11 March 2012

I ruined a wedding cake and survived.

I wrote this last summer but never got around to posting it. Partially because I forgot; partially because I was so embarrassed. But we all fail at times, and I think it's important to examine our mistakes.

Last weekend was my cousin's wedding, and she asked me to make her cake. The design was simple enough. 3 stacked tiers of red velvet with, you guessed it, cream cheese icing. To make it even more sinful, she wanted chocolate ganache oozing all over. Simple. Beautiful. Delicious. However, as the date drew closer, I started to fret over the heat. The forecast called for thunderstorms and a high of 98. I really don't know how this got to be a Southern tradition if our weather is this cake's arch nemesis!

The morning of, I decided to try transporting the cake assembled. Usually, I transport the layers and stack on location. But I was feeling ballsy! I made a kickass cake, and everyone would marvel at my mastery. I didn't think twice that a pedestal stand wasn't the most stable platform. I didn't think about driving alone, and the cake sitting shotgun. I was going to be so careful, go slow and take a straight line the whole way. I was so careful with my speed and even weight distribution that I wouldn't pay attention to the actual road and hit a tree. Really?!? Who hits a tree going 15 mph?

I pulled over to investigate. After a mini freak out, I decided that I did, in fact, have to show up.

When I arrived, I could see the doubt in everyone's eyes on how I was to fix it. I will eternally be grateful for my cousin's carefree grace as she insisted she was only happy that I was safe. I let the cake chill for 20 minutes and smoothed out the icing for about the same amount of time. It looked decent enough, but crumbs were everywhere by now.

Here's where the chocolate saved me. It covered almost everything! Yes, the tiers were lopsided now. No, I was not pleased with the results. No, it did not look like the inspiration photo. Yes, the photographers did take shots from every angle, looking for the most picturesque side. Silly photographers, there wasn't one. In the end, it was great cake. Everyone loved it. I received compliments all night. Almost every piece was gone by the end of the night.

It was then when I got a little sad for all the cakes and treats, and really everything that we do for others, that takes a lot of effort and thought. The creator is really the only person who can fully appreciate it. Everyone oohs and ahhs, then the masterpiece (or disaster) is devoured in minutes. No one could know the roller coaster of emotions I endured that day. Enthusiasm, determination, pride, fear, panic, dread, insecurity, then relief.

It's strange. I think this cake had a personality. I knew something was going to go wrong. I knew it. It was doomed before I baked the first layer. But it kept on going. It got beat up, melted a bit, and then patched back together. It did its job well. It made people smile and enjoy the moment. It made some people laugh. It made me cry. But I learned to laugh at myself as well.

After all, it's only cake.

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