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Monday, March 8, 2010

I am not a cake decorator....

...nor do I play one on TV.

For Nathan's 7th birthday (7 on the 7th), he wanted a cake with the New Orleans Saints on it. My cake decorating skills are rudimentary at best. What I've learned has been from magazines, TV shows, my friend Cindy (who is a wonderful cake decorator) and the umpteen YouTube videos made by Edna Veracruz that I watched at 3:30 a.m. two mornings in a row because I was stressed out about making the cake and couldn't sleep.

First of all, for all the money I spent on supplies, I could have ordered the cake from the fanciest bakery in town and still had pocket change left over. Second, I would never, ever do this for a living. It makes the biggest, gommiest mess you can imagine, especially if you don't know what you're doing.

Do you have any idea how much frosting it takes for an 11 X 15-inch (half-sheet) cake? Here's the breakdown: 3 pounds of confectioner's sugar, 3/4 pound butter, 1 1/2 cups shortening (yes you have to use it if you want any measure of success..at least it wasn't ALL Crisco like some bakeries use), vanilla and almond extracts. And this was a simply decorated cake and the icing wasn't very thick. I can't even imagine how much it must take for a four-tier wedding cake!

For the cake: 11 cups of cake mix batter (which works out to about 2 1/3 cake mixes), which includes 9 eggs, 1 1/2 cups oil, and water. What did I do with the remaining cake batter? Well, we also had six giant cupcakes and an 8-inch single layer decorated cake. We could have sugar-overdosed 40 people!

Luckily, there are no snapshots of the baker/decorator slinging together this "masterpiece". You would have been less than impressed, especially by the colorful words coloring the air blue.

I guess it turned out okay. I could see every flaw, of course, and pointed them out to all until my daughter told me to hush, that it was perfect. Nathan pronounced it "AWESOME, Grammy!" So I relaxed. The bowling party was a huge hit with the seven-year-olds and the older brother and younger sister. The mess was already cleaned up at my house and we didn't have to have the party at anyone's house.

















Happy Birthday, Nathan!

48 comments:

Cindy said...

Oh Susan it's beautiful! I could eat a chunk of that right now. Butter, sugar and crisco, oh my! What an awesome Grammy you are!

I always thought I'd make a cake for Isabel's birthdays... even bought a dinosaur mold one year... but our fabulous nearby bakery always won. I did make special t-shirts for all the kids at a bowling party when Isabel turned 7 though.

Deborah said...

Susan, you did a GREAT job!!! And I want some...NOW. You poor thing, watching cake-decorating videos when you should have been asleep and dreaming about swimming in the Caribbean. You're a great grandma, and deserve extra pieces for what you did out of love for Nathan.

Never mind all that Crisco - I can taste that icing as I type and there's nothing better, in cases like this. Even if it is the edible equivalent of a home-made bomb. Or something. Glad you included a photo - I was a little afraid, scrolling through the bowling alley, that you would chicken out. xo

VioletSky said...

So we don't have to submit this to Cakewrecks.com afterall?!!

I think you done good.

P.S. MY bday is next week and I'd like something with....butterflies.

Wanda said...

Looks like Nathan had a great time with friends and family. Your cake looks great Susan, you did a wonderful job on the lettering. That's a very cute bunch of kids, the photo of Kaitlyn made me smile.

Alaine said...

You did a great job, Susan. It looks heavy in the last shot, nearly busting the board..(when I finally got the pic to open! Grrr, does anyone else have a problem opening other people's blog pics?).

Was it a chocolate cake? Looks as though every kiddy enjoyed themselves! Happy Birthday, Nate!

My little 8yo grandson, Bailey, has now got a Facebook page as of yesterday! Ooh, it makes me shudder but I'm sure Mum will be keeping a close eye on it all....xa

JackeeG4glamorous said...

Awesome job Grammy! Little hard on yourself? Kids can never tell all the mistakes - it's only yummy to them.
You are an awesome Grandma for doing that for him.

word verification was chakecks.
I think that's Yiddish for cake.

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

You did a great job! It looks perfect. Such a fun day.

The Bumbles said...

I wouldn't be a good cake decorator as I would eat all of the icing instead of applying it to the cake - which I also would have eaten before getting around to decorating it.

But I did read a tip recently that said if you buy icing from the store, and whip it with your mixers, that it will double the amount available to spread, while making it thinner and lighter.

Orrrr - you could just buy a cake decorated by the bakery.

Elle Bee said...

