I think I had the most incredible stroke of luck happen to me yesterday.
Some months ago, I took an order for a "union ceremony" cake and the entire dessert table. I was excited about this order because I could expand my list of services and it just sounded creative and fun (and lucrative). After much thought, much research, and much planning, I spent too much money, too much time, and did too much back-breaking work to make any money at all. It was overwhelming and exhausting...and definitely not lucrative. However, I learned a lot and will be much, much wiser if I ever embark upon such a formidible order again.
This huge order, including a 3-tiered "commitment ceremony" cake, plus set-up and tear-down, happened on Saturday. I went the longest time EVER without sleep - three days - working non-stop and ended up with a searing, blinding migraine by the time I got to the event location to set everything up. I got home Saturday night after tearing it all down, bleary beyond belief, and was confronted by my kitchen and dining room, which had exploded. I think every cooking utensil and appliance I own was dirty. I had a wedding cake due Sunday and I intended to at least make the icing after returning home so all I had to do was ice, decorate, and deliver the cake on Sunday, but I was way too tired. I figured I didn't have to leave to deliver the cake until 3 PM, so I asked my husband to set the alarm for 9 AM. The cakes were all baked, so I was confident I'd have enough time.
9 AM came and the snooze button was hit repeatedly. At 10 AM, I got up, got coffee, and wandered into the living room to look for my notebook, which had all the details of the order. I found the order and OH MY GOD, THE WEDDING CEREMONY IS AT 11 AM. It is exacty 10:05 AM when I discovered this, and the venue is 45 minutes away. After my heart nearly exploded with adrenalin, I washed my mixer bowl and some spatulas, got the cold butter out of the fridge to make buttercream, worked it in the mixer for 10 minutes to soften it up, made icing, and started icing the cakes. 6" top tier, done. Cornelli lace on the whole tier, tip 104 ruffle border, tip 3 bead border on top of the ruffle, and reverse shell as the top border. Luckily for the middle tier (9" heart), I had chocolate buttercream in the fridge already made. I had my husband stir it vigorously to work it to a spreadable consistency and completed the middle tier (she opted for one chocolate tier in lieu of a groom's cake). The decorating was identical to the top tier. On to the base tier...
The base tier was two 2-inch tall, 14" hearts, both of which had cracked...dangerously. After they had baked, I pressed a LEETLE too much on them to flatten the crown...and they cracked. I smeared icing into the cracks and prayed, placed the base board on it, flipped it and prayed, and then iced it...and it stayed intact. I then leveled the other 2" layer and wow, the cracks were much more pronouced. I smeared icing into them, prayed, flipped it onto a large poly cutting board covered with a piece of parchment paper, and managed to execute the most incredibly perfect sliding of this dangerously structurally unstable layer onto the other layer. Prayed some more, and iced it...and it stayed perfectly intact. WHEW!! Hubby was dumbfounded. We were both sure that layer was going to break into 4 large chunks.
Oops, I have a lot of cornelli lace and ruffles to do on this tier, and I'm now out of icing. Hubby weighs/measures everything out for me and icing is made. Base tier decorated. Plates and pillars and fountain and extension cord and camera and anniversary tier box and bowls of extra icing and repair kit get packed, and within a few minutes of being decorated, the cakes are placed into the Suburban for the 45 minute journey to the venue. I knew for certain that with the ruffles and cornelli lace - being so fresh and having had no time to set up or crust over - would probably slide right off.
We get to the location, walk in, and THEY'RE JUST ROLLING OUT THE TABLES TO SET UP THE RECEPTION!!! What a brilliant stroke of luck! Not only had the bride changed the time of her wedding (unbeknownst to me) but the minister was very late, and the venue could not set up the reception area until after the wedding ceremony had taken place!! HAHAHAHAHAHA! I was able to designate where they set up the table (I needed electricity for the fountain) and set the cake up before the bride walked out to see it! *WHEW!* Oh, and not a single molecule of that cake slid, fell, crumbled, buckled, puckered, or otherwise moved. It was picture perfect. Isn't that the craziest thing ever?? LOL
I know this was my one and only miraculous stroke of good fortune. Thank God it was a simple design.
Oh, incidentally, from the first "OH MY GOD" at 10:05 AM until that cake was completely set up and we took our pictures of it, was about 3 hours and 45 minutes, including drive time.
What a stroke of luck!!
My heart would have exploded at 10:05AM.
Way to pull that one off!!
edited for spelling
Whew! I couldn't read your post fast enough to see how it ended!! My adrenalin is pumping too!
Glad to hear it came out okay!
