I’m several days behind on this blog, but I’ve got good news–when I weighed in on Thursday, I had lost 1.6 pounds. I’m a loser again–woo-hoo! :) And I’m already showing another 2-pound weight loss since then so hopefully that wasn’t a false read and I’ll still have at least 2 pounds to report this Thursday.
Wanna know how to lose 2 pounds in a day? Well, this is how I did it. I destroyed a wedding cake that I had worked on all week, then scrambled to make another and dropped it after bringing it to the wedding. I didn’t have the time or the desire to eat or drink. Or sleep later that night. Probably not the best way to lose weight, but hey, it worked for me.
Since I don’t have a picture of the completed cake before destroying it (I got too cocky and thought I could just take a photo after delivery), here’s the sketch I made of it for your viewing pleasure:
I had also made red velvet cake pops to stick into the bottom & middle tiers that were coated with white chocolate and drizzle with red and blue but I was so frazzled I never got pics of them.
And here is the cake I actually delivered:
I like this pic b/c you can almost see what it used to look like before the damage:
Yes, I put dowel rods in the lower two tiers. Yes, I put one long sharpened towel rod through the whole cake to stabilize it. In fact, that’s what you see poking up through the top of the upper tiers behind the bottom one. I lifted them off in a last-ditch attempt to save the cake beneath that was getting squashed b/c the dowel rods in it had skewed and no longer offered support. But obviously there was no saving it at this point. That is one MESSED UP CAKE!
I do know now what I did wrong. After seeing the wedding cake that Joy the Baker made, I thought it would be cool to cut my own dowel rods higher than usual like she did hers. Usually I make them just about even with the icing so the cake above is almost in direct contact with the cake beneath, but still supported by the rods. Like this:
Then I put a piece of parchment paper on top of the icing so that it doesn’t stick to the cardboard beneath the cake above it when I remove it, like this:
I don’t have pics of the dowel rods in this wedding cake (if you are interested in tiered cake construction, you can see my blog on it here), but I put them about 1/4 of an inch higher than the icing. Even though I took each turn at about 1 mph, that was still enough movement for the too-high dowel rods to skew sideways so they were no longer supporting the cake above and it slid and started smashing down. Perhaps making the dowel rods too high isn’t the best plan for a cake that is constructed before delivery. Now I know.
Anyway, I told the people setting up what happened and promised that there would be cake by the time the wedding started before running to the car and bawling my eyes out while Dennis drove us to Hobby Lobby. I decided that we would salvage what we could of the ruined cake and slice it up and put it into pans to serve, and I’d make a second “dummy” cake (a frosted and decorated styrofoam cake) to put on display so there would be something for the guests to admire. I would make cupcakes to make up for whatever amount of cake I couldn’t salvage. I had about 3 hours to do all this.
I was only able to get styrofoam cake dummies in sizes that would make a tiny cake about 1/3 the size that the original cake was but this turned out to be lucky since I would not have had the resources or time to frost and decorate a dummy cake of equal size.
As soon as we got home, I started hacking up the ruined cake as fast as I could and almost used every pan I had to put the slices in.
I was able to salvage enough cake that I only had to make 2 dozen cupcakes to make up for the cake lost, and I just so happened to have a white cake mix, just enough eggs, and just enough powdered sugar to make the cupcakes and enough frosting to cover the cake dummy.
I couldn’t have done all this without Den’s help. He got us lunch, baked the cupcakes, made the frosting for me, and loaded everything so all I had to worry about was cutting up the cake and then decorating the dummy cake. It took me about two hours to frost and decorate it, whereas the original took me 15 hours. I took the cake tiers individually this time, but stacked them for a quick pic of the semi-finished cake before we sped off (we were running late!)
I had hoped that the wedding had run late and I would be able to sneak in with my tiny, abysmal, and embarrassing cake before any guests arrived at the reception. As luck would have it, the guests were already accumulating and the only way to where I needed to go was through them. Not only that, but when we pulled up to the entrance, we heard a loud honk and looked behind us. A gorgeous old-fashioned white Rolls Royce was parked behind us. With the bride and groom inside. I slunk out carrying the tiny top two tiers in my hands and just wanted to DIE as I slunk past the Rolls Royce, avoiding eye contact.
I wished I was invisible as I strode past the wedding guests in my icing-smeared grungy clothes with my little embarrassing cakes, my eyes averted and head lowered. My hands were shaking, well they had been shaking all day, really, when I got into the kitchen to put the cake together. It turned out to be lucky I snapped a pic b/c as I lifted the middle tier to place it on the bottom, I proceeded to drop it on its head. (!) Seriously. I dropped it. Dropped. it. This is when I lost it.
