Saturday, 8 February 2014

I don't do cakes.

I have always been very open in sharing my aversion to making flashy cakes.  "What a waste of time, they just eat it anyway" I think, meanwhile enviously eying up the most amazing edible art I have ever seen and feeling so jealous of the smug grinning mother that I just want to slap her and run away crying cause I just can't do it. Who am I kidding? I really love all your 7 turrets, swirling icing peaks and pretty fondant. 
My kids either get a round or a square cake each year, decorated cunningly with pretty candy flowers from countdown, or with a few carefully placed marshmallows and artificial flowers. Some years I feel guilty they don't get flash cakes from their incapable mother, so I ask a friend to make one for them.  

This year Kate wanted a piñata cake.  I decided I would give it a go.  After all, it's just chocolate hardened in a mold to be a cake shape.  Bung some lollies under the shell and there's the cake.  Surely I could do that.  Sounded easy enough.  So I merrily brought up large chocolate melts, pretty glass bowls and lollies.  Little did I know the nightmare that would come.

I watched a YouTube tutorial.  Love YouTube tutorials.  Use them all the time for ukelele, pilates, crochet and cross stitch.  This one looked ok.....

"Melt the chocolate melts according to packet" says the perky super mum on YouTube. Hate her. 

Righto.  30 secs on medium, stirring until melted.  It started well, but somewhere in the 30 seconds between swirls of gradually melting velvet and the next 30 seconds - my melts turned into what strongly resembled the window putty I was using last week.  Hmm.  I used up 2 packets of melts and 2 blocks of chocolate throughout the four hours of attempts that followed, my attempted molds getting lumpier, smaller and thicker each time. 

"Spread a thin layer around inside of a bowl" says perky super mum on YouTube.  Grrrr. Envy. 

Her layer was like flowing liquid perfection.  Mine was lumpy, full of holes and finally, I just resorted to thick globs of putty pressed into place with my fingers.  That will do.  

"After freezing until set, just pop it out of the bowl....easy".  Seriously. She did it in one simple move.  

Nope.  The first two attempts never even budged from the bowl, no matter how much I tugged at the edges or coaxed with a warm cloth on the outside.  I had glued the chocolate somehow to the bowl.  Finally, I did it the way a friend had told me to do this morning - used a glad wrap layer in the bowl.  Much better. Should have ignored YouTube perky pest to start with.  

By this stage I am crying, cursing and stomping my foot. I am ranting about how I am a useless stupid mother, pathetic cause all the other mums do cool cakes.  And going on about poor neglected Kate who just wanted a special cake and I can't give her the one she wants.  Woe is me. Etc etc.  

I was meant to make 2 cakes - one for the party (at the indoor pools tomorrow) full of lollies, and the other for the family dinner afterwards with a cake inside.  
The cake was another fail - first time making a bowl shape and it sunk in the middle when I tested it.  Sigh.  I fixed it by cutting out the middle and filling it with marshmellows (double piñata!?).  So this is the end result: 

The other cake....well, I ran out of chocolate by this point, and it was nearing midnight.  And by now I had yelled at Marty, who had offered to help/do it for me. (In my state of feeling like the dumbest mother ever I may have screamed at him kinda loudly for suggesting he could do it better then me). I had cried....enough to wake Jaimee up and have her in tears too at seeing mummy in tears (and very worried that Kate wouldn't have a cake). It really wasn't a very good evening! And then I screamed at Marty again for not comforting me and giving me a hug when clearly I was upset.  Poor man.  

In the end I saved enough chocolate to do the one below- a chocolate sheet on top of a bowl full of lollies.  She can still crack it open with the hammer.  It will have to do.  

What did I learn?
 That when Jaimee breaks down in a fit of tears and emotion cause she can't do her times tables.... Well, that may be a trait from her mother.  

And that I can't. Do. Cakes. 

Which I already knew and really shouldn't have gone there.  Next year I will embrace the square cake with the decorations and talents lie elsewhere!! 


  1. You are such a wonderful Mum, & like someone commented on your FB - you can't be good at everything. Good on you for giving it a go though! I think making the effort is awesome in itself. Kate will love the colourful cake she gets, & the chocolate sheet breaking will be fun :)

    On a baking note, I used cheap melts once - think they were Pams, & they did the same thing with going all lumpy in the microwave. Now I buy the more expensive Cadbury ones, or Nestle, & I haven't had that problem.

  2. I don't do cakes either Nikki. Marcus does. He has the patience and the skill and I'm quite happy every year to pass that responsibility over to him while I organise the party games etc. But I did tell you, that this particular cake was hard. Even Marcus with all his culinary skill vowed never to do another one. Jenni from play group makes AMAZING cakes. This year I'm thinking of getting her to do Olli's ninji one. But you know what, that cake is all about getting to smash it with a hammer so you are right, Kate won't even care as long as she gets to smash it! Have a great time today. Love ya! p.s. And if you are not completely put off melting chocolate, In my experience I have never trusted microwaves to melt chocolate but do it over a double boiler (chocolate in one pot sitting in another pot of boiling water.) It means I can keep a better eye on it in case it turns.