I learned something valuable about myself this weekend. I am not destined to be a cake decorator - or even a baker.
Don't get me wrong, I love to bake. However, I learned Friday night that I prefer to bake only for those I know and not on a grand scale. It's a lot of pressure to bake for multiple strangers!
A friend of ours celebrated a 20 year anniversary and I committed to making the cake for the celebration. Her favorite cake is a Pepperidge Farm White Coconut Cake - a cake I have never made before and didn't really understand. Is it coconut cake with white frosting? Is it white cake with coconut frosting? I was unsure and either way, I should have definitely done a trial run before making a cake for 100 people.
K said it was white cake with coconut frosting so I went on a mission to find a recipe for coconut frosting. Most of them were really lame... using just coconut flavoring and they sounded boring. I finally found a cream cheese coconut frosting and - HELLOOOO... I LOVE cream cheese frosting so I was sold. I know, I know... It wasn't my cake so I should have kept searching for a regular coconut frosting, but I was running out of time so I just went with it.
On my way home from work, I went to the store and bought four boxes of white cake, a ton of powdered sugar, a ton of cream cheese, a ton of butter and some coconut. (I should have realized right then and there that the ratio of coconut to everything else was off, but I didn't.)
Let the disasters begin.
I put the first two 9 x 13 cakes in and they came out looking great. I was off to a good start! I let those two cakes cool and threw in two round cakes. When I thought the first two cakes were cool enough, I attempted to get them out of their baking dish. Uh oh. They weren't coming out as easily as I had hoped. &%$#! What did I do wrong?!
K worked in a bakery for a while so I left them to her to figure out how to get them out without crumbling them to pieces. It was a hopeless cause!
This was at about 10:30 PM. We took a moment to figure out a game plan. I certainly didn't have the time or energy to bake four more cakes, let them cool, then decorate them. I decided we'd do some cupcakes since it's pretty hard to mess those up and bake another 9 x 13 cake (K was able to piece a 9 x 13 back together.) If the cake fails again, at least we will have the cupcakes for our friend, and everyone else can eat a store bought cake!
See? It's hard to screw up cupcakes. They looked so good someone stole one before I could even take the picture. I felt really bad though because after I got back from the store, I was super frustrated and realized that these cupcakes weren't being baked with love. :o( I told that story to someone at the party and they said, "I feel that same way sometimes too. It's OK, angry cake tastes good too." That made me feel a little better.
So the cakes weren't the only disaster. While the cupcakes were baking, I thought I better start making the frosting so K can start frosting the cake she saved. I mixed all the ingredients together, stirred in the coconut and... It barely freaking tasted like coconut!!! The coconut was the whole point! GRRRRR! Well, it was too late now to change the recipe, so I just had to go with it and hope it worked.
K had the brilliant idea that she would make a sand dollar to put on the cake because our friend as a sentimental connection to them and recently got a tattoo. That was kind of a nightmare too. The sand dollar started out much larger than it ended up, but I think K did a nice job and recovered nicely.
Not bad, right? I mean, it's no Ace of Cakes or Cake Boss, but it worked.
And for the final product we had a beach scene with a sand dollar:
I think it turned out pretty cute considering we were up until 3:30 am baking and getting the initial frosting done. We did the finishing touches the next morning before the party... We wont mention how we were almost an hour and a half late, but I guess better late than never. The guests seemed to really like the cake... Either that, or they were being nice. LOL
When all else fails, cover the scraps left over in chocolate frosting and devour. At least that's what we did. :o)