Saturday, July 2, 2011

Complications and Cupcakes

Where shall I begin... I'll start with the cupcakes. It's really not anything too exciting, but I'll share anyway! Now that you're all pumped about the post (ha).... Well I was asked to make 15 vanilla cupcakes with chocolate icing and a "21" on top. So simple, but it gave me another opportunity to work with my Cricut. I've used it three times this week. Woohoo!
 The Cricut's beautiful work. It's so simple, yet so helpful!
The cupcakes are for boys; therefore, simple and no frills. Boo.
After I did the 21's, I decided it might be better if they are on another piece of fondant instead of just on the cupcake. They were a little fragile. So I just ran some white fondant through my lovely KitchenAid pasta roller and used my small round cookie cutter and ta-da:
Now on to the complications. Earlier this week I got a call around 4:30 by a friend of mine. She needed a cake by 6:30. She usually asks me to make cakes but since it was such short notice she was asking if I had a recommendation for where to buy one. Well, surprise, surprise, I never buy cakes. And because I'm obsessed with making cakes, I (ridiculously) say "I think I can do that!". Ha.... So I get started. When I was making all of those cupcakes and cakes for the wedding a few weeks ago, I made a bunch of "homemade cake mixes." I just put all the dry ingredients together so all I would have to do is add the wet ingredients. I tried to prepare as much as possible before all the baking and decorating began. I had several leftover, which is fine since I know I'll use them eventually. So I throw the cake together and get going on the icing.

Ahhh the mistakes. Where to begin. Since I only had 2 hours, I had to bake the two layers at the same time. I planned on doing a basic 2-layer 8 inch. I only have one pan of each size (except for 6 in). I do have 2 other 8" pans that I prefer not to use for cakes. They're just the basic 8" pans found in most kitchens. It has slanted sides, which I hate! But I figured I would just compensate with my icing. So I bake one in that pan and one in my good cake pan. First mistake (if you don't count my telling her I would do this in the first place).

Then I have my icing... Well nowadays, I mostly use butter in my icings, not shortening. I have no butter. Technically I might have had enough to make some but it was cold and I prefer to get it to room temperature by sitting out and not the microwave. A few weeks ago I read a blog from I am baker that had a good shortening recipe. Amanda raved about it. So I had tried it before and it was good, but I hadn't decorated with it. I don't know if it was because I was rushing or what, but I seem to often more than not be unhappy with my icing. It didn't smooth nicely. One of the biggest frustrations I have in cake decorating. The icing tasted delicious though :)

The icing might not have even been that big of a deal (I think I'm slowly forgetting what happened; my brain is blocking it from memory) but third, fourth, sixteenth... mistake: I put the first cake to be done in the fridge. The second took a bit longer to bake and I was running out of time so I put it in the freezer, then put the first in the freezer too. I needed them to cool off so I could decorate them! I really think this is the root to a lot of my issues. I haven't done any research on it but I am convinced to never do that ever again. When I took them out because they seemed cool, I had to level them off. My opinion is that they were still warm on the inside because once I stacked them and I was icing it, the filling kept spreading out. Ugh. 

When I agreed to do this, I was all excited. I love making cakes. And for some reason I had self-confidence. Not an often occurrence. I was thinking I will be able to pull of this cute cake in just two hours and I'll share it on my blog! Woohoo!! haha... oh goodness. But while the cakes were baking I was trying to think of decorations. This is what I did:

I wasn't completely sure what I was going to do with them, but I loved the colors and thought it would be cute!

Back to reality. I'm icing the cake and having a complete breakdown.  It looks hideous! So terrible. The icing isn't smooth, the cakes don't match up, the icing is coming out of the middle, the top isn't even level somehow (even though I leveled it). The icing is pink upon request. I realize that the cute little fondant cutouts do not even go with the pink of the cake. Now I'm thinking Cake Wrecks. If this cake ever leaves my house, I can definitely see it on the next Cake Wrecks post. 

I call my friend and tell her it's not working out. Thank goodness, she is totally ok with it and apologizes to me! I feel bad for telling her I could do this even when she didn't really ask and then bailing at the time she was going to pick it up. But I am so happy that the cake will never be seen by anyone other than my husband and me. That's right. No pictures. Duh.

But I don't give up. I set aside the cake for the night. A little bit later I scrape off the icing, but save the icing and cover up the cake. I work with it again the next day. I try to level out the sides (which I did the day before, but it just made things worse) and it works better than before. Then I level out the top. I ice it, which isn't amazing because there is some cake in the icing, but at this point I don't care. It's not as noticeable as just not smooth. I decide to decorate with the Cricut. I'm really working the Cricut this week! So that was fun. I ended up trying some new patterns that I hadn't before. I add it to the cake and... the cake is sagging!!! What in the world? No clue, but I'm done with it. Whatever. I take it to work (which I hate taking cakes that I think are ugly to people. I want them to only see good ones!). But they like it and eat it so that's better than wasting it. I did (reluctantly) take a picture of it:
That's in my car as I'm taking it to work and think "ugh I guess I'll take one picture.

Well I hope you enjoyed that (too long of a) story of disappointment. Sorry guys, I'll try to work on my story lengths. Just for fun, here are other pictures from the cupcakes I made.
 Quickly playing with my Cricut again.

Hopefully there will be another (more successful) cake soon to share with you! I wish I could just stay at home and decorate cakes all day.... maybe one day. Happy 4th of July!!! Have a fantastic weekend!!


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