So, whatcha,whatcha, whatcha want? Whatcha want?

16 Oct

Those words alone tell me the Beastie Boys either have family who decorates cakes, or have at one time themselves. The worst thing you can tell us decorators is “I don’t know” when it comes to what you want your cake to look like. Sometimes, I can pull it off, and other times, well, you’ll see…

First up, the dreaded camouflage graduation cake, with absolutely nothing to distinguish it as such. The grad wanted it camouflage with her school colors, I believe red and white (don’t flog me Fondant chick, I’m not familiar with your local school colors!), then with black as a third color and that’s all. So I ask, “what type of camo? The round blotchy type or the long streaky type?” “I don’t know, do what you want”. Sigh.

I decide to do the round/blotchy type, since I figure I can airbrush the camo. WRONG! Maybe it was having to deal with white as a primary color, but it started to go bad quickly (blow over and stencils sticking to the frosting), and I had no choice but to incorporate fondant for the black element. Thanks Fondant chick, it won’t be the first time you save the day! The grad was happy, but I was not. Lesson learned; there’s a fine line between camouflage and cow print, and fondant covers a multitude of sins.

Next, a birthday cake for a co-workers Mother-in-law’s 85th birthday. The actual ‘customer’ was the birthday girls’ son that lives in Texas, so it was my first long distance transaction! As we talked, we decided to go classic, some scroll work, etc… and I price the cake at $40 (16 inch round white 4 layer cake) and he said “Ohh this is gonna be fancy for $40. What kind of fruit filling will it have?” Sigh. I imagine this gentleman doesn’t spend much time perusing cake sites or local bakeries, but it also appears that he doesn’t watch a whole lot of cake shows either (bonus, no tv expectations!), so I reassure him that the birthday girl will be pleased, and ONLY because I have extra berry compote in the fridge that I really needed to find a reason to use before I found a reason to eat it, I didn’t haggle on the price. After talking with my co-worker (Texas’s sister-in-law) we went with a floral theme (she was leaning towards a basket weave design with frondant and frosting flowers, I was leaning towards not giving this cake away). In the end, Betty and the family were pleased and I received a lovely e-mail from the gentleman in Texas telling me to cash the check, the cake was delicious!  The next working day, I heard from several co-workers on how happy my co-workers’ family was with the cake (insert ego boost here). Unfortunately, this is the cake where I learned that my ‘cake ‘fridge’ was going on the fritz, and the frosting didn’t want to crust. Humidity? Who knows?

This next cake comes with a disclaimer. It was for my sons’ 8th birthday, and he has ADHD. Which means he changes his mind on what he wants for a birthday cake about every day or so for the 2 weeks leading up to the date. What started out as a ninja theme eventually turned into robots & army men. Sigh.

These last two cakes broke the trend of “I don’t know”.

A friend of mine celebrates ‘half’ birthdays. Her sons’ birthday is in February, we’re in Ohio, and that’s no fun, so he has a party in the summer, exactly 6 months out from his birth date. This year, he had pigs in the local county fair, and would be spending his half birthday in the stalls, caring for his pigs, so mama wanted a strawberry pig cake with a blue ribbon.

The other (snotty) boys who were there wanted to know why Ayden gets a half birthday party, and mama said “Oh, your mom doesn’t do this for you?” and turned on her spiked heals and walked away. Bonus, dad (ex-hubby) hates the concept of half birthdays, so I would have done this one for free.

Ok, cakers, here’s your challenge. Incorporate the following in a birthday cake. Music, religion, family and the birthday girls’ favorite foods; green beans, pie crust (not pie, just the crust) and breakfast cereal. G’head, I dare ya. And if you do, please submit a pic, we’d LOVE to see it!

A co-worker came to me with an order for her own birthday cake. You’d have to know Tonya to understand, and if I go into it, this post will turn into a 2-parter, I don’t know if I have the energy for it these days, and that in itself is another post. Back to the cake. She wanted a square cake with “Happy Birthday” on it, and in each corner of the cake, she wanted representations of the afore mentioned interests. She really wanted it to be ‘her’, and she was trusting me. Sigh. The only reason for the sigh here is that I know A LOT of people are going to see this cake or pictures of it for a long time, so it better be “Tonya”. Again, it’s the way Tonya is.

*quick background story. Tonya is African American, and you’ll hear her occasionally humming at work, but she’ll never belt out a tune for us, even though she makes recordings with her church choir. I’ve teased her for years that there are 2 things I’m jealous of  that black women do well, sing and wear hats. You can’t deny it. It’s just the way it is. Unless you are a member of the Royal Family or at the Kentucky Derby, white chicks can’t wear hats.  When I got married 9 years ago, Tonya brought her mother, in a stunning hat. Check out the representations of Tonya and her mama on the cake. Fondant chick to the rescue again!

*special thanks to all of my peeps who gave me suggestions for religious representations, I wouldn’t have come up with the crown of thorns without you!  And thanks for the reassurance that I wouldn’t burst into flames making a fondant Bible replica.

I’m still trying to use fondant, but as you can see, I use it sparingly. I don’t have the like for it that others do. As it stands, I’ll use it for accent pieces, but until I get off my hiney and slap some on the cakes dummies I have laying around, don’t look for full fondant cakes from me any time soon. My niece wanted me to teach her a few things about decorating cakes this summer, so I had her come over and we made a cake for her moms’ birthday. My sister-in-law has collected cow stuff for forever, so the obvious choice is a cow print cake. So, to give my niece some real hands-on work with this cake, I airbrushed the cow print and my niece broke out the fondant and made the letters for “Happy birthday”.  I was so happy with the airbrushing, that I broke out more fondant and wrapped the border of the cake board.   Well, my brother isn’t as slick as the average bear, and managed to blow the surprise cake delivery. In the end it was good, she loved the cake, and I learned yet another lesson; make sure all bits of fondant are off of your slice of cake. It’s like finding chewing gum in a piece of cake. Yuck.

So please, please know what you want your cake to look like.  An honest decorator will tell you what they absolutely know they can and cannot do for your cake.  Talk to them, exchange ideas and methods, and you and your decorator will not be dissappointed.  And give us more than a weeks’ notice, will ya?  Now, if you’ll excuse me, my lower back has a date with the heating pad…

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: