My nephew turned 11 this week while I was visiting the area. I was going to be spending the day with him and his 9 year old little sister. At the last minute I decided to pull together a little birthday cake for the 3 of us to have a little party during the day. My mom had made a chocolate candy cane shaped cake with a pan she got for Christmas. It was broken apart in 3 pieces. I used the longish part, covered it with canned chocolate frosting, made a face out of m and m's and mom separated some orange pumpkins out from some black bat sprinkles and I wrote his name with little orange pumpkins. For a January birthday. Very poo like and not photo worthy. That is why I put the face on it, so it looked more bug like and less poo like. If I knew how I would post it here to show how bad it was. I can, and have done better. But the point of this is that the kids loved it and both were grateful to have it and eat it. I don't think they could have like it much better if I had spend hours working on it. Now they are used to grocery store bakery cakes so their expectations are pretty low. But when you are stressing out about the design for your loved ones cake, remember that they will most likely love whatever you make for them and don't spend any time comparing it to the beautiful works of art you see in the gallery here. It is better to give a simple cake given out of love and made with joy than to spend an all nighter being stressed and crabby from making and decorating the cake.
I find with the ugliest of cakes that are made and haste are quickly devoured and raved about, alas the only downfall is that in your hast you completely forgot exactly what you put in and how much so it can never be duplicated but it lives forever in a child's memory as the best cake they ever had.
What a darling post, denetteb. I could just see all of you enjoying the making and eating of the "ugly (but precious!) cake.
When I was starting out in this hobby in 2010, the kids' dad made a spectacular cake that is still remembered more than my "pretty cakes". He made a 9x13 sheet cake, covered it with canned chocolate icing than stuck on a zillion small candy bars and candy pieces that were left over from Halloween. As Enga said, it lives on in memory as "the best cake they ever had!". There is no way I could ever top that cake.
By the standards of modern cake decorating, every cake we received as children would be called an "Ugly" cake. We were happy to get food. We were really happy to get special occasion cake. We loved dessert and didn't get it often.
The very thought that the 'mom cakes' were inferior and hideous never entered anyone's thoughts. The cake world has changed. I think ready made store bought fondant brought about that change.
Also I simply can't conceive of the fashionable intricate artistic cakes going out of style. There are always Rich people to buy High End Upscale Expensive cakes. Bakeries have just morphed into Cakeries.
AI still remember the cake my mum made for my 6th birthday...it was a castle cake (complete with icecream cones for the turrets!) and looking back, it was a horrific but at the time, I was the proudest little girl on the planet! She only recently confessed to having to make it 3 times and taking out the middle each time as she opened the oven too early every time so the cake collapsed!! Hehe :-)
Kids don't notice or care, they just want sugar. It's the beauty of childhood. A child who says a cake is ugly has issues. Even most teenagers appreciate not so perfect cakes (at least the ones I know.)
I make elaborate cakes for my little one because I want to challenge myself, but I know she doesn't care if they don't come out right. She'll only tell me, in a sweet way, "that doesn't look like what it's supposed to be."
I see posts from baker/cakers struggling with imperfection and think it is important to remind ourselves of the things you and I are sharing. In this day of google images, pinterest, cake supplies at every craft store, web ordering, cake blogs and tutorials, cake central gallery, etc there are so many images to compare our cakes to. It is easy to get caught up in comparing our cakes to all of these great and wonderful cakes, forgetting that most of the people we are baking for aren't spending hours and hours looking at wonderful cakes.
and remember, wayyyyy back then, there were no gazillion MegaPixl High Definition photos & laser printers at home. The 3x3 & 4x4 cameras and dark rooms were reserved for professionals and the very rich.
We had nice soft focus, low resolution snaps of happy faces and the blissfully blurry faded photos of our homemade CAKEs.
Our flaws, rarely observed by normal people, are now blown up into Super Gigantor size.
The first decorated cake I made (not counting spray frosting in a can) was my son's most recent birthday. Wilton character pan (R2D2), boxed mix, canned frosting, and star tip. My son and his friends thought it was the most awesome cake ever. :)
As a kid, I don't remember ever having a birthday cake that wasn't boxed mix, made by my mom, iced with canned frosting and a spatula, and served in the glass pan she baked it in and being excited because she baked it for MY birthday.