The Great Cake Debate

Can you imagine a pumpkin cake on this table? Yikes!

Every good party has some sort of disaster story, right? Isn’t that what we tell brides about weddings? Don’t we comfort them by saying that something has to go wrong, that rain is good luck, that a bad wedding means a good marriage? You might think that the whole forgetting-to-put-the-date-on-the-invitation thing would have satisfied the disaster quota for Emma Vance’s first birthday party, but NO…that would’ve been too easy. :)

Spoiler alert: I’m a planner. An OCD, think-every-detail-through, envision and re-envision, obsess-over-every-little-thing kinda’ gal. I have a VERY hard time letting anyone else help me because years of experience have taught me that the adage, “If you want something done right, do it yourself,” is absolutely true. However, there are limits to my abilities, time and expertise, and in those instances I trust the professionals–especially when it comes to the time-consuming task of baking.

Now, once again, I’m admittedly obsessive, so even though our bakery is amazing, I always do a spec sheet including images and super-specific directions whenever I order anything. I NEVER trust a conversation to be enough, because inevitably something is miscommunicated or forgotten. For E.V.’s birthday party, I found the perfect pictures of what I wanted her cakes to look like, drew up my spec sheet, spoke with the baker twice and dropped off some necessary accessories for them to be able to create exactly what I was envisioning–including a fabric swatch for color reference. I felt confident leaving the decorating to the experts; I was on to other tasks!

Fast forward to the day before Emma Vance’s first birthday party.

Ryan picked up E.V.’s big cake and smash cake toward the end of the day on Friday, meaning I saw them for the first time about an hour before the bakery closed for the day. I opened the smash cake first. Huh. It was the wrong color! I had ordered a white, imperfectly-frosted little cake, but got a peach cake. (Ironically it was the exact color of the big cake I had ordered.) Crud. Then I opened the big cake. {insert swear words} I had ordered a thumb-print, peach-to-white ombre cake. To the bakery’s credit, the craftsmanship was beautiful–but the dang thing was orange! And I mean ORANGE. Like Halloween pumpkin orange. Ugh. I was upset, needless to say, and in a bind. It was clearly too late for the bakery to fix them, but I knew the cakes wouldn’t look right based on everything else I had planned. It was the night before the party, meaning I had a million other things that had to get done and didn’t have a few hours to re-thumb-print the big cake. What to do?

Ryan told me it was “fine,” but I needed an honest opinion. So I called my friend and fellow-party-planning-OCDer, Alli. She came over (bearing just-in-case store bought white icing), and I knew as soon as she walked in the door that it was bad. When her reaction was an non-panic-inducing, “We can fix it,” I knew something had to be done. She and I worked on the other final party projects until about 1 a.m., all the while debating over whether or not to mess with the cake. She headed home to get a little rest, and I sat, exhausted and achy, in my kitchen and stared at my Halloween cake. What to do?

I argued with myself for about ten minutes, then, perhaps because it was late and I was loopy, I impulsively decided to go for it.

The smash cake was easy–a quick coat of white frosting and it looked exactly like I wanted it to. The big cake, however, was a bit more of a beast to handle. I knew that I wouldn’t have enough time (if I actually wanted to sleep) to thumb-print the ombre, so I decided to go with another round of imperfect frosting. Thankfully the bright-orange frosting worked perfectly to mix up a pale peach color, and about thirty minutes later I had a cake more appropriate for a little girl’s birthday than an Clemson tailgate. Yay!

After all was said and done, the cake was perfectly imperfect and definitely worth one less hour of sleep before the party. As I laid my head down somewhere in the 2 a.m. hour, setting my alarm for 6 a.m., I had a sense of relief; everything was done and ready to go!

(More party pictures to come, by the way.)

The smash cake icing was the color of icing I ordered for the big cake…

…but this is what I got. :(
I mean, Halloween is my favorite holiday, but really?
The first swipe was nerve wracking!
Just this tiny bit of orange frosting was all I needed…

Almost done (circa 1:45 a.m.)!
Now that’s better.

(I’m pretty sure E.V. would’ve been fine with any colored frosting. :) )

1 Comment

  1. July 1, 2013 / 1:03 pm

    Oh my gosh, this is crazy! You are so talented, get job fixing those cakes!

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