Sunday, February 27, 2011

Not so dreamy after all...

11pm is not the best time to find out the cake you are busy making is... well... uhm... not going to make it.   But I'm rushing ahead of myself.  Taking a few steps back...

As some of you know Caitlyn chose a kitten on a big ball of wool cake.  So I set about making a test cake just to see what is involved.  And yes... I learned that just because the book says "easy cakes" didn't mean it was all that easy.  But okay, I figured out a few things I could do to make my cake as nice as possible for Caitlyn's birthday party.  Then, not so long ago, Caitlyn changed her mind.  She decided she would have a "Dream Castle" cake from the same book.  No amount of persuading could get her mind off that cake.  That would be the one.  I have to be honest that at this point I was secretly pleased it wasn't the kitten cake anymore because it just seemed so... well fiddly.  And last time my kitten didn't exactly look like a nice kitten, the size was all out, the eyes were not quite in line, maybe if it was an alley cat - all living it rough and out there protecting its territory, but then I would have a hard time explaining the big ball of wool.  Just can't picture this wild alley cat playfully sitting on top of a ball of wool.  But anyway.

The "Dream Castle" cake from the same "50 easy party cakes" book looked less fiddly and simple enough.  And I mean how hard can it be to cover 3 big swiss rolls in sugar paste icing and plonk some on top and on the sides and stack mini marshmallows on top with a few basic shapes for windows and door?  And it looks beautiful.  And so I made big mistake number one - actually believing it wouldn't be that hard :-).  And somewhere in all the rush to get things for her party, get kids to and from school, house work, and all the other things I had to do, I didn't have time to make a trial cake.  But then this one wasn't fiddly like the kitten cake.

And in the meantime I'm making little teddies out of sugar paste icing as I had another idea which I will talk about shortly.  And the teddies actually came out looking okay.  It certainly looked a bit like a teddy.  So all was on track :-). 

At 9pm on Saturday night (yesterday a.k.a. the night before the party) I was frantically busy trying to construct my "dream castle" cake.  By 11pm I knew my cake was just not going to make it.  You know when you ask your husband what he thinks of the cake so far and he looks at it, pauses (clearly trying to find the words and trying to work out if it is worth being honest and I guess figuring out what is nearby that I might fling at his head ;-) ) and then tactfully say "carry on then we'll see what it looks like then".  And I had to admit, it didn't look very "dreamy".  In fact it didn't look much like a castle, it just looked like swiss rolls, clumsily wrapped in light pink sugar paste icing and plonked on a board.  No amount of decorating was going to make it look like a "dream castle".  And then Terence asked THE question "why didn't you make a test cake of this one?"

And then the panic set in.  It was 11pm at night and my cake flopped and the party was the next morning.  Thankfully I actually had a plan B even though it wasn't really a plan B up until that point.

The very same "Easy party cakes" book also has some "Goody bags cake".  Basically this is a bunch of cake squares, wrapped in white sugar paste icing and you then put the teddy on top with a few lollies and this is the perfect thing to give away at the end of your party.  I thought this would be cool because this would replace the typical goody bag you would typically hand out at the end of your party.  Also because the party would be over lunch the kids would not need as many sweet things and they can just take a cake and lolly "goody bag".  So at 11pm last night this had to be it.  There simply was no more time to actually start a big fancy cake from scratch.  Luckily my teddies were all made so it was really just for the cake squares.  By 3:30am I felt happy with what I achieved.

The only thing that bothered me was where we would put the candles.  I didn't really want to stick candles into these cake "goody bags" and then Terence had a great idea.  He suggested I take one of the smaller covered swiss rolls and put that in the middle which would have space for the candles and then we could put all the teddy goody bags around it and that... turned out perfect!  I was certainly very pleased with the final result and best of all Caitlyn's guests thought it was pretty neat taking home one of these edible "goody bags" :-).

I think I'll make another post just about Caitlyn's party with all the photos :-).

Edited to add:  I learned that you hide any fancy cake books from your kids.  Off to go hide my book now ;-)


Sharon said...

Well done Lea! It came out fabulously!

RosemaryO said...

What a great cake idea!!! It looks beautiful in the picture and as you said the kids take one home. And Caitlyn loved it so as we say "this was a win win" Great cake

amanda said...

Wat kan ek se??? Knap gedaan!!!! Baie trots op jou. xx ma