And I took some photos:
Redefining Middle Age
And I took some photos:
It’s been two years since I made a cake, and never have I made one for a wedding. Wedding cakes are scary because that is a moment in time that can never be regained if it goes wrong. When my friends Glenn and Val asked me to make their wedding cake I was honored they trusted me with it, and at the same time terrified of letting them down.
A couple of months ago I started making the orchids. My Facebook friends are probably sick of looking at my instagram progress photos of these orchids.
It was challenging at first because once the various parts dry they can be rather fragile.
Wiring them together took a little finesse.
Once I finished the flowers and wired them into a spray I thought I was pretty much home free. This was the hardest part, right? I was a little worried that the heavy flowers would tear away from the fondant, but I already had a plan if that happened.
My friend Pam was generous enough to offer to do the actual baking, which helped me a lot. And boy oh boy, her cakes and fillings are delicious! I just had a bite of cake, OK 3 bites of cake, from the first in a long line of things that went wrong. As I said, it’s been over 2 years since I made a cake, so one of my layers was a dismal and yet delicious leaning tower of fail. My poor husband has offered to eat the evidence, because that’s the kind of guy he is. Always willing to take one for the team.
All day I torted, filled, stacked and buttercreamed cakes. After all 4 cakes chilled out in the fridge I started covering them in fondant. At the end of July in Nevada (where it’s drier than a sawdust sandwich) working with fondant is tricky because it dries and cracks really easily, especially on 95* days. Each cake I covered in fondant, I set aside on the counter because once you put fondant in the fridge it hardens into an impenetrable force field that just laughs at cake knives.
Did I mention it was 95*? And that I don’t have air conditioning? And since my internal thermostat has decided that 95* is perfectly comfortable, I didn’t notice how hot it was in the house. The buttercream under the fondant started to melt. My perfect (ok, almost perfect) layers now sported more ripples than a shar-pei as the fondant sagged and slid down the sides of the cakes.
*cue meltdown that included pronouncements of NEVER AGAIN and I’M GETTING RID OF ALL MY CAKE STUFF” and much hand wringing*
Crashing and burning in front of a hundred people is not on my Life List.
Pam and I devised Plan B. I would go get yards and yards of sheer organza and tie it around the cakes to cover the ripples, because I definitely couldn’t take it like it was, and I just as definitely couldn’t show up empty handed. It was a wedding – there must be cake! And it must! not! suck! It would still be pretty, but it wouldn’t be what I had envisioned for this cake.
About 4:30 the next morning I decided that was bullshit and cheating and fuck me sideways if I’ll be beat by a cake and cranky-ass fondant. I carefully peeled the wrinkled, bubbled and cracked fondant off of every one of those cakes. I buttercreamed each one again and chucked them in the fridge. I was at the store when it opened to get more fondant, and I re-covered those cakes and slapped them in the fridge again as fast as I could because hard fondant was infinitely better than melted cakes.
After that all I had to do was get it there. On another 95* day, about an hour’s drive from my house, up the side of a mountain. Luckily the Yukon has rear A/C vents and we blasted the A/C the whole way there. I was a frozen nervous wreck by the time we got to the venue, but finally my luck had turned and we made it with the cakes intact. All I had to do was set it up and then it was out of my hands.
Apparently the Universe decided I’d had enough because I didn’t break any orchids or stick my finger in the side of the cake. It went together pretty much like I wanted it to, and it even looked straight and level. I took my first deep breath and set it free out into the world.
Every time I make one of these people ask me why I don’t do this for a living. I’ve considered it, but I’m not convinced it’s what I want to do. I don’t enjoy baking, so it was so nice to have Pam involved. She loves baking and doesn’t like decorating, while for me the baking is a necessary evil to get a medium with which to create edible art. If I had a setup like that each time, a cake business would be a lot more appealing.
Cake makes people happy. People love to look at it and they love to eat it. It’s always fun and gratifying to make something that makes people happy. It’s especially satisfying to make one you’re not sure you can actually pull off, and have it turn out well even after a cake disaster that seemed unrecoverable.
I always swear “never again” during the making when things are going wrong, because something always goes wrong, and then when it’s done I’m already thinking about another one, bigger and more complicated than the last.
It seems I’m not finished with cake yet.
Once in a while I am able to do what I do for people I love.
My friends are pretty awesome, so it makes me happy when I can do something for them.
See, my friends are going to be parents.
Today we had a party to celebrate the pending arrival of their new bundles of joy.
That’s right. I said bundles. With an “s.”
If I had heard the news that I was having twins I would have fallen off the exam table.
Not my friends. It’s not often in my life I am witness to something as beautiful as their overwhelming joy.
Asher and Cooper, we can’t wait to meet you!
You are going to have the most fantastic parents!
This cake was patterned after the crib set the Mom and Dad picked out. You can see that here.
Little Baby G is coming and she needed a welcome party! What does every party need? Well, every party that I’m involved in?
