Thursday, April 2, 2009

My Own Cake Wreck: Practice makes Perfect

I think many of you probably have seen the cake site before Cake Wrecks. If not, please click here and be ready to be more than amused by cakes gone wrong!

Well, yours truly, may have to sumbit one of her own cakes, but not as a recipient, but as a deliverer! Yes, even though I was well intentioned and worked hard on this cake, it did not come out as I hoped. In fact, I learned a lot of lessons from this cake that I wish I had learned beforehand, but the fighter in me is happy to have learned them at all.

The cake I am talking about is a cake I worked on with a local bakery for charity. My novice level at working with fondant is truly revealed in this cake. Are you ready for this? Here it goes! Be prepared.

From an LV purse attempt

Okay, so the cake was inspired by the bag the customer presented us with. I say inspired because I did not get right the exact shape of the bag, and of course, the LV logo in its entirety, is not present, per customer's request, not ours.

From an LV purse attempt

The hardest part of this cake was achieving the chocolate color. I think the  fondant was overworked while doing this, therefore the streaks. The stenciling was the second hardest. We had trouble laying down the handmade stencil, then achieving the powder dust to set. This also may have been caused by the overworked fondant. We had some streaking of the LV monogram. We corrected it, but the lighting still catches the cover up.

 Next time when I do this cake I will:

1) Air brush to darker color (which means I will have to buy one). If you use 100% dye, it will overwork the fondant (texture and taste).
2) Use real brass props for the brass fixtures.
3) Work with flatter stencil medium (we used mylar stencil paper). Probably will try rice paper next.
4) Lay off water as adhesive. With the Houston humidity, the tiniest water addition seems to affect fondant in a bad way!
5) Do ENTIRE logo for a more complete look. More work,  but looks so much better. I mean it was like doing the MacDonald's Golden Arches with half and arch!
6) Add stitching. Again, more work, but a more complete look.

However, I feel slightly accomplished. It was a huge undertaking for me, considering I have never done a  cake of that size completely in fondant before, ever! I had to make many store runs and trial and error 's while making this cake, so it took me SEVERAL hours to complete this (try 10), but I stayed calm and confident, something unheard of in the past. Think mad, raving, lunatic women, panicking and shouting, "The sky is falling!", making everyone miserable around her, especially her husband.

I also know what NOT to do next time, so it will help more than what I learned to do. For example,  color the fondant, especially in large quantities, the night before. Also, to have some accesories done ahead of time, like the brass fixtures. The straps can not be done ahead of time, as they will harden and not be flexible enough to be put on cake.

Cake decorating can be fun, but it can be challenging as well.

The customer was satisfied with the cake and especially liked the straps, which I have to admit, were my favorite, too.

Feel free to leave me some helpful tips about working with fondant. I love advice! Also, I would be interested in knowing more about your "saving graces" when working with fondant. For example, I still would like to know what air brush kit, stenciling medium, and shortcuts work best for you all.

I just started making my own fondant. It is so much better than store bought. and easier to make than you think it would be, MUCH cheaper, too. The hardest part is kneading and sometimes, rolling it out. 

But that is for another post...

For now, I will have to keep practicing if I ever want to have cake art as wonderful as this one that I found over at Cakes by Anitha.  She is truly an artist and wonderful at her craft!

Oh, I can hardly wait until I am on my 100th LV cake and say, "Man, can you remember the first time I made this cake?..."

And laugh.


Megan said...

You know, don't be so hard on yourself. That was a tremendous amount of work - and I think you did a great job.

Sometimes those cakes look easier than they really are - but that detail work can really work you!

Christina Kim said...

I think you did a beautiful job! And I'm sure it tastes great too :). P.S. I gave you a blog award!

Barbara said...

I don't think your cake looks like a "wreck" at all! OK, maybe not as perfect as you wanted, but not a wreck.

Congratulations on keeping your cool during the process -- that's really impressive.

If you have cake decorating questions, you might want to visit the forums on Rose Levy Beranbaum's Web site. There are some amazingly talented and experienced people there who are very generous about sharing their experience. The link is

Cheryl said...

I agree with Megan, holy crap I would die to be able to make a cake half that beautiful. Fondant scares the crap out of me. I think your cake is nothign short of amazing!

Dragana said...

Did you check Baking Obsession? She does amazing cakes with fondant. I think your LV cake looks loverly, my dear! So proud of you for keeping your cool.

Donna-FFW said...

I think you did an awesome job.. You are so very talented. Such a gift!

Mermaid Sweets said...

It's true, we are our own worst critics - this looks great. I am impressed.

Ginger said...

I LOVE IT!!!! I think that your cake is awesome!! Yeah "Holy Crap" I wish I could make a cake like that....

Jaime said...

wow i am so impressed! i could never make a cake like that!

Life with Kaishon said...

You did such a great job! As always, I am overwhelmed! It looks wonderful to me!

TeaLady said...

Well, I think you did a great job.