Well maybe you SHOULD be a cake decorator because it turned out fantastic!!! Looks like such a fun party--7 year old heaven! :o)

Tattered and Lost said...

You made more than cake. You made memories. Those will last a life time.

Susan said...

Thank you, dear Cindy! We have several chunks left, so I should chunk one over your way! :D

I don't normally use cake mix or Crisco, but my cake recipe isn't always consistent in the rising and I didn't want a huge sinkhole in the middle that I would have to fill with even MORE icing. I have to say it was delicious, so at least in this case, Betty Crocker had it all over on mine.

Susan said...

Deborah, you are so very kind! Believe me, I've been having extra pieces and my bathroom scale is going to hate me for it! Nutritional time bomb is a good term for it. The great thing is...I get to do it all over again this weekend for Lauren's birthday! Only she wants a unicorn. Not sure how I will pull off that one!

I knew better than to chicken out! haha All you ladies would call me out on that!

Susan said...

Sanna, I think your finger was poised over the CakeWrecks button, just in case it was suitable material! I'm not too sure it wouldn't be, considering the Saints logo just happens to be cadged from the internet and on card stock with wax paper behind it! You all surely don't think I actually drew and colored that, do you? Of course, Nathan didn't know the difference and wanted that part for his piece. He changed his mind when I told him what it was. LOL

Hmmmm, there are lots of pictures of butterflies on the 'net....

Susan said...

Wanda, I bet I know why you were smiling over Kaitlyn's picture...that little butt crack showing. It makes me laugh every time I see it. She wanted to wear those capris which are from last summer and they're a wee bit small.

Thank you for being sweet.

Susan said...

Dear Alaine, you are very kind. Yes, it was very heavy. I had to keep reminding myself to support the middle which I obviously forgot to do in that picture. And it was Betty Crocker chocolate fudge...heavenly!

I don't think you should worry too much about the FB page for your grandson. As long as all the privacy settings are tight, there shouldn't be any problems.

Yes, I occasionally have problems with pictures loading. I think the higher the resolution, the longer it takes. Sorry!

Alaine said...

Just thought of something that I keep in mind now - "2 seconds on lips, 6 months on hips"!! xa

VioletSky said...

A monarch would be nice. with essence of orange, please.
Orange and Chocolate is a heavenly combination.

Susan said...

Jackee, thank you for being so sweet.

I guess that's just what you do when you're a grammy, right? Little things like making the cakes and the cookies. It's the kind of grandma I always wanted and didn't have.

Are you sure that word doesn't mean barely adequate? ;)

Susan said...

Thank you, Natashya. It was a blast! The kids were so excited and loved bowling and playing in the arcade. I think it's going to be a tradition. So simple and cheaper than Chuck E. Cheese!

Susan said...

Molly, believe me, I licked my fingers so much I was nauseated when I finished. And where do you think all those trimmings from the top of the cake went? (You have to level it off.) Hubby and I had those for a mid-morning snack!

The only thing about the icing from the can is it tends to separate from the cake after a few hours. Can't you just see all that icing just sliding off into oblivion?!!! It's also hard to use in the decorator bags. Actually, making the icing was the easy part. It was getting it on the cake smoothly that was hard. :)

Susan said...

Elle, you are so very kind! You should definitely do a bowling party when yours get old enough. I want to have one for my birthday! And I want pie...a birthday pie!

Susan said...

Thank you, Tattered...it's all about the memories. And thanks to blogging it's all right there written down and recorded for posterity, at least I hope so.

Susan said...

In my case, Alaine, it's more like six YEARS on the hips! haha

Susan said...

Sanna, how about an Orange Milano Cookie cake? They kind of look like butterfly wings!

dutchbaby said...

It looks great! What a great Grammy you are!

I remember my son's bowling party when he was around seven. I had the grand idea of designing hand-made pop-up cards where the bowling pins were supposed to pop up except that some of them could have used, er, a little blue pill.

Wordver: hungi

Definitely!

stacybuckeye said...

Awesom cake! My cousin is a cake decorator from her own home so I know a little about how much work goes into it. Kudos to you for doing something new. I'll stick to the fancy bakery, thank you :)

Alaine said...

Hello Susan, me again :) I just dropped in again to say that I wasn't grumbling about your photos, they're a good size. It's just something I'll have to live with, as I clear my cache regularly but most blogs I look at I get squares with the little red dot more often than not. xa

Oliag said...

