Monday, October 09, 2006

Hubris, and the Revenge of the Cake Gods...

Well I did it... I designed a cake beyond my abilities. I loved that cake.. it was going to be SUCH a feather in my cap! I sketched it out, and planned it out and all was good.

3 weeks before the event I get together with a couple of cake friends, and we had a lovely gumpaste afternoon! I had a bunch of petals made up and drying, just waiting for the finishing touch of assembly & colour.
2 weeks before the event I baked up a storm... baking enough cake for 250 generous servings, and almost all of the IMBC required too! That was one busy day!
The next day, I had a family emergency which resulted in a 4 day trip to British Columbia.

Coming back from that, I had a bunch of crap go down at work, which resulted in my not being able to take Friday off to work on the cake. Fortunately, my good friend Karey offered to come help with the cake I was now calling the "Monstrosity." I think that's the only thing that kept me sane at this point!

She showed up about 6pm on Friday evening and we got to work! By 4am every tier was filled, covered & fondanted. I airbrushed the colours, and Karey made the (non-flower) gumpaste accents. The biggest tier wouldn't fit in the fridge, but fortunately it was a cool night, so it spent the rest of the night in the back of Karey's van. At 9am Saturday, we got back at it, dowelling everything, colouring & assembling the flowers and a few other finishing touches. I nearly dropped the bottom tier when I tried to pick it up by myself, but fortunately, the counter caught it!

I should mention at this point in this little story, that the bottom tier was a 18" square of Toba's delicious (but VERY dense and heavy) Chocolate Fudge Cake (2 layers) with IMBC and fondant... that cake was HEAVY!!!! It was the bottom of what was supposed to be 6 tiers, but I get ahead of myself.
I should also explain that this cake was for a fundraiser that was being put on to benefit my cousin who has been fighting a terribly aggressive form of cancer for several years now. She's a sweet woman, with 4 kids, who just happens to be a dentist & a doctor (she just doesn't know how to stop!) In any case, this cake was my donation to the event. There were to be 250 people for dinner, and twice that for the dance afterwards. There was a performance by the 2 (from different years) Canadian Idol contestants from Caledonia (which is where this event was held), a live band, a silent auction, and a few other fun things. This cake was going to be high profile.

Well Karey and I wrapped up everything we could do by about 11am and she went on her way to go learn about tempering chocolate, and I went home to gather the rest of my equipment that I would need to take with me to assemble the cake. I had had enough stress from this cake by this point, but it appeared to be under control. We drove the 35 minutes to Caledonia without incident, my hubby dropped me & the cake off at the hall, and went to get the kids to his sister (who was sitting for us) and planning to be back to get me in an hour or so (little did we know!) (which would have been about 2pm.)

I will interject here again to mention that this event was full formal, and that I had to deliver the speech my mother was to deliver, except that she was still in BC, and it started at 6pm. Lets just fast forward here a bit to 4pm... the cake has fallen over 3 times at this point (yea, I caught it each time... the last one was close; if it had fallen away from me, instead of towards me, our little story would have ended right here.) I am a mess (both literally and emotionally!) and I can't think straight anymore. We took a trip to the booming metropolis of downtown Caledonia, looking for a cake dummy to replace a tier that had collapsed, and after 6 different stop, returned with a wire thing that neither I, nor the clerk at the store had any idea what it was supposed to be, but it would suffice.
I gave up on my lovely "waisted" tier, and replaced it with this wire thing covered in gold tulle. I attempted to cover the various bumps and dents from the falls, and then notice that the dang wire thing was sinking into the bottom tier! It wasn't sitting on the dowels properly! So I disassembled again, added a glass plate, and all was good. Right up until the top 4 tiers started listing badly again. I was out of dowels at this point, so my DH took a trip to the hardware store while I stood holding up the hex tier, not daring to let go. When he returned, we added an exposed dowel behind the ball tier, painted it gold, and at long last, left. It was after 5pm.

Showered, exhausted and fully gowned, (wearing my 2nd pair of nylong of the evening, as I had ripped 2 holes in the first pair), we returned to the hall... praying for a still-vertical cake! At this point, the cake gods seem to have taken pity on me. The lights were dim, the cake looked okay (and was still standing) and my cousin was enthralled. Mom's speech went fine, my cousin was overwhelmed with the outpouring of support, and I will never again wear those gorgeous stiletto-heeled shoes (ouch!)