Then the fondant started tearing. I pulled the fondant off the cake to try and repair the damage. Now, those of you who are reading and thinking to yourself “What you should have done was…”, please PLEASE don’t tell me. It’s still too soon. The pain- too raw. I have decided to take Wilton cake decorating levels 2-4 before I attempt another complicated cake.
Back to my ginormous FAIL in the making… At this point it was about 2 am. The party was the next day at 1 pm. I was determined to fix this. I had about 3 lbs of homemade butter cream icing ready to be used as decoration. I could do this! So, I pulled the fondant off, very carefully. With the fondant came icing and large chunks of cake! DAMMIT!!! Ok, no problem. I fixed the chunks in the cake and scraped the fondant clean. I re-rolled the fondant to try and get it thinner and therefore less heavy so it wouldn’t weigh down my cake. I re-draped the fondant and went through the above nightmare all over again! But remember, I was determined. AND a little punch drunk since I’d been awake so long. I replayed the above scenario a few more times. Each time more chunks came out of the cake. Each time the cake got shorter and shorter until finally it looked a hell of a lot less like a tall, stately 40 oz can of ice cold brew and more like a squatty stump. At this point it was about 4 am. It was too late in the game to bake more cakes and add them to the stack PLUS try and sleep. I decided I could salvage the situation by making it a mini beer can. But try as I might, the best I could make it look resembled a square marshmallow.
So I cried, gave up, and went to bed. The next morning, after 3 hours of sleep, I woke up early and tried to salvage the cake one last time. Hours later I was left with this:
Noon had come and gone and we were supposed to be at the party soon. So I called Bloom & begged them to turn one of their stock cakes into an Over the Hill type cake. $20 and 2 hours later we arrived at the party (of course Bloom didn’t have my cake ready so we had to wait and it made us late). So now I was finally at the party with over $75 spent on cake supplies and a crappy grocery store cake!
I just hate when I think I can do something and I can’t. Of course this whole experience has me more determined than ever to one day make that beer cake that’s in my head. Hmmm, CSP is turning 40 in 2011!