Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Great Cake Catastrophe

I am going to do a little blog therapy this afternoon - so bear with me. 

I bake cakes on a fairly regular basis as part of my personal chef business.  Every cake is unique and special but every once in a while, a cake comes along that I will remember for a VERY long time.  This weekend I made one of those cakes.  Everything that could have gone wrong - went wrong.  So as I sit here sipping my wine cooler, I will tell you the tale of this beautiful birthday cake.

Gum paste was the name of the game in my house last week.  I spent hours making flowers and leaves to use on this special birthday cake. 

The first batch that I made was eaten by my beloved Weimaraner and that's all I'm going to say about that.

By the time I was finished, I ended up with 124 flowers and well over 150 leaves to use on my cake. 

This is the second hummingbird that I made out of gum paste.  (The first one didn't turn out.)  I painted it with food coloring and luster dust to make it shimmer.  

Friday was baking day.  This is what my counter looked like before I started baking the cakes. 

9 cakes baked and ready to fill. That was the easy part.

Here I am making the lemon filling for the cakes.

One the cakes were cool, I filled them with lemon filling and stacked them three to a tier.  Once they were stacked, I carefully placed the supports inside each tier to help support the weight of the cakes.  At this point, I put the cakes in the refrigerator to chill and started on the divinity icing.  I'm not really sure what I did wrong - but the icing was a disaster.  It ended up taking me several tries to get the icing to the right consistency.

After a short dinner break, I pulled the tiers out of the refrigerator and started decorating.  Since I was having issues with temperamental icing, I decided to tier the cake at home and transport it completely decorated. 

Just before moving the cake to the refrigerator in the basement, we weighed the cake - 40 pounds!

That is when everything started to fall apart (literally).  In the process of transporting the cake down the basement steps, it started to slide.  The supports inside the cake weren't strong enough to support the weight and the tiers began to collapse.  Nightmare!

 As quickly as we could, my husband and I started to pull flowers and leaves off of the cake.  I took the tiers apart and tried to salvage whatever I could.  (A stressful 20 minutes to say the least.)  I discovered after I started to scrape the icing off of each tier the the supports were actually collapsed and forced through the bottom tier of the cake.  I have never seen that happen before! 

After 4 (very long) hours of reconstruction and a late night trip to the hardware store for stronger supports, the cake was once again ready for transport.  (This time in pieces.)

Even with the cake in pieces, it was a tense delivery.  

With a huge sigh of relief, that I tell you that the cake was delivered and decorated without incident.  In the end, it turned out to be a beautiful cake.  Now, I am off to relax and maybe even take a nap.

Bon Appetit!

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