That is amazing. I could have never pulled it off. GOD was with you. You did a fabulous job on your cake as well.
Way to go.
My heart exploded just reading this!!!!Holy crap, I would have just had a heart attack. Glad you pulled it off. Cake looks fabulous!
My palms were sweating just reading this! Congrats!
My heart almost exploded reading that!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG...........you did an amazing job......I never would have guessed from the pic. that you were rushed in the least bit.....I am sure the bride figured you'd been sitting around in the car with the cake for hrs. hahhaha....great job!!!!!!
Wow! I was trying to read as fast as you must have been working,Whew! I got tired just reading.
It's a Beautiful cake! I must disagree with you on something though, I don't think it was ''good fortune'' But a ''Real CakePro'' at work.
WOW! You are definitely a better woman than me!...I would have broken down in tears as soon as I found out that the wedding was at 11:00! Way to bring it all together! Great job on the cake too! I really like the chocolate tier in the middle!
wow... you DID go purchase a lottery ticket that day didnt you????
All I can say is - well done, well done,well done!
EXACTLY why I can never go into business of cake baking/decorating....this would be my worst nightmare come true!!
I really admire you...and what a great hubby to help you any way he could!
I know this was my one and only miraculous stroke of good fortune. Thank God it was a simple design.
Simple Design!???! Are you kidding!! You are a real pro, and that cake is beautiful!!!! that would have taken me a week to do, much less a few hours. I hope you gave yourself a nice hot bath and a stiff drink when you got home! hahaha!
I get all stressed out when I still have all night to work on a cake let alone a few hours! Way to go! Great job....now if only I could make something like that in so little time...
WOW!!! I was right there with you as I read. My heart was racing. Been there, done that, only not is that short of time.
Holy cow! Can't believe you didn't have a heart attack or stroke. What stress!!!!!!! Your husband is a Super Saint! I agree with Tye, did you get a lotto ticket? Thanks for sharing your nightmare, just proves to me that I never want to do this as a business or accept money of any kind! My DH would have found something to do outside of the house and I would have dropped on the floor dead if it had happened to me.........
You are all so sweet!!
Hahahaha, that's hilarious about the recommendations to buy a lotto tichet. We actually did...I decided to soothe my frazzled nerves with a pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream, and we bought a single quick-pick lotto ticket for the Texas Mega Millions lotto...estimated jackpot of $256 million.
Thousand dollar Wilton gift certs all around, and your choice of an airbrush system or edible image system!!! LOLOL
Oh, and yes, my husband is an angel. He keeps begging me to open a dessert & coffee bar. I believe he missed his true calling as a chef because he really does love being involved with my cake business. He and my mom set up the dessert table for the Saturday shindig while I stacked and decorated the cake, and he really enjoyed it. The only problem he had was when we made the croquembouche, he kept dipping his fingertips into 310 degree sugar. I laughed so hard because every cream puff he dipped was accompanied by a loud, "OUCH!" By the fourth one, I asked him if he'd do something else for me. Heehee
I agree with the others, I would have broke down realizing the wedding was earlier. The cake looks like you had forever to decorate - it's beautiful! Great job on the cake and keeping yourself together! Kudos to your husband for helping out also. I probably would have strangled my husband if he tried to help.
UNBELIEVABLE!!!! There's no way I would've been able to do a cake, I would've been in the HOSPITAL!!! Great job!!!
Fantastic job. It's when i read stories like this I'm glad most british cakes are fruit cake which can be made and iced well ahead of the wedding
glad everything worked out in your favor. i was sitting on the edge of my seat reading the whole thing..and people say cake decorating is boring...yeah right.
by the way, beautiful cake
you're truly amazing! I would have lost my ever lovin' mind when I saw the 11:00 a.m. time. You need to be on that Cake Challenge show on the Food Network! Bet you would beat their pros hands down!!! Congrats on a GORGEOUS cake!
You forgot the moral of this story.
We must all teach our husbands how to make buttercream icing so we can be free to decorate those rush cakes.
happy it turned out so well for you.
Hey, ccoth, I've just seen your avatar for the first time! That is absolutely hilarious! Love it! Janice
Oh My God, if that was me I'd still be standing there with the order in my hand and my mouth open, scream unable to come out.
Well done you for holding it together and getting it done
Your cake turned out amazing! I gree with everyone...I was at the edge of my seat reading your every word. Just unbelievable! You are a true professional.
That wasn't luck that is a sign of a PROFESSIONAL to be able to work under such extreme pressure. Congrats it looks beautiful.
Fantastic job! I don't think I could have pulled that one off without a breakdown! I agree with jo_ann, true professionalism at it's finest! Way to go!