A few nights ago, I watched Eddie Izzard: Dress to Kill for the first time since college. As I watched it with friends, I remembered just how funny it was, particularly the skit about the Church of England and the punishment of cake or death. Naturally, I was still laughing about it a few days later when I went to make a wedding cake for my friends Jenny and Chris. I had quite the travel ordeal (thanks NJ drivers) and so by the time I got to CT, I had to pull a baking all-nighter to get the cake frosted, filled and assembled. I was running on a few hours of sleep from the night before so I felt very much like death and in my sugar-induced sleep-deprived state, watched the clip again and posted "cake or death?" as my facebook status, not realizing that I was perhaps jinxing my future self.
After the cakes were beautiful and smooth, I put them in the fridge to set. By the time I had everything ready to go, it was time to head to the reception place so that I could decorate the cake. I wisely thought to do two things: 1.) to put a blanket down under the cakes in my trunk in the event of an accident 2.) pack the top tier in its own box and attach it when I got to the venue.
After driving through beautiful, scenic northwest Connecticut, I drove up a few hills and was at the estate where the reception was to be held. I opened my trunk to start bringing the cake upstairs when I was confronted with disaster: cake death.
Cake or death, you ask? I give you both. The cake was overfilled with raspberry, the frosting didn't like the hills or the humidity et voila--every baker's nightmare. Luckily, it was the spare cake (in case the main cake didn't feed everyone).
Though the two large tiers of the main cake were fine, I was not in the clear just yet. As I opened the lid to the top tier's box, I was confronted with a mess. The top layer of cake had slid off into the side of the box, wrecking the frosting and mixing with the raspberry filling. What was once beautiful, pristine, smooth white frosting was now a mangled mixture of pinkish white frosting with crumbs throughout.
Though the bride was incredibly laid back and said she only cared about taste (bless her!), I wanted to fix the problem and make the cake look as best as I possibly could. I had made a ton of gum paste leaves ahead of time, brushed them with green luster dust and then sprayed them with a hint of kelly green coloring to give them some pizazz.
I cleaned up the top layer, added more frosting from my trusty 5 gallon bucket o frosting (you should have seen the cashier's face at Home Depot when I told him I was buying the bucket to fill with frosting) and tried to smooth things over (literally).
I added some "branches" and affixed the leaves to the cake and roughed up the smoothed frosting on the other layers to match the rustic look of the top layers. When it was time to display the cake, the gut-wrenching anxiety that suddenly appeared at the sight of the destroyed layers of lemon and raspberry disappeared. I was happy to save the cake and happy that the bride and groom were happy with the result... and that the guests were none the wiser.