Oh I've just spent the majority of the day on here (just a newbie member) and it's brilliant to learn from everyone.
I have been baking for about 2 years now, started with cupcakes and always said I was not interested in making cakes, but now I've started I am totally hooked and it has become an obsession. I go to bed thinking about cakes and it's the first thing I think about when I wake up.
Anyhoozle, my cake disaster was as follows:
about a month or so ago, someone at my mums work wanted a cake for her parents 60th wedding, which I was really excited about. I had all these ideas for a stacked round cake, really beautiful and something I could do fairly easily (I've not done that many cakes tbh but I'm not a total newbie). Anyway, turns out they did not want stacked round cake they wanted a square cake and only one layer. Because it's only one layer, it needed to be a decent size. So they wanted a 14" fondant covered cake.
Firstly my mum is not my best sales person - she told the lady that because I was only new to cake decorating that it would only cost her £30!!! Thanks mum! lol. All in I spent about £100 buying in supplies etc, however some of that stuff is stuff I'll use over and over again. Anyway, the lady got back to my mum and said that instead of me making the cake for the official party, that she just wanted it for at the house, for when people turned up during the week who couldn't make the party. So I was relegated because of my experience (I wont lie, it was a bit of a weight off my shoulders).
So anyway onto the cake. Firstly I have a small oven so I had to bake four 8" cakes and cut an inch off each side and glue them together on the board. This was no great hassle, baked them fine, torted and BC'd well. However the 'crusting' buttercream wasn't crusting right. The kitchen was warm and there was no danger a 16" square cake board would fit in my fridge. So long story short, I just used enough buttercream to act as a glue for my fondant.
Now fondant and I have never got on well (bearing in mind I've only covered about 4 cakes lol). Anyway, rolled out the fondant, stood back to catch my breath and have a little panic before putting it on the cake. Got it on the cake no problem. One of the corners stretched a little, but wasn't hugely concerned. Anyway, smoothed it out best I could (I still have issues with bulging, but it wasn't too horrendous). Lined the board and then got my crimping tool out to crimp along the top edge.
Wait for it..................stuck the tool in to find that the fondant had set (it had only been about 20 minutes since I put it on the cake). The crimper went straight through the fondant to the cake and cracked hideously. Tried to make it less noticeable by just making the indentation marks around the cake, but it was just a big bloody mess. The fact it wasn't the official cake, make it slightly better. So at 1am in the morning I'm sitting looking at my cake with tears in my eyes, saying to my boyfriend that all my cake decorating equipment is going in the bin and that I'm not making another cake as long as I live. Anyway, in the morning, I piped some royal icing round the top edge to take away from the horrendous crimping disaster. The gum paste flowers I made were beautiful and then I piped on the congrats etc on the top. All in, it wasn't too horrendous, especially considering that it was just for her house guests.
So I phone my mum just to confirm that the lady isn't expecting perfection when she says 'Oh I told her that she might get £10 back'!!!!! I was like 'are you kidding???' - disaster aside, I was already massively out of pocket. Anyway, I took the cake down on the Thursday night and then my mum just casually adds that the woman had changed her mind and it was indeed going to be the official cake!!!!! Oh my goodness, I just wanted to die!!!!
Anyway, I still need to find out what they thought of the cake - and lets be real here, people look at the cake for about 10 minutes before its destroyed and eaten and presentation, although important, is not as important as how the cake tastes. So hopefully they enjoyed the cake. That part I am really confident about, because it was excellent - moist lemon sponge with raspberry jam and lemon curd IMBC - it tasted amazing.
Fingers crossed they at least enjoyed it! lol
Sorry this happened to you. It's the worst when a cake doesn't turn out as you expected. I bet it tasted great and sounds like you made the best of it. I bet it looked better than you thought it did. The only thing we ever see on our own work are the flaws. Post a picture, I would love to see it.
OK, but I must warn you, it is pretty bad! lol
note the crack on the bottom left hand side - plus the dodgy writing on the cake - my RI was not soft enough and I'd just about had enough so I just went for it. It's not spaced well, a mixture of upper and lower case, big gaps!! lol You name it, it's got it. Also I hadn't finished my flowers, but at 1am when I was ready for launching the whole thing off a bridge, I decided to leave them as is, no leaves, no sepals......
Is it perfect? No. Is it HORRIBLE? NO! Would it have been better for the un-official party? Probably. But all in all, considering what you went through it's fine. Your flowers are lovely and it tasted great, right? You could have used a larger tip to write and maybe worked on that a little, but for what you got paid I'm thinking she got what she paid for. It's not near as awful as you're making it out to be. Just learn from it and go on. Practice, practice, practice! You'll do great as long as you're having fun. And PS...keep your mother away from price negotiations!
You're too nice lol - actually, now that I look back at it, it's not quite as horrendous as I remember. I think it's just that when you have an idea about how something will look and then the final outcome is so far removed from that, it get's you really down. Bear in mind, I had been imagining how this cake would look for a good month or so, so to see it look nothing like I had imagined was a real heart breaker. Anyway, I shouldn't be so hard on myself, I'm still learning.........loads! lol
I know it's not what you aimed for and you're not happy with the outcome, but it really looks very nice. And your writing is really good. Yes it could have been more uniform and a little bigger, but at least the writing looks pretty. I'm one who has to use cutters for lettering. Or else I use a paintbrush and gel colors (and that doesn't always look so hot).
Overall, your cake looks good. But I know the feeling, when it's not what you envisioned, it's hard to be completely happy with it. I spend a LOT of time planning and thinking about exactly how I want a cake to look and it almost never comes out as good as what I see in my head
And oh yeah, I agree with Carmijok, keep your mother away from price negotiations
Under the circumstances, I don't think it's that bad! The fourth fondant cake I did had 4 "backs" (because all four sides had such severe flaws they each needed to be facing the back!)
[quote="ajwonka"]Under the circumstances, I don't think it's that bad! The fourth fondant cake I did had 4 "backs" (because all four sides had such severe flaws they each needed to be facing the back!)[/quote
I've had a terrible night icing a wedding cake (or actually NOT icing it, as I tore it all off and will have to redo tomorrow)...Ajwonka you just made me laugh!!
Check this out :
Seriously Crystal World?? Your not even supposed to advertise products on here let alone hijack other peoples threads... I've already reported you once and I'm afraid I'm going to have to do it again.. and hope others do as well...
Anyway... nanefy, back on subject...
We are our own worst critics.. square cakes are hard to cover, I've only managed one so far. Your cake looks great. The purchasers are very lucky to have got that great a cake for £30 (or £20 you didn't let us know if you gave them the tenner back!). They would have struggled to get a cake that big from Tesco for that price.
Keep your Mom out of the negotiating!! I've had to tell my Mom repeatedly because she kept telling people at work I'd do them for such and such a price and then I'd lose out. She doesn't do it any more thank God lol
I cannot write on cakes at all, so the fact that you can even form letters put you leagues ahead of me hehe
Your black cake in your photo looks flawless, so don't get down on yourself. That'd be a waste of your talent!