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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Cake Wreck Recovery

I look at a lot of pretty party blogs and think, "Man, these mamas have got their stuff together!"  They probably aren't scrambling to hide junk in their bedroom as guests are coming up the walkway. They probably aren't yelling at their kid with empty threats of,  "Stop CRYING or I will cancel your party!" They probably even get in a shower before putting on a perfectly tasteful strand of pearls. 

But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe they're more like me than I think, they're just not 'fessing up to the madness behind the tissue poms. I know all the party blogs and Pinterest boards can make even the best hostess feel a little deflated and insecure. Is it enough? Are mustaches in or out? Where can I get chevron paper straws for my mason jars?  Trust me, I get swept up in the trends, too.  It's fun! And I love throwing parties. But truth be told, it is ugh-lee up in here up to the very last second.  I am a sweaty, smelly stressball making mad dashes to get everything ready: setting up tables, finishing last minute touches, cleaning up after a tornado of chaos, etc. I'm going to expose the ugly truth about the behind the scenes craziness that goes into those perfect parties you see in the blogosphere with a little story to make you feel better if everything doesn't go just right at your next soiree.
Sooooo. Y'ever have a baking day like this?

This triple decker beauty was for a party I was hosting later that afternoon. Like in 2 hours guests would be arriving.  Crap!  This was going to be a gorgeous flower covered centerpiece on the buffet table for my kiddo's tiny Spring Fling party.  I don't know what went wrong because I bake these kinds of cakes all of the time.  I DID forget to grease the sides of the cake pans, which gave me some torn up sides. And then one of them cracked down the middle. And then it all just crumbled and fell apart when I tried to stack the layers. Yikes.  What's a hostess with guests on the way to do?
STEP 1: Head to the grocery store! My Vons had some simply decorated, double layer carrot cakes for $9.99 a pop. This juuust might work.  I picked up two of them and rushed home to Frankenstein them together.
STEP 2: Stack the cakes.  I happened to have a cardboard cake round and some plastic drinking straws to cut up and insert in the bottom cake as supports.
STEP 3: Scrape off the "carrot" globs.
STEP 4: Scrape off the coconut flakes, fill in the separation between the stacked cakes and break up the crusted over frosting.

Then get ready to go royal icing transfer CRAZY:
This was the original idea for the cake I wanted to make, only it turned out a bit larger than I initially planned.  I had premade all of these royal icing flowers, so I just started pressing them into the sticky frosting, layering the smaller ones on top to cover any gaps. This was going to work! Crisis averted.  Almost.
Top view
Back view. Ok.  Hold up. This is not cute.  Of course I didn't have enough flowers to cover the whole cake. (Did I mention the store cakes were a bit larger than I had originally planned for?)  Luckily this wasn't for a client and my party guests like a good laugh! And I could turn this side towards the wall to hide it. Thankfully it all worked out in the end.  Whew!
From disaster to delightful in 20 minutes!


  1. Applause, applause! Great save there...and I'm sure the Spring Fling guests loved it!

  2. Great idea! But I'm curious as to how you cut into a cake covered with hard royal icing flowers? Take them off before cutting and place some flowers on each guests plate?

  3. What a fantastic save:) And now the homemade cake is perfect for cake balls!!!! That is what I do with all wrecked cakes. It is nice to see that even the pros have days like that.

  4. Oh my gosh! That's the total best ever girl! Way to save it!

  5. I'm thinking I won't make cakes anymore...I'll just buy them and do this...this was the BEST post ever!!!

  6. LOL What a wonderful post! You are right, looking at blog posts - they make it look so easy...like no one has these kind of issues. When in reality, we all go through this. When I host parties, my husband stays out of my way because I turn into a raging, stressed out hag.

    Your cake was absolutely beautiful....completely covered or not. AND now you have a great story to tell! Thank goodness for friends that know how to laugh with you.

  7. This is so great! I have totally had a day like, but my recovery was not that graceful!!! You're too good!

  8. LOVED this post. Thanks for sharing your behind the scenes! :) Great save!

  9. Loved this! Everybody shows the "good side" and I'm in love with you even more for showing the not quite perfect side. Your quick thinking and creativity saved the day! and hearing about your process made me picture you, getting a little stressed and uttering, "OH! Shhhhh-UGAR! ha ha

  10. Love the "Real Life of a Sugar Pro" moment you shared here...especially that you still took time to take pictures in the midst of all the chaos. I do that too, just to bank stress for later, I guess. Love your work, even the messy stuff! Kristina

  11. I feel so much better:) I have had quite a few of these disasters over the years, but they don't turn out as beautifully as yours:) After all was said and done, the backside photo was the best! :) You're awesome!

  12. OMG thank you for letting us see that even someone as talented as yourself can have a bad day. This is why I don't do cakes, they stress me out big time. Your icing flowers are sooooo pretty!

  13. haha! Suddenly I don't feel that bad LOL. Awesome save! The cake turned beautiful. That is thinking fast at its best ;) Angela, you are awesome, and funny


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