Baby G’s mom gave me a picture of her crib set so that I could get some ideas. Isn’t it the cutest? I think she’s really going to like it.
I stared by making the animals. They take a while to dry and need to be made ahead of time. Sometimes they need a little help holding their heads up until they dry.
This little zebra isn’t really hungry for pudding, although I wouldn’t blame him. He needed a little heads up for a while.
See how everyone gets along? The elephant decided to lend a trunk to the project. He didn’t want the zebra hanging his head either.
After they dried they all hung out with the palm fronds. The palm fronds had to dry before they could be made into trees. You can’t tell, but they’re actually blowing on them to help them dry.
The trees are a several stage process. Next they start looking like shrubs.
A lot of monkey business happened with this cake, but we got through it.
I think Baby G will like her cake.
Every new project starts with a little shopping. Does it look like a cake project yet?
How about now? Yes, that’s an anvil. No I didn’t use an anvil on this cake, but there was a torch involved. It’s like Monster Garage, only it’s cake.
Yes I always make fake antlers with my computer close by. Why do you ask?
Now you’re looking like something! But you need a little…schmutz. Those woodland creatures aren’t known for their bathing habits.
Ahhh, there we go! Airbrushes aren’t just for poofy clouds and rainbows yanno.
I’ll tell you a little secret – hidden under that chocolate fondant is dark chocolate cake with peanut butter buttercream. It’ll make your panties fall right off, it’s that good. I don’t make this stuff up.
There are times when I’m exceedingly arrogant about being able to do things. I’m usually pretty confident that I can figure out just about anything, as long as I set my mind to it. Sometimes that works out for me.
This weekend? I got my cocky butt kicked by some copper tubing and a torch. It seems I needed a little ego smackdown because the universe delivered one right to my door.
I’m working on a cake project. What does copper tubing and torches have to do with cakery, you ask? Why everything! I’m making a framework for some cake badassery that’s only going to be badass if it actually works out. That’s the fun part, in case you think I’m a little bent. The not knowing if it’s going to turn out right. It’s either going to be the shiznit or it’s going down in a burning ring of fire. There is no middle ground.
See, this is where I get myself in trouble every time. I see something in my head and automatically assume I’m going to be able to make it happen in 3D. Because clearly it should just jump right out of my head and onto a cake, and I should be able to do it all by myself because I’m just awesome like that. *cough* Right?
I always forget that the cakes that included sneaky behind the scenes craftodynamics were the cakes that were a result of teamwork.
Case in point:
This one wouldn’t have happened without hubs’ mad skillz. He made the framework for this cake for me and without his help it would have been just another flat fish on a board.
I have an independent streak about a mile and a half wide. I don’t like to ask for help. Maybe it’s because I was an only child for 9 years. Maybe I’m just a control freak. It just bugs the crap out of me to have to ask for help on projects that I can clearly envision in my head, and think that being able to see it means being able to make it happen.
Ego much? My issues are many and varied.
Hubs isn’t here right now to help me. See what I get for doing that happy hubcation dance? Universal smackdown via solder and flux. Now I have to wait until Tuesday for him to help me, which puts my schedule so far behind that I’m going to be in some serious weeds if my plan doesn’t come together all A-Team fashion, especially since I don’t have a Plan B.
Hubs is coming back Monday night. After I smooch him all over he’s going to look at this hot mess I’ve made and shake his head and tell me where I went wrong. Then he’ll probably pull out the whooopppppppaaahhhh!! and things will magically come together.
Because he’s awesome like that.
Eighteen years ago today The Boy was born. He didn’t want to be, his GINORMOUS head made sure that he was stuck tight, but I was tired of him kicking me around so at 12:26 am on this date the doctors pulled him kicking and screaming into this world.
Over the years there have been many things he didn’t want to do, like the potty thing. That took forever and he still can’t get his aim right.
And school. Hated it with the passion of a thousand suns until just last year.
But now, he’s going to graduate high school in just a little over a month, and he’s going off to college. Ha! More school! He wants to be on his own so bad he can taste it.
Which is exactly how it should be.
My little bug is all growed up now.
I am so proud that he’s grown into the person that he is. I am so happy that I got to be witness to his life, his transformation from the cutest little bug of a baby to a stunningly handsome young man, and that I get to watch him strike out on his own and create a whole new life for himself.
And yet as I write this, I am crying because those days are all gone. You always hear people say that they go by in the blink of an eye, but you never believe them. There are times when parts of it seem to drag on forever, and you think you can’t wait until they’re out of high school and on their own. But it all happens so soon.
I don’t give out parental advise, almost ever. But I have two words that I think every parent should know:
This is a cake I made for an avid fisherman I know who is having a birthday tomorrow. No really – it’s cake. (the fish, not the log). It was quite a lot of fun to make and gave me an excuse to pull out my airbrush. Happy Birthday Peter!