When last we saw The Indoctrinatrix, she had two nearly exploded cakes on her hands and a batch of “frosting” made from pudding in the fridge…
So, I decide to go ahead and assemble the cakes because, even though they weren’t pretty, they were still edible.
At this point, I realized that I don’t own a cake platter. The only thing I can find to put the cake on is an old bar tray with deep, two-inch sides. When I put the first cake on the tray, the sides came right up to the large overhanging muffin top of the cake.
I got out my frosting…
Which I see hasn’t set up at all and is really just chocolate pudding.
I start smearing pudding all over this huge, rounded cake…
But because it’s so thin, I can’t get it to pile up enough to have that really nice layer of frosting in between…
No matter how much pudding I pile on.
After I frost the bottom layer, I placed the top layer on and started frosting that.
But it keeps sliding around on the pudding layer. I can’t get it to hold still, so I search around the kitchen and find some cocktail umbrellas left over from a previous party. I pull the paper off and use the sticks as long toothpicks to hold the top layer to the bottom.
I start frosting the top layer, but by now pudding is just dripping off the sides of cakes that are being held together with deconstructed cocktail umbrellas.
It looks horrible, yet still manages to taste decent.
I wrap the entire monstrosity in foil and head out the party, where, once we cut into it, discovered that it was super dense, like pound cake but heavier. A 5-pound cake.
Despite the bumps along the way, my first made-from-scratch cake was a success!
So, that’s the story of the edible monstrosity.
What lessons can we take away from this tale?
- Never give up! Had I kicked in the project at the first sign of trouble (the exploded cakes in the oven), there would have been no end product. Sure, it wasn’t perfect, but it served its purpose and made for a great story.
- When you’re just starting out, and are building experience, be open to creative solutions. I didn’t have a cake platter, so I used a bar tray. My frosting was too thin, so I stripped cocktail umbrellas and made long toothpicks to hold it in place. Again, it wasn’t perfect but it worked.
- Be open to feedback. I had told this story a dozen times, but it wasn’t until six months later that someone gave me some useful feedback that I incorporate to this day (to cut the tops of the cake off to make a smooth surface. Doing this had never occurred to me before that moment).
- Even the stealthiest ninja, the best baker, the highest-converting marketer, starts as a novice. Don’t let early frustrations or disappointments stop you. Practice long enough and you will get better.
I kept practicing and eventually created a Bûche de Noël, a traditional French yule log cake that I made from scratch.
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