This is why I own a bunch of bundt cake pans in all shapes and sizes (they have a stadium shaped pan)....bake the cake, dust with some sugar, and stick in the candles:)

Your cake is amazing! And the photos of the kids are adorable:)

culdesacchronicles said...

Beautiful! Really!

I took a little cake decorating course about a hundred years ago, and I used to make my son's birthday cakes. I mastered a baseball diamond with brown sugar for the diamond, but I completely agree with you. It's more expensive and takes way more effort to make the cake than buy it, but loving hands have to add something special. I know Nathan will remember your beautiful results. If not... remind him often and save the photo for when he's all grown up.
Bella

Susan said...

dutchbaby, that sounds like as good a use for the "little blue pill" as any! lol Bowling parties for 7-year-olds must be a popular thing! There were 4 parties going on at the alley while we were there...however I don't think they were all 7!

Thank you for being so nice!

Susan said...

Thanks, Stacy! I admire your cousin for her chosen profession. I couldn't handle it! For one thing, I wouldn't be able to stand the constant gooey mess, not to mention the perfection required to actually charge money for them! Although I suppose if I were actually trained and did it enough, I could get over the anxiety of messing it up.

Susan said...

Alaine, whew! I'm glad my pictures aren't too troublesome most of the time. I hate it when I get those empty boxes.

Susan said...

Thank you, Oliag! I think they're adorable, too!

That sounds like a smart way to bake birthday cakes. Do they make a unicorn one, 'cause I have to make one of those for Saturday for my g'daughter Lauren. I did find a really pretty picture of one on the 'net. This time it will be laminated so the grease doesn't bleed through.

VioletSky said...

I had to google Orange Milan Cookie.
They sound good.

I worked in a bakery for (too long) and had to learn to at least write names on birthday cakes. I wasn't very good.

Susan said...

Thank you, dear Bella! You're too kind!

LOL, yes I plan to get lots of payment in hugs and kisses from Nathan for this one! Thank goodness for the blog...if he gets unappreciative, I'll just pull up this post and remind him how wonderful I am! ;)

Susan said...

Sanna, don't ever buy them unless you want to binge. They're like potato chips, you can't eat just one. I've been known to polish off a whole bag in one or two sittings. Luckily, there are only 15 in a bag.

Ruth said...

Nate's Saint cake looks amazingly professional! I wish I could eat a piece right now.

I would have LOVED to see pics of you covered in goop, with blue words coming out of your pretty mouth.

As I wrote the first two words, above, I remembered a person we knew about named "Nate Saint." I'll tell you about him sometime!

Cora said...

Well you know the old saying...Pictures don't lie! The cake is perfect. Looks like everyone had a grand B-day time!

Kamana said...

i'm no good at making cakes or decorating them; but its something i do often as i find it therapeutic.

ds said...

That cake is awesome! The proof is in the HUGE smiles of the birthday boy (great pics of all the kids, too). Belated Happy Birthday to Nate, and a big High Five to his personal baker!

Susan said...

Ruthie, noooooo, you wouldn't want to see me like that...it would have destroyed your "perfect" image of me!! HA

You WILL have to tell me that story so I can tell it to my Nate, that is, if it's suitable for young ears!

Oops, you're too late to get a piece of Nathan's, but we're going to have another one Saturday for Lauren's birthday. I'm sure you would much rather have a piece of unicorn cake than Saints cake anyway. :)

Susan said...

Why, thank you, Miss Cora, that's mighty kind of you!

Susan said...

Kamana, I'm sure if you decorate cakes often, you've probably gotten pretty good at it. And "therapeutic" is not a word I would use to describe the feeling that it gives ME! lol

Susan said...

Thank you, dear ds, you are much too kind!

Up high, down low, too slow! :)

CottageGirl said...

I am such a nimrod!
I know that I commented on your LOVELY cake and wished Nathan a happy birthday earlier this week ... but I must have not copied the word ID correctly ...

SOooooo...
Lovely cake and
Happy Birthday to Nathan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Would you do an Elmo Cake?

Susan said...

CG, not to worry, my dear! I never gave it a second thought! Thank you very much for your sweet compliments!

Are you sure you want the grandkid to eat that much red icing?!!! Fortunately for you and your family, I am not presently taking orders! LOL

Char said...

how did I miss this one? adorable shots. they looked like they had a great time and the cake looks gorgeous.

Tattered and Lost said...

As usual you make me wish you were my neighbor instead of the putz I have. And so, after those fine words, I want to pass along to you the Sunshine Award in hope that even more people will find your online neighborhood.