My very own Cake Wreck

In my frenzy of planning for this fabulous birthday party, the idea to make Kendall’s cake has always been one I never gave a second thought to.  Yes, my cake making and decorating skills are beginner at best, but I found a lovely and simple design for the most adorable rocket ship cake here (lots and lots of great ideas there, by the way).  Seriously.  That does not look hard, right?  I even gave myself plenty of time to prepare by planning to first make a trial cake.  This was a multiple day process, people!  I took my time.  I froze the cakes, then cut the cakes, then froze the cakes, then iced the cakes with a “crumb coat”, then I froze them again.  I was a little unsure of myself when I started to add the final touches and put it all together tonight, but I thought surely it would turn out decent enough that I could make notes for the final cake and ace it the second time around.

This is what it was supposed to at least resemble.

What I am about to show you is proof positive that I should never be allowed near a can of frosting and red food coloring again.  

Did you know that red food coloring is a fucking joke?  It does not make the frosting red!  No.  It makes it a lovely shade of Barbie puked her brains out hot pink.  So, I think, maybe add more.  Nope.  Just makes it an even more vivid shade of the same putrid color.  This could not work. The rocket was to be blue and red.  But have no fear!  Red sparkles are here!  

Between the sparkles and the pink and the uneven frosting it really couldn’t get much worse.  That is until I brilliantly decided to cut out the picture of Kendall in the astronaut suit from his invite and place it under half an Easter Egg.  Are you laughing your ass off at me yet?  You should be!  I’m about to piss my pants.  OMG.  It’s tragic.  It’s terrible.  It’s hilarious!  Here’s a side view for you.

I do not think a few mental notes for next time are going to be enough to save this.  I’m pretty positive I will not be repeating this for his birthday.  A girl needs to know her limits, and while I may be able to whip up a crafty birthday banner and matching cupcake toppers, I sure as hell can NOT make and decorate a cake.  Of course, my eternally frugal husband just stood there, lying through his teeth, saying, “Jill, it’s FINE.  You did a GREAT job.  Why would you PAY someone to do what you already know you can do?”

I am calling a local bakery first thing in the morning.

Kendall is 11 months and 1 week old.

  • Booms - That’s pretty much the most awesome cake I’ve ever seen.ReplyCancel

  • Valerie - I laughed out loud at this. I have been following your blog since you were pregnant. My sweetpea was born on May 2nd as well and seems to have followed along quite the same path as Kendall, development wise, in the past year. Colic was sheer Hell in our household as well. :-)
    Anywho, I laughed so hard because I literally feel your pain. I am also immersed in the chaos of planning a fabulous first birthday party and was convinced I could make a beautiful princess cake for her. I worked on the “trial” one all last weekend and it was tragic!! My husband as kindly and sarcastic as possible asked if I was trying to make it look like Gigi (our daughter) made it herself. Needless to say, I will be picking up a beautiful princess cake from the local bakery the morning of May 2nd. Lesson learned. I am not THAT crafty.ReplyCancel

  • lynette - O.m.g. That is the most awesome attempt ever. The icing and temperature of the cake probably have a lot to do with it. The prettiest cakes usually taste the worst. Don’t waste it…I’m sure your kid would be proud of your heartfelt attempt. :) thanks for sharingReplyCancel

  • TheFeministBreeder - Well, I do cakes professionally (part time) and I think you did a fine job. Seriously.

    And yes, red icing is a bitch. There’s a trick to it. If you want to learn some ins and outs, hang out on the Wilton message boards. It’s frequented by brilliant professional, semi-professional, and quality home-bakers.

    On a separate note – our babies are similar in age? Mine was born May 16th last year.ReplyCancel

  • Babyrabies - Well, you ladies have made the smile on my face even bigger. Don’t worry, the cake certainly won’t go to waste! My husband already has dibs on all the hot pink/red sparkled wings and burner for lunch tomorrow, and I’m sure Kendall and I will share a little piece, too.

    Valerie, I just gigglesnorted through your whole comment, especially the part about what your husband said.

    Feminist, I had no idea cakes were so damn tempermental! Guess there’s a good reason why not everyone does this for a living :) I’m sure it’s very much a talent and acquired skill. And happy early birthday to your little one. Just two weeks younger than Kendall.ReplyCancel

  • Jaime - Jill,
    You make me smile.
    BadaReplyCancel

  • Sherri Morris - OMG I am LMAO, rolling around on the flooring remembering when I tried to make a cake with apple sauce, you know, to reduce the fat and it freaking fell apart and I was left with a big ball of chocolate mess that I slopped on everyones plate!

