This isn't a huge disaster in comparison to some of the stuff you guys have overcome, but it brought me to tears yesterday morning, so I figured I'd post about it anyway. I'm incredibly new to cake decorating, so my cakes aren't of the highest quality, and I'm only baking for friends and family at the moment, but that didn't make it any easier!
My nephew wanted a Mario themed cake for his birthday party (which was today). Sure, no problem, my other half came up with a cute but simple idea (fondant Bowser, his castle, a river of lava and some grass), and he wanted a buttercream covering, not fondant. Baked the cakes, carved them (mistake #1 - the castle was quite thick), and filled them before the crumb coat, then stuck the cakes in the fridge while I coloured the fondant and made the decorations.
My second mistake was covering the castle too soon. The fondant went on well enough - not perfect, because I'd never covered a rectangle on its side before, but good enough for a 6 year old. Scored in the bricks, added a few supports (mistake #3 - not enough), iced the base cake, added piping gel lava, and glued my fondant Bowser to the castle. Mistake #4.
When I went to put the castle on the cake, it was heavy and awkward to manage. It tipped as I was getting it placed, and as I caught it, the fondant split. Bad.
Deep breath, try and fix it, but nothing worked. By now, the cake was too warm and the fondant was slipping around all over the place. And it was sinking fast, with frosting coming through the holes in the fondant. After a good hour of trying to rescue it, I ended up bursting into tears over it all. The cake was due the next morning and it just kept getting worse. I didn't even have enough dark fondant left to cover another castle, or the TIME to make Bowser again - he took 4-5 hours on his own.
Anyway, long story short, I hooked off the castle, cut Bowser off (carefully, but his head still fell off >_<, defrosted some spare cake I thankfully had in the freezer, and used what little fondant I had left to make a much lighter-coloured castle. This time, I put a LOT more supports in - some short, thick ones in the base cake, and some long, thin ones to hold it up. I also made the castle MUCH thinner, so that the weight wouldn't push down so much, and I skewered Bowser and covered the back side of him with melted chocolate so that he was a little less fragile.
It all ended well in the end, and my nephew, his friends and family loved it, but it certainly felt like a disaster yesterday!
If you want to see a picture of the finished cake (but PLEASE don't expect much!), it's here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=195681613874404&set=a.195309427244956.39334.195293110579921&type=3&theater
The cake looks great! This is how we learn. Don't be hard on yourself, we have all had days like that. I certainly know how frustrating it can get too. I've been in tears too. But hey the bright side is that family are the best guinea pigs. I "experiment" with new ideas and techniques with family all the time, hey that's what their for. They don't pay for the cakes anyway. So fair is fair. I just say it ain't pretty, we don't need a picture, but it IS yummy.
You did a great job pulling it all together, and you learned stuff too! Good for you! And the best part is the birthday boy LOVED it! Doesn't get any better than that!
That alone makes the tears worth it!
Take Care! Happy Baking & Decorating!
...because I'd never covered a rectangle on its side before,
Gravity wins when trying to stack cake on its side. It's better to build horizontal layers to prevent splitting, cracking, and falling over. Overdoweling can weaken its structure too. Better luck next time.
Bummer! But your final cake looked really good considering all the problems you had!
I don't see how anyone can stack a cake on it's side - I've seen countless blog tutorials (purse cake is a perfect example) and I can't see how it's a success for anyone. I know my cake would split and fall apart!
Better luck next time!
hassle or not, bowser looks great!!!
Thank you, guys! I definitely learned a lot. FYI, I wasn't too clear before - I didn't stack the filled cake on its side - the rectangle was just tall and thin rather than wide and flat, like a square cake would be. I wouldn't even want to try covering a filled cake on its side - that sounds like a disaster waiting to happen D:
The cake looks great - I really love the castle!
As others have said, everyone has bad cake days (like bad hair days, but messier and more time consuming. Oh, and more likely to cause emotional breakdowns.) Only last weekend I spent aaaages on a six-layer cake I'd been wanting to make for weeks, only to fail at leveling the bottom layer properly and have the whole thing gently slide to one side... talk about leaning tower of cake Fortunately that was just one for me and my boyfriend - though when he came home, I did feel the need to warn him of how ugly it was before he saw it haha!
Oh no! >_< I'm sure he loved it just the same XD
By the way, I see you're from Southampton - me too! What are the chances? XDD
Haha yeah it was a bit of a fail >.< ah well, live and learn!
Cool! It's nice to know other local cakers!
I looked at your cake and it is fantastic!!! Kudos to you for making this. I too, am new at this and at least you have the guts to post pics i won't even do that. too much of a perfectionist and too hard on myself, maybe someday... You did a great job and I'm sure your nephew was so excited to get this cake.
Thank you, Cindy, you're far too kind XD You should post pictures! You're totally right about us being our worst critics though - all I see are the flaws because I know exactly where to look. It's tough, but I suppose that does mean when we finally start decorating cakes we love, we'll know we've come a long way?