Sunday, January 18, 2009

Amateur cake decoration: It takes forever.

Chickie's birthday party is over! It went really well, and we all had a great time, but, boy, am I tired. I'm glad birthdays only come around once a year, and I'm glad I only have two kids.

The cake took on a life of its own. Chickie has been talking about getting a WALL-E cake for months. I love to take on creative tasks I'm totally unqualified for, so I decided to make it. (And if Cake Wrecks has taught me anything, it's that however bad my amateur efforts are, I could definitely find a professional whose results would be worse.)

I found a few things online:
I made the cake a couple of days in advance and froze it. My mom gave me this hint: You can ice a frozen cake (as long as you leave plenty of time for it to thaw before serving, of course!) The hard, frozen cake is so much easier to work with than a room-temperature cake.

Friday I layered the cake, made chocolate cream cheese frosting, and iced it. I used a scraper to make it nice and smooth. It took forever.


Photobucket

I then realized WALL-E, who has lots of gray, wouldn't show up well on the brown frosting. So I made my buttercream icing and put a smooth rectangle on the cake. Again...it took forever.

Photobucket

I used a toothpick to draw the design.

Photobucket

I left with The Engineer, dropped the kids off with some friends, and my man and I ate greasy Mexican food for dinner to celebrate our anniversary. Then we went to Starbucks. When we got home and got the kids to bed, I got back to work.

Did I say that smoothing the icing took forever? I should have saved that superlative to describe the amount of time it took me to do the WALL-E design.

Photobucket

All in all, icing and decorating the cake took about five hours. But I loved how it turned out. And Chickie was enthusiastic.

Photobucket

It might be forever before I do another cake. And by "forever" I mean a couple of months.... Zoodle's birthday is at the end of March.

32 comments:

Liz said...

That is something I could NEVER do. It looks fantastic!!

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Please save me a piece?! I have never in my life baked a cake, and you have inspired me!

Monica said...

NOT a cake wreck. That is beautiful!!!

Lyndsay said...

Seriously in awe! Isn't it amazing what you can teach yourself to do via Google? Of course you need the drive and creativity to start ... that's where it always goes wrong for me ;)

beckiwithani said...

That looks SO good! Supermarket bakeries, where I think most of the Cake Wrecks are from, couldn't have even approached how good that looks.

I wonder how much cake decorators at a not-bad bakery get paid. $15/hour? You probably took an hour to make the cake, plus 5 hours to ice it ... So you could've bought a $90 cake, if time is money. ;)

Michelle Brunner said...

Excellent job! I love it and it looked like Chickie did to:)

Call Me Cate said...

You did an amazing job! And something this cake has over a supermarket cake is taste. I'm betting it was delicious and supermarket cakes tend to be a little bland to me. Also, this cake has a whole lot more love which is really what it's all about.

The Archduchess said...

Okay, that is adorable. And most definitely not a Wreck. Rock on!

Ginger said...

Coming from a cake decorator (not professional by any means; I decorate for DQ), that is beautiful Beth! And I couldn't agree more that smoothing icing isn't an easy task. Oh, and the freezing the cake before icing it also prevents crumbs from getting all through the icing!!

Tia said...

Well done! You are such a good mama!

Rachel Cotterill said...

Good job! :) My mum used to make me the most amazing cakes, every birthday - not enough people take the time these days. I have done some professional sugarcraft & I can tell you that cake would be just fine in a shop, plus Chickie will always know that her cakes had the extra special ingredient of LOVE.

Katie said...

that is fantastic!!!

Mama to a diva said...

Well done! What a beautiful and creative (and tasty looking) cake. I am now hanging my head in shame, since the Diva's party is today and I passed cupcake baking duties on to Grammy. Great job!

Mary said...

I'm impressed that you were willing to take 5+ hours to make the birthday cake. I'm sure your daughter's reaction made it all worth it.

Sandra said...

As I've mentioned recently, I am in AWE of your willingness to jump into a project and make it your own! What a great cake!

Kerri said...

That's amazing....Congratulations on a job well done!

Mike Fan said...

WOW! Amazing cake! Sounds like Chickie definitely had a great party! Happy [belated] 3rd!!

I love the really creative Wally-inspired design, especially the "T-H-R-E-E" lettering! :P

Mike
http://365Sonnets.blogspot.com
http://SomeTurbidNight.blogspot.com
http://VoglioTempo.blogspot.com

beckiwithani said...

Hey, did you notice that today - the same day that you posted this thing about your cake - you were a Wreckporter again? (At least I think it was you!)

Dan & Hillary and little Russell said...

Wow. Very impressed! Can you make a Curious George cake and send it in the mail, stat?? Thanks.

ElleBee said...

Impressive!!! Be careful, though. A girlfriend of mine once made a birthday cake with all of the decorating bells and whistles and now she's hooked...homemade marshmallow fondant and everything! :)

Rebecca said...

you did awesome!!! did you ever see my Mickey cake??? I tell ya, NEVER again! you know how long it took you... you can sympathize with me!

