I do that a lot. Year after year in fact. Last year my midnight icing job produced a wonky, chocolately caterpillar that looked more like a train than a creature.
This is the cake that started it all last week....
I was given her cake mould, the board, the figures, the green spray paint stuff for the coconut grass... I went to a professional cake shop and wrote down everything the girl told me. She told me the roll out icing was too iffy in the humidity, piping would be better. Advice from an expert and all the right gear. Success would follow. Surely?
I baked my first ever pound cake. A mission in itself - 6 eggs, a packet of cream cheese and three cups of flour and three cups of sugar. No rising agent. It was like a brick and took two hours to cook. A tasty brick though and one that would stand up to the rigors of a soccer shaped cake mould.
Et viola (ah yes I bake and speak French - sort of)
7.50am Saturday morning
The kids skipped off to cricket with Dad leaving me alone with a bag of icing equipment I didn't really know how to use. No problem... I've made notes. I'll knock it off in an hour.
First I made the icing. Butter icing made with the cake decorator's friend - fat in a bucket. They don't call it that or you'd never buy it. Look away now if you ever want to eat a commercial cupcake again.
Now to make black icing.
W.R.O.N.G. Two batches of grey, sludgy brownish icing.
Food is just not meant to be black. I was told in the cake shop that the black colouring goes straight through children so warn their parents. I should have stopped then but I was blinded by that picture of the perfect soccer ball cake. Damn, I'm shallow and stupid.
8.45am (the weather is warming up nicely and so am I. Humidity at around 85% already).
I gave up on black, tossed out the icing and started again.
This time green made with Kelly Green colouring. How appropriately on trend. I just love to be on trend. Mmm, a green and white soccer ball. He'll love it. Again a vision floated before me of THE perfect cake.
I commenced piping stars. My hand killed. It looked alright, almost professional but you could see the brown of the cake in the gaps.
A little surge of panic. THERE SHOULD NOT BE GAPS.
I should have worked through it. I didn't. I wiped off the stars and started again.
This is where I lost it. Hence there are no photos. I was hot, sweaty and getting beaten by a cake. Again.
10am-ish, (heck I don't even know what time it is now...)
I made more white icing. The white icing was smeared over the cake. The soccer ball's ridgey bits disappeared - a few crumbs appeared in their place. Professionals do NOT have crumby icing.
Disaster didn't just loom, it engulfed me. I wiped off the icing, again.
The fat in a bucket was gone. I was out of piping bags. The car was at cricket.
I counted to ten (around ten times), had a shower, came back and started piping again with some icing I salvaged from a previous attempt.
10.45am-perhaps (it felt like 1am).
Husband reappeared from cricket looking very unsurprised that the cake preparation had descended into stress and that icing covered the bench top.
Luckily my neighbour was also on the scene. My calm, encouraging, wonderful neighbour. Even her 7 year old son whose grandmother had made the Best-Soccer-Cake-Ever knew what to say, "It's really good that you're making a soccer cake," he said encouragingly. Bless him.
Saintly Neighbour zipped off to buy more white fat and more piping bags. I resumed piping. Things were looking up. Disaster and her friends Tragedy and Defeat tiptoed back and hung around in the corner of the kitchen waiting for me to fail again. I didn't. And I had help. Many hands do make light work....
So now a few days later and I've forgotten the pain. It's like childbirth. I'm even thinking 'next year I'll make something a bit harder, really push myself.'
See how stupid I am?
My son, the one who's now six, says he doesn't even like icing. If I were more sensible and actually listened (to him and those whispers of doubt in my head) I'd give him what he really wants... just a cake.
By the way - If a cake tragedy makes you chuckle then please do read this blog - it will make you laugh and laugh.