    I LOVE it, but these are the things that make life so freaking fun!!!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly J - Two suggestions:

    1. Don’t use canned icing. It’s really not stiff enough for decorating cakes. This one is a pretty fail-safe recipe – http://www.wilton.com/recipe/Buttercream-Icing

    2. Don’t use the liquid food coloring that you find at the grocery store. Go to Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, or even the craft area at Wal Mart and get the Wilton gel food coloring.ReplyCancel

  • Karen - I think it looks pretty good! I would NEVER even attempt something like this! It will be DQ ice cream cake all the way for his first b-day! :)ReplyCancel

  • Amie - Haha! I love it! And I think it’s cute :)ReplyCancel

  • Tena - I think it looks pretty good, actually. I’d skip the picture and the easter egg part though. Also, you can buy food coloring paste for really dark colors, like red. Check your local craft store. :-)ReplyCancel

  • Charlotte - LMAO! Seriously, I made about an equally *interesting* attempt at a basic cake for my hubby YEARS ago before we even were dating and it was disastrous! I have rarely even attempted baking cakes since then as I think it scarred me, lol! It isn’t as bad as you think considering and I bet if you practiced a while you would probably get it eventually. My favorite part is the little Kendall astronaut, ha! Too cute!ReplyCancel

  • Molly - love the cake! you did great…homemade cakes aren’t suppose to look professional, right?!?! at least that’s what I always say…
    I agree with the previous commments, make your own buttercream and get the gel dye for coloring the frosting…it’ll work much better.
    my daughter’s 1st birthday is right around the corner on 4/20 – I’ve been dreaming of making this beautiful ladybug cake/cupcakes for her for weeks…I went and ordered cupcakes from the bakery last week because I so afraid of failing! lol
    keep trying…it gets better with practice, I promise! I bet the cake sure was yummy though!ReplyCancel

  • Kerri - you could turn it sideways and you would have a loverly beta-fish cake
    http://www.bettafishcenter.com/images2/100_0165.jpgReplyCancel

  • Vanessa - Haha it’s the effort that counts right?! Love it!!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica - Much better than the cake I attempted to decorate myself at midnight the night before my son’s baptism. My thoughts: why spend $40 on a cake someone else decorates when I can make the same thing myself for $7? Mine was a disaster and my husband lied through his teeth also. What moms attempt to do for their children…at least we try :)ReplyCancel

  • Surviving and celebrating baby's first year | BABY RABIES - [...] to find out how his rocket ship smash cake came out.  I will say it was a far cry from my original cake wreck, but I can’t take a single ounce of credit for the fabulousness.  My rockstar sister made [...]ReplyCancel

  • Paula - You, I like. I’m currently obsessing over my son’s upcoming first birthday. The theme of his room is rockets and robots. After discovering that the most promising local baker has an $85 minimum order (!), I decided to google “how to make a rocket cake.” Imagine my surprise! I thought your bubble boy add-on was pure genius. You have not deterred me. I’m going to give it a go. I have until June to practice. God help me.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - thank you for the smileReplyCancel

  • A Cake Inspired by Converse | Party Like A Kid - [...] me. Mainly just because I know I’m not even capable of making a cake that resembles a rocket ship, so shoes are sort of out of my league. But, you guys? I bet there’s plenty of you who could [...]ReplyCancel

  • Aje - OMG! My stove is broken and won’t be fixed in time for my son’s first birthday tomorrow so I’m at my brother’s place making his ROCKET SHIP cake! We just read your story (cuz I’m trying to find pictures to help me ice it properly) and i don’t think I can remember the last time I laughed so hard! You’re hilarious! I was starting to stress about this blasted freakin’ cake and whether my son would need counsellong because his Mum made him a ‘car crash’ for his 1st birthday cake however your story, and the other Mum’s comments, have made me see the humorous side of what madness I’ve gotten myself into! Thanks for sharing! You’ve made my day and I know I’ll be taking a much lighter-hearted view of my son’s party tomorrow!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - OMGoodness. I just saw this post through your Monday Morning Procrastination newsletter and it has made my day! Not to laugh at your attempts, because I think you put your heart into it and that is awesome. But I love that this is EXACTLY something I would do. It makes me feel more normal and not inferior to the Pinterest goddesses!ReplyCancel

    • Jill - I love that you can relate :) I’ve completely given up on cake decorating and will likely hire that task out the rest of my life.ReplyCancel

  • Jason N Audrey Navarro - I know what your saying when it comes to the red food coloring… Next time try using the food coloring Gel, you only have to use a little and it actually comes out red!!! Also, whilton makes a rocketship cake pan!ReplyCancel

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