Kirsten W. said...

Wow! It looks AWESOME! Great work!

Faith said...

Beautiful!!! You did a great job. I am totally impressed.

If you put a thin layer of frosting on before you freeze the cake, it is even easier than icing a plain frozen cake. Also, to make smoothing easier, smooth it as best you can but don't obsess (I tend to obsess). Then, when the frosting sets, use a little water on a non-patterned paper towel to smooth out the little ridges.

pestr - hm...somehow my word verification makes me feel obnoxious.

C. Beth said...

Liz--Thank you! Aww, you should try it. The nice thing is, even if it turns out awful, it's still yummy. :)

A Woman of No Importance--Come on over; we have extra! :)

Monica--Thank you!! I actually was really happy with it.

Lyndsay--Ha! You are so busy--I know you have plenty of drive and creativity!

Becki--One day I may decide to do the $90 cake instead! But for now--it's nice to have the money in my pocket and the pride in my heart. (I know how cheesy that sounds; that's why I wrote it.) :)

Michelle Brunner--Oh, yes, she was very excited about it! Of course, after eating it, she later wanted a cheapo Wal-Mart cupcake, which I also had available. So she's not exactly discriminating in her taste. :)

Call Me Cate--You know, the taste was different. The icing was great. The cake was a little dense--The Engineer pointed out it was more like pound cake. Also less sweet than a grocery store cake. He liked it. I would guess some guests preferred it and some would prefer the supermarket cake--depending how sweet you like your sweets!

The Archduchess--Thank you!!

Ginger--Thank you! Mmm, DQ cake...I got one of those for MY birthday last year!

Tia--Thanks to another great mama! :)

Rachel--Aww, thank you!! That's very nice to hear from someone who knows what she's talking about! My mom used to make incredibly-decorated cakes for my sister brother and me too.

Katie--Thank you so much!

Mama to a diva--Aww, NOTHING wrong with passing on baking duties to Grammy! We're going to visit my parents tomorrow (my mom is also "Grammy") and I will be passing along plenty of duties! ;-D

Mary--She really did love it! She won't probably remember it...but I will!!

Sandra--Thank you! It's funny, this willingness to try new things--often it works, like on this project. Sometimes it blows up in my face, like when I first tried the yellow cake recipe earlier in the week and they were not too great. So, you win some, you lose some--but it's almost always fun in the process!

Kerri--Thank you!! I was proud of it!

Mike Fan--YAY, I'm glad you noticed the THRE-E thing; I was particularly fond of that part. :)

Becki--SO awesome, thank you for pointing that out!!

Hillary--Ha--I'll get right on that. But you know, with the mail these days, it may never get to you. Better have a backup just in case. ;)

ElleBee--Gotta say, after all the smoothing I am thinking fondant is a good idea! I'd probably just buy it though. :)

Rebecca--No, I don't think I ever saw your Mickey cake! You should send me a pic!

Kirsten--Thank you so much! :)

Faith--Ooh, great advice! Thank you! Filing it away for future use....

Crazy Mo said...

Beth, that is absolutely amazing! You're my hero!!

Our Scoop said...

Beth! That is SOOOOO great!!! You are so multi-talented! I would never have had the stamina to keep at it for 5 hours. Mine would have definitely been a cake wreck!!

C. Beth said...

Crazy Mo--Oh, THANKS! I have "Wind Beneath My Wings" in my head now.

Our Scoop--Thank you! Thankfully the 5 hours was over 2 sessions. But my shoulders are still sore from bending over the cake for so long! Can't wait to see you soon! :)

Jennypenny said...

I laughed when I read the title of your post. I just made my son's cake last week. Every year I insist on making the cake, and I also pick designs which I am completely unqaulified for. Last year, I made a Spongebob cake that made me curse a lot and took a lot of time, but turned out great. This year I picked something I thought was simple, but still took a LONG time. Even though I don't always produce the masterpiece I envision, and it always seems to be a lot more work than I plan on, it's still worth it! Oh, and your cake turned out great. Good job!

stacief said...

That is sooo cool, Beth! What a great cake! All I am doing is putting Cars on my cake...not very creative.

Claire said...

That is just too cool! What a great job you did. I am in awe, and equally ashamed of all the cakes I have purchased for my daughter :)

Kudos to you, and I can't wait to see the next one!

DeDe said...

Look out Beth- I began cake decorating for the kids when the boys were very young and I have since made many a cake (my last one was an ugly yellow cake that was supposed to look like a bowling ball- I was seriously illequipt for this one) but- I really have had fun doing it- I think I am best at using the star tips and a decorating bag with the buttercreame icing- yum! You did great! i love it!

BorreroBlessing said...

Sorry, I write this really late... like 9 months late! But...
Looking back, I thought your cake came out totally fine. You are not unqualified, you are very talented!!!

Btw, we made the cake for Coqui's pirate party also from scratch, and it was so much fun. It took us literally a day, but it was fun....