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I am a fairly laid back, roll with the punches type of gal, not overly emotional or high strung, so I'm not sure why this did a number on me, but here's how it went down.  Take it in the humorous light in which it is intended.  

Today’s story would have to be titled The Cake Disaster (or Why I Am Not in Charge of Parties)


Our preacher's daughter wanted just a small cake reception following worship time on Sunday to honor her parents' 45th wedding anniversary.  Something small and simple.  She asked if I’d could order a decorated cake.  She wanted it to be a surprise for them, and she couldn't pull it off without some help.  No problem.  It's just cake.  How hard can it be?   Wedding color was aqua.  Bridal bouquet was yellow roses.  Bridesmaids carried daisies.  


I went to one of my two bakery choice options – apparently the wrong one – and ordered a cake with white frosting, light aqua piping around the borders with yellow roses and daisies.  Regular cake decorator is on vacation, back-up decorator doesn't do flowers, but says she can do roses.  Fine.  I'm flexible.  We'll go with that.  

When I picked up the cake, the piping was GREEN, as in nearly kelly green, the writing (Happy 45th Anniversary) looked like it had been written by a 4th grader, was squished off center, the base layer of white frosting wasn't smooth, and the “roses” were little globs of yellow frosting with little globs of green frosting that I presume was supposed to be rosebuds and leaves, but it was hard to tell.  What a disappointment.  Clearly my expectation exceeded reality.  I could have cried, and I'm not much of a crier.  

Go to flower shop to pick up a small bud vase of daisies and a yellow rose so at least something looks relatively nice for the day.  


While waiting for the flowers, I formulate Plan B:  no problem, I can fix this.  I’ll just pick up some simple cake decorating supplies and take care of the cake at home.  Easy, right? 


Plan B:  Go home, remove the green piping. So far, so good.  Smooth out the awful writing, which gave me a cool aqua background (mix the green with enough white and it gives an aqua tint).  Mix the removed green piped frosting with more white frosting to get the aqua color and attempt to re-pipe an edging back on the cake using substandard, make-shift tools (a ziploc baggie and cheap icing tips). 


Attempt to pipe “Happy 45th Anniversary” with the yellow can of frosting (like cheese-whiz comes in).

Epic fail. 

Clearly I have overestimated my cake decorating abilities…  (I'm starting to have more compassion for the substitute cake decorator.)  Nearly cry again.  Hubby makes his exit. 


Not sure what to do.  Seems like a good time to take a break.  Write an explanation and apology e-mail to preacher's daughter.  Turn on Pandora radio to old hymns, take a deep breath and take some time to calm down.


Formulate Plan C.  


Plan C:  Use the aqua frosting and just frost the sides with the tinted frosting.  No piping.  It looks okay.  Fill a Ziploc baggie with yellow frosting and a writing tip.  Attempt to write Happy 45th Anniversary with that – goes much better, maybe 5th grade level script, so an improvement regardless, and it is centered on the cake.  Pipe a squiggly edging around the top and call it a day.  Do nothing with the rosebud blobs.  Stick cake back in box and in the fridge.  Clean up kitchen. Call it a day.

Who'd have thought this little thing would nearly put me under the pile?  

Side note:  In the midst of all this, my  rational mind realized how truly insignificant this problem was in light of truly major life crises like random violence, cancer or grief, and that the preacher and his wife would not care a bit about shoddy cake decorating, but my apparently  my emotions had flipped the override button on my rational mind.  

I'm blaming the renegade emotions on a rattlesnake incident from earlier in the week, but that's another story...


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Comment by Mary Britton on June 14, 2014 at 4:54pm

When I was an 8th grader my aunt bought me a cake decorating set (with plastic tips)  at State Fair in Lincoln.  While in high school I could make fantastic cakes with roses etc.  Shortly after I got married those plastic tips all broke.  I have never found a decorating set that would work that well since!  I have accepted that I will never be able to do such great cakes again.  I don't know who made that set of decorating tips, but would really like to have another.  

Comment by J.S. on June 12, 2014 at 8:46am

I can relate to your emotional state.  I would have been the same way.  Aren't you glad it's over? 

Comment by B J Elder/WA on June 10, 2014 at 6:56am

LOL - PQ, it is things like that that make the occassions memorable, in a good way. Please, no rattlesnake stories though.... they are around here and I really really don't want to come across one. I don't do snakes.

Comment by Irene Gallway on June 10, 2014 at 5:01am

PQ, I can relate to your story.  I had a cake decorating business for over 30 years and I ran into some similar predicaments many times.  I'm glad it all worked out in the end for you.  Now let us hear that rattle snake story. 

Comment by Jodi Cramer on June 9, 2014 at 5:29pm

Ah yes . . . lessons in humility come in all shapes, sizes and tastes!! Would love to trade rattlesnake stories with you!

Comment by Barbara Graham on June 9, 2014 at 3:51pm

OMG! I'm sure it was a hit! Good for you. I give you extra points for trying. My DIL who can decorate cakes assigned me cupcake duty for grandson's birthday party. I'm usually pretty spineless--if she wants me to do something I at least try. NO. NO. I baked the things okay but she had a vision of Curious George the monkey face and I flat refused to participate. Madness to put me, a knife and icing in the same general area.

Comment by Kathy/WA on June 9, 2014 at 2:50pm

Well if you didn't shoot the rattlesnake the first time, I would go back out and finish that job.  Obviously  your heart was in the right place as was the thought of fixing the cake. Amazing how the hands have a mind of their own when trying to work out something like rosebuds. 

Comment by Donna Sykes on June 9, 2014 at 2:27pm

PQ, you are such a trooper! I am sure the happy couple enjoyed their cake. You are probably the only one who knows what a mess this scenario was.

Comment by enid wellman on June 9, 2014 at 12:17pm

yea, I ruined most of my kids b-days because I thought I could decorate cakes;{  Now I say if it TASTES good.....let them eat cake.

Comment by AidaCJ/NH on June 9, 2014 at 11:50am

I guess us quilters should just stick with quilting and leave the cake decorating to pre-made cakes from the bakery. I went through the same episode once, luckily, DH was able to stop by a bakery before I got the kitchen in a sorry mess.

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