I leaned over the counter and started sobbing when I could see right outside the window all the happy guests (it was an outdoor reception). I prayed they wouldn’t hear me. All I could think about is how I had ruined the bride’s most special day and how there was absolutely nothing I could do to make up for it. A refund does not make up for the lack of a pretty cake on your wedding day. I never knew I could screw up this bad and I kept trying to figure out why it had happened. Was there a lesson in this that God was trying to teach me? I do believe He was but I will get to that in a minute.
One of the groomsmen came in and was so sweet, trying to make me feel better and acting like it wasn’t a big deal. (Dennis was flying back and forth between the truck and the house to bring in the cake and cupcakes or he would have been the one consoling me.) He finally got me to scrape myself off the floor and do what I could to fix it. Serving staff and family & friends of the bride and groom were in and out of the kitchen while I did my best to fix the damage with silent tears rolling down my cheeks. I just wanted to click my heels together and be in bed with the whole thing behind me.
To top things off, I suddenly see a guy I work with come in and I hoped he wouldn’t see me but of course he did. Turns out he’s the brother’s groom so I valiantly kept myself from crying when I told him I was the one that did the cake and ruined it twice. He and everyone else who were in and out were incredibly nice and kept telling me that the bride wouldn’t care. In some ways this helped, and in another I just wanted them to hate me because that’s what I deserved.
After doing what I could, I went out in search of the bride to warn her before shocking her with the tiny damaged cake that I was about to carry out. She had already told me during our previous interactions she was about as far from a bridezilla as they come and I knew that she was a pretty relaxed kind of girl. Still, this was her wedding day and it had been raining all day so having a ruined cake on top of that had to be a punch in the gut. But she had already heard what had happened and hugged me and said, “I forgive you.” I cried and cried and cried, tried to give her a refund but she refused. All that mattered to her was that she had married the man she loved and I wish I could say that I was as good of a person as her. But I would have been devastated if it had happened to my wedding cake. There was a lady nearby that asked me if she could pray for me we had an impromtu prayer circle. It was such a beautiful prayer, asking God that I should not be discouraged but continue to use my talent and so much more that I can’t remember but that affected me deeply at the time. More tears, of course. I am astounded by the Christian love that flowed from all the people who should have been upset and resentful.
I finally brought out the cake and timed it so that the best man was giving the toast and there weren’t many people looking my way. And here it is:
And here’s the good angle which shows the least damage. Let’s hope that the photographer caught all the shots at this same angle!
I’m not completely sure about why this happened, but I do believe that everything, even the bad stuff happens for a reason. Usually it takes some time, distance and perspective for me to see that the bad stuff is usually a blessing in disguise. Like my Dad having a stroke, for instance. He was in terrible health but refused to change his bad habits until he had a stroke. The stroke threw me for a loop that I still haven’t completely recovered from, but I later realized it was a huge blessing. Now he’s taking blood pressure meds, has his diabetes diagnosed and it taking meds for that and is in good health. He also didn’t suffer any physical setbacks such as having weakness on one side of his body. He did lose much of his ability to read, which was bad enough that he qualified for disability, which afforded him the opportunity to retire when he wanted to rather than working himself into the grave b/c of his dire financial situation. His life improved a lot because of that stroke.
Anyway, I think it will also take some time and perspective to understand why, despite my prayers, the cake was such a disaster but I suspect that I needed a swift kick in the butt to deepen my relationship with God. Dennis asked me, “how much did you pray about the wedding cake?” and I said, “a lot!” He then asked, “and how many meals have you eaten without praying?” Wham! It was a punch in the gut to realize that the answer was, again, “a lot.”
(My husband is a very wise man.)
Not that the key point here is that I should never eat a meal without praying (which I probably shouldn’t) but that I do not have a very deep relationship with God. He has not been a part of my life very long and I have been independent so long that I still find myself struggling to include Him in everything I do. Struggling to glorify him in everything I do. Even if this is not the intended lesson, it is one I have learned and my relationship with God is already deeper than it was two days ago. So I am grateful for it in that respect and because of that, I can’t wish that this never happened. I just hate that it had to affect a couple’s wedding day. I just hope that next time God needs to teach me a lesson, I’m the only one that has to suffer! Of course the impact wouldn’t have been as huge on me and I wouldn’t have had to reflect on the cause as much.
Anyway, I have decided to stop doing wedding cakes for a while. I don’t need the stress. Even when they don’t go wrong, which has only been half the time (here’s my other wedding cake catastrophe story), the stress is still immense. Plus, I don’t make money on them and I’m not a good enough decorator to charge more, so the stress is really too high to make it worth the feeling of pride, which is my only reward in the end. For now I’m going to stick to regular cakes until my decorating is good enough I can charge enough to actually make a profit.
Thanks to those of you who actually read to the end of this incredibly long blog! I’ll try to keep it shorter and sweeter in the future. XOXO