Hi everyone... let me say I love this site!!
Here is a picture of my first attempt at a shoe box cake... it's awful, I know , but I am willing to risk the embarrasement for some helpul hints!
Thanks for looking and thank you in advance for any advice... (even if your advice is that I should buy all my cakes from now on )
I can't give you any tips, never having made one of these, but I have to say... Don't be so hard on yourself! For a first attempt, it looks great! Hey, you can tell what it's supposed to be, and that's half the battle.
I haven't done a shoebox cake, but there are people on this site which do just amazing work so please don't try to judge yourself by what other people produce (a lot of them are professionals!!).
At least you attempted it and are using it as a learning experience. I go through the same thing so keep your chin up and keep trying.
I am looking at the picture and did you use cake for the top of the box? I think that sometimes people use just a form for the top of the box to get it more sharp/flat. I am not sure though. Hopefully someone who has more experience with this type of cake can help you out.
Sometimes we are our own worse critics. It's so easy to blast ourselves over every little flaw. For a first attempt, you did a great job! It's like anything else you do in life, it gets better with practice. I've never done one of these so it's hard for me to offer any constructive comments. I guess the only thing that I can suggest is that maybe next time you could level off the dome part of the cake that makes the top of the box, turn the cake upside down before you start to ice it and then you would have a nice level cake box top. I'm sure that some of the more experienced decorators here on CC will have some wonderful advice that might be more helpful to you.
Anyway, pat yourself on the back for a job well done. You deserve it!
I think you did a great job. I haven't even tried to make a shoe. And you were brave enough to post the picture
The only things I would suggest would be to cut off the rounded top of the cake so that you have a flat surface (the little wilton leveler is about $4 and actually works well for that), and to use different colors for the tissue paper than you use for the stripes on the box, just to make it 'pop' a little.
Oh, and that little tear on the corner...the best thing to do for something like that is to make some little detail to cover it up...a bow, a little rectangle to be a logo or price sticker, a single flower...that's why sometimes you'll see some little extra detail in a strange place on a cake, it's all about covering up the little oopsies that we all have.
Anyhow, it's a great first attempt!!!! and thanks for sharing it with us!
i agree it looks great for a first attempt, and fondant is not an easy thing to work w/ i've never done one either but i hope my first turns out 1/2 as good as yours, and the shoe is good too.
You can put yourself down for learning. Learning is a journey that we take to make us better.. Practice and patience is what taught me how to be better..I say you did a great job and the next time you do it you will know what you have to clean. We know our own problems but we need a little push of others saying you are doing great.
I say to you..you are doing great!...
Well, since you asked, I'm not gonna bash you as to how awful (your word) it looks, but maybe give you hints..
Did you make the "lid" in advance and gave it time to dry ?
I would think you didn't because it is some what crooked.. for corners such as "boxes", they have to look sharp and not rounded for it to look like a real box. Your shoe is not bad.
Don't worry and don't give up... all you need is practice. You were able to do this, although you are not happy with it, but at least you have the idea. Just polish those ideas. Were all here for you..
One thing that really helps to make a level cake is to use a bench scrapper. Mine is a plastic one I got from Home Depot for I think $2.00. Put on lots of buttercream and then scrape with the scrapper. It really helps to get rid of the curves on the cake that shouldn't quite be there. I also really like refridgerating my cakes after I crumb coat. Often I find that they are just a little wiggly after I stack and fill and if they sit in the freezer for about 15 mintues, or the fridge for a few hours up to overnight...it really really helps with the final coats of buttercream. At least when you are trying to get crisp corners and sides. Then try and put it back in the freezer or fridge to harden up again before you put your fondant on. Just moistened the bc a little before you cover so it sticks. You can use a water bottle, or maybe dampen your hands a little and pat the cake gently in a few places (just make sure to really dry them before you touch your fondant). I also have the wilton fondant smoothing paddle things. Very technical name I have come up with , but they would work really well in getting that ridge that you have on the top of your box to lesson/go away. As for the shoe...I think that the basics of your shoe are great. Perfecting it will come with practice. I just think the heel looks a little big/thick for the size of the shoe.
I think you deserve to pat yourself on the back though honestly. For having that be your first one, that is pretty nice! The important thing is just doing them, cause the more you do them, the better you get.
For the first time you really did do a great job. I am sure everyone loved it. Don't be so hard on yourself!
Thank you all so very much for your advice.... I had no idea!! I'm looking forward to trying again.
You've definitely got the right idea! You just need practice, now. Some day, you'll look back on this cake and chuckle.
The best piece of advice I can give is to let your fondant dry a little bit before handling it. Your details show all the signs of floppy fondant. If you allow it to firm up for about 5 minutes after rolling it out, it will be less stretchy and handle much easier.
The above advice DOES NOT apply to the sheet of fondant you cover the whole cake with. That, of course, needs to be applied to the cake immediately after rolling it out.