Little Red Caboose Disaster

Decorating By cakesrock Updated 2 Nov 2009 , 3:02am by cakesrock

cakesrock Posted 1 Nov 2009 , 3:05pm
post #1 of 11

Sorry, this is a long one, folks....I decided to try and make a little red caboose cake, as my kids love it. Initially I tried to carve the roofs into the cake, but realized it wouldn't work when I tried to put on the MMF. I had to toss the MMF, as it ripped (had a bad decorating day and it was flimsy) and of course, all the icing came off too. So, I had to re-do them completely and do more carving. They still did not turn out....and I really cut my finger in the process. I should have gotten stitches, but didnt' feel like sitting in emerg. for know how that is?

I probably would have called it a day at this point, but I was so invested with hoards of time and some very cute gumpaste decorations and a decent cake structure. So, I bandaged up, and decided to re-do the MMF. I had run out of color and ingredients in the process. So, I had to run out and get those and pick my kids up from daycare. This is after standing in line for 4 hours with 2 little kids to get a H1N1 shot earlier in the day. Not a fun day off... There was no super red so I had to use a whole bottle of no-taste red to get the color close to right (though I had it perfect in the first batch I had to toss).

So after supper when I was on my 2nd attempt to cover the cake in MMF, my husband started bugging me about something, I became distracted and forgot to re-ice the cake before re-applying the MMF! Can you believe it ?! I actually forgot to ice the cake! I was so tired of this cake at this point, anyway...So, even more flimsy MMF on a un-iced 3D cake. Well, it was a disaster!

Instead of chucking the cake at this point, I decided to focus on the front and try and salvage that a bit...But the structure I made to hold up the canopy roof broke when I adjusted it (I had carved more than I planned and it no longer fit) and all the little RI flowers and leaves on my gumpaste wreath started to break off everytime I touched it. The cake sunk, so it didn't even look like a train (there's no space between the body and the track). I didnt' even bother with wheels on the sides) or finishing all the decorations.

Anyway, I will try this cake again after a long break. I saved the decorations. Maybe it was a bit too big for my britches, but it seemed like a challenging, fun cake. Just got in a bit over my head...but I sure learned a lot about what NOT to do next time. I still don't know exactly how I'd do the roofs, though....have to think about that.

I hope it at least TASTES good. Thanks for listening and hopefully empathizing....

10 replies
cabecakes Posted 1 Nov 2009 , 4:27pm
post #2 of 11

Hey cakesrock, so sorry to hear about your bad cake day, but keep in mind that we all have them. Sometimes, biting off more than you can chew can be a great learning experience (although frustrating). We all have to start somewhere. I encourage you to keep a cake diary (notebook with pictures of your cakes) Keep your cakes in the order of production. I think that if you do this it will help you see your progression, and how each cake you do shows how you have improved. For me it has been uplifting. I too am new to this cake making stuff, but when I get discouraged I look back at what I first did and see how I've progressed in just a few short months. It really helps. Keep your chin up and remember. Their not really cake disasters, because each one has its one learning experiences. If you've learned something from it, it can't really be a disaster.

cakesrock Posted 1 Nov 2009 , 4:32pm
post #3 of 11

Thanks for the encouragement, cabecakes! I will try the cake journal - love the idea!

majka_ze Posted 1 Nov 2009 , 4:54pm
post #4 of 11

For your next try I have some tips:

The cake isn't as complicated. Look at it like at a two tiered cake - it can be scaled down or up as much as you want. See the attached drawing - the cake is the red and black part, and (not necessary) the front bottom part (orange in my drawing). The upper tier is carved to get the curved roof.
Depending how much experience you have with MMF or fondant at all, it could be easier for you not to cover it in fondant but ice it in buttercream and make fondant accents only. This would be the white (roofs) and brown parts (wheels, fence and reflectors).

In advance you need to prepare the roofs, the fence and the reflectors in MMF (or gumpaste).

Either way - you would prepare the cake, carve the roof, cover it with buttercream or fondant.

The roofs: depending on the size of your finished cake, either find a can, a bottle or use flexible cutting board to give the roof the form - similar to use of flower/leaf former. Cut a rectangle from fondant/gumpaste and let it dry. For the front roof - with a toothpick make small holes where the "posts" will be going.

When working with MMF, mix bit more sugar in it and let it dry on your former for a week.

At the same time you could cut the wheels (MMF again) and let them dry and prepare the fence - two dark brown or black painted skewers or MMF with the skewer as "core" in it for the long posts, MMF with toothpick in it for the fence and MMF on top of it - I hope you can understand what I mean. Let it dry again (flat) for a week, let bit of skewer/toothpick peek out.

After you have the "body" of the caboose ready, put the fence in and carefully put the roof on top. If needed, glue it with a bit buttercream / MMF or RI, whatever works for you. Decorate the details.

And good luck to you.

cakesrock Posted 1 Nov 2009 , 9:31pm
post #5 of 11

Thank you for taking the time to post the great detailed suggestions! I never even thought of drying the MMF and laying it over something to form. Then the roof (s)wouldn't have to be cake and it would be so much lighter weight -great idea! I'll post the finished product when I get around to trying again and I will eventually... icon_biggrin.gif

Doug Posted 1 Nov 2009 , 9:34pm
post #6 of 11

and more help here with another drawing to show how

majka_ze Posted 1 Nov 2009 , 10:24pm
post #7 of 11

Doug, I promise I didn't copy icon_smile.gif Great minds think alike...

Doug Posted 1 Nov 2009 , 10:28pm
post #8 of 11
Originally Posted by majka_ze

Doug, I promise I didn't copy icon_smile.gif Great minds think alike...

how could you have?

I'm probably the only one that remembers that thread even existed and then only because I knew I drew that thing. (Hmmmm....I must have a rouge elephant gene hanging around -- hey! that'd explain the waistline too!)

yep a case of GMTA!

CBMom Posted 2 Nov 2009 , 12:44am
post #9 of 11

I just had to tell you that you are a great mom icon_smile.gif

Conquer that cake!! Just like the Caboose conquered the mountain

What a great lesson/metaphor for caking icon_smile.gif
Have fun!

cakesrock Posted 2 Nov 2009 , 1:41am
post #10 of 11

Thanks! Not many people know that story. It was a short-lived (single season) TV series from 1948, apparently! I just picked up the book at Walmart and my kids loved it! But I will conquer that cake mountain! icon_biggrin.gif

cakesrock Posted 2 Nov 2009 , 3:02am
post #11 of 11
Originally Posted by Doug

and more help here with another drawing to show how

Thanks for the link, Doug - great recommendations!

Quote by @%username% on %date%