Have My Cake, and Eat It Anyway

1 Mar

Things I (We) Love:  Cooking Blogs

Too bad this isn’t one.  And although I seldom follow a recipe as written, my combined fear of causing plagerism, boredom, and upset stomachs has kept me from posting too many recipes.

Here’s another Thing I (We) Love:  Cake Wrecks

And as I mentioned the other day I’ve made enough buttercream disasters to warrant my own amateur category over there.

So today, I’m going to combine those two loves, and provide you with a Cooking Cake Wrecks post.  I’ll reveal a few secrets, some in the form of cakes that would be better left unseen, and others that are my ways of avoiding unsightly icing mounds.

Secret 1

This is the really, really, really important one, so take note:  AVOID FROSTING.

I didn’t understand this one for the first several years.  Sure, sometimes I tried to cover it up with cookies, and innumerable candles.  But other times I let it try to carry the show.

It sounds like an impossibility to avoid frosting altogether, right?  Because unless you’re like our Mom who served us chocolate cake with butter on top (nope, I’m not making that up), frosting is pretty much expected.

But take me seriously, frosting is the enemy.

It should not be trusted.  It will not help you.

Secret 2

Avoid fondant.

It might be pretty, and give you smooth results, but steer clear.

That is, unless you like having your husband ask every time you pull out the mixer, “Will you please make edible frosting this time?”

Secret 3

Toys.

They cover a multitude of sins and globs.  Also, they pull the cake recipient’s attention away from the fact that you spent little time on the creation of his birthday dreams.

And if you buy a big enough toy you can simply dump the cake in, add a little of Secret 6, and the birthday boy will be none the wiser.

Secret 4

Make the cake interactive.

Like a toy, it adds the element of distraction.

And any unsightly frosting can be blamed on the children who were playing with their food.

Secret 5

Pyrotechnics.  This is a tip stolen straight from the big movie makers.  If you want a blockbuster, the dramatic and excessive use of fire always helps.

Secret 6

Candy.  I once made a cake covered entirely with different types of candy.  

Nothing screams “Happy Birthday” like pure sugar and Blue No.  2.

Candy can also be repurposed into a variety of objects from eyebrows,

to hair,

to delivery truck contents.

And don’t overlook the coverage properties of colored sugar and coconut.   Both fall in the candy category.

Secret 7

Fruit Roll-ups.  Like fondant, smashed sheets of dried fruit product provides smooth coverage.  Unlike fondant, fruit roll-ups are edible.

And here’s the really good news.  Sunkist now makes a fruit roll-up that is not tattooed with Sponge Bob.

This is the best news since, well, candy.  They are very versatile, a carefully stretched sheet of fruitified sucrose can make an innocent marshmallow into a ruddy schnoz.

(Sunkist is not paying me to advertise for their product, but if they would like to, I would happily accept their money.)

Secret 8

Keep asking your child what they want their cake to be until they finally give you an answer you like.  Then stick to that.  If they say they want a model of Superman leaping tall buildings, ask them again tomorrow.  If they say they want an ice cream cake with gummy bears, be thankful for dental coverage and take on the task.

And if they say they want a cake that looks like a cookie, agree loudly, and never bring it up again.

Especially if you plan to give birth to twins two days later.

Secret 9

Save this secret  for an emergency.  Use it cautiously, because you will probably only be able to pull it once, and only if they are quite young.  But in an extreme situation it is helpful to remember that:

they are called panCAKEs.

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4 Responses to “Have My Cake, and Eat It Anyway”

  1. Rachel March 2, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

    Next time I’m home I was planning to scan the pictures of all the cakes Ione made for me. No cake wrecks there!!!

    And, honestly, I think your cakes always look amazing. =)

    • Christina Joy March 6, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

      The only one I remember is the big Barbie skirt cake.

  2. Adriana @ Classical Quest March 6, 2012 at 8:50 pm #

    If I showed my kids these pics, they would be so jealous!

    • Christina Joy March 6, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

      It’s all good until someone tries to eat it.

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