Tomorrow night my Auntie is having a big party to celebrate her 60th birthday, and the theme is a good one. It’s as obvious as the title, you wear whatever you might have been wearing when your boat/ship/whatever sea-faring vessel sank. A lot of people are going glamorous, my Mum is going in her pyjamas and curlers (good forward thinking in my opinion!). I was originally going to go as a stowaway but I would have had to buy a few things, whereas I already have a sailor girl dress – so French sailor girl it is!
Anyway, I was asked to make the birthday cake. I was so excited at the time because this will be my third nautical cake and a chance to do something a bit different again. However, I was also a bit apprehensive. I do not like covering cakes with fondant, so every time I do a celebration cake this is always a big hurdle to overcome. If this goes wrong, it puts me all out of joint and I have a horrible time putting the cake together. But, for my design this time, I went for strips of fondant waves. I don’t know why I thought this would be easier than covering a cake with a sheet of fondant – let me tell you it was not exactly straight forward!
Consequently I have had a nightmare of a night trying to make this cake look gorgeous! I was on the verge of tears and vowed that I would never make a celebration cake again. To be fair this last point usually happens every time I make a birthday cake! So yes, this was probably one of my worst ever cake experiences…but like every essay done under immense last minute pressure, I think it’s one of my best!
This one’s the messy picture! I do all my decorating in the dining room so that I don’t have to stand for hours, but due to my ever rising stress levels my little work station sort of, well…sank! So excuse the cluttered backdrop, I just like this picture because it shows the colours up well. I took this photo straight away in case any other disasters occurred!
And then I carried it all the way upstairs to my photo shelf, hid a few blemishes with some more luster dust and tried my very hardest not to drop the cake on the way back downstairs!
For some obscure reason I decided to make life even more difficult for myself by making cupcakes to go along with the cake! I made my usual letters from my tappits, but this was the first time I used fondant instead of flower paste. BIG mistake. Do not be tempted to use fondant! I didn’t want to colour what little flower paste I had left, so I cut the letters easily enough using fondant, and they set really well – as hard as flower paste. But they were super brittle, and every time I tried to sit a letter into the frosting it just disintegrated. I just got away with six Ahoy cupcakes (I haven’t even tried to paint off the excess icing sugar yet just in case another letter breaks)
So with no more Ahoys, life-rings it was! This was round about the time the cake was falling to pieces and I had no letters to put on the actual birthday cake – so I ‘procrastinated’ by focusing on the cupcakes again. It makes me shudder to think of it, thank goodness for my Mum who came to the rescue and helped make a bundle of life-rings! (How metaphorical is this whole experience right?!)
I also made a few novelty S.O.S message in a bottle cakes with little fish sprinkles. S.O.S indeed!
I am so tired and probably shouldn’t be writing a blog post but it’s becoming a habit to do it as soon as I’ve finished baking. I really hope this cake goes down well (no pun intended!), it was a bit of a shaky ride but I think it looks good enough for an amateur! I keep saying I’ll take a cake covering class but there aren’t really many nearby that don’t cost less than a £100 for a session so no thank you very much. I’m just really starting to dislike fondant, but I do love the effect the waves have on the side of the cake. I would write about all the horrible things that went wrong in making this cake but I’m sure it will just stress me out even more! I’m happy with the result and that’s all that matters.