Sunday, May 22, 2011


Over the 19+ years I've been doing events and weddings, I have only twice had this happen...a rascal child with a penchant for adventure and an inquiring mind decides to take it upon him or herself to search for answers to life's most challenging questions in his or her personal that cake real and what will happen if I stick my finger in it??
The first time this occurred was during a 50th birthday party.  The cake was designed to look like the controls in the cockpit of the birthday boy's private plane.  Tara's Cakes in Hattiesburg, Mississippi did an amazing job!  Even the adults thought it was fake.  But one little girl of about 8 years old decided that her mother's words of confirmation of it's edibility were not enough.  She had to find out for herself, by not only sticking her little finger into the icing, but by also inserting little sword picks from the hors d'oeuvres into the cockpit dash.  I caught the little scoundrel just in time, before she moved to a more obvious positioning than the back of the cake, and was able to hide the tiny marks rather easily in the fondant icing with no one the wiser.  (You can see pictures of this fabulous event on my website under "Themed Events" and "John's 50th Birthday".)
Normally I'm a pretty good "fireman" when it comes to fast fixes to event dilemmas, but when this weekend's cake catastrophe occurred, I had to consult the expert.  During my setup time on Friday afternoon for my client's wedding Friday night at the Benachi House and Gardens, another bride was having her rehearsal for her Saturday night wedding.  This is common and had been cleared through my bride and through me.  The Saturday bride's party was outside practicing their ceremony on the porch.  They had a lovely and well-spoken 10 year old flower girl who was the picture of innocence with her lovely, long, red hair.  She and I had a charming little chat about what I was doing with a microphone and stand, at the end of which she asked me for the location of the restroom.  I gladly directed her inside the house and went about my business.  A few hours later, when the groom arrived to take photos, his first comment was "I don't think the bride is going to be happy when she sees that cake."  I was shocked, since the cake was exactly how she'd designed, with it's Tiffany blue buttercream icing and decorative peacock feathers.  I asked him why he thought she'd be upset and he said "Somebody stuck their fingers in it." 
I can't really describe to you my reaction.  It was a combination of "everything is going to be just fine" and "I'm going to drop kick that kid!"  Of course, I wouldn't really drop kick a 10 year old.  They're way to big.  But nonetheless, my face spoke volumes, I'm sure.  I checked the damages.  There they were....two little poke marks right in the center of the front of the cake.  Despite my beginner cake decorating classes, I was unable to salvage the smooth texture of the icing with a wet knife, as I remembered (incorrectly) was the quick fix.  So I called the baker, Wendy from Just Cake by Wendy in New Orleans, and begged her to return with some magic.  While she did her best to work something out, she could not get back to me in time. However, she was still able to save the day over the phone with the following fantastic and unexpected solution:  Viva Paper Towels.
The situation was in my highly caffeinated, shaky, hands.  To fix the smooth texture of the buttercream, I was instructed to use that particular brand, which has a thick, even texture and no pattern to its design, and a flat spatula to smooth out the surface of the cake.  I had a cake spatula from my class and use the Viva towels normally, so this solution was a piece of cake!  (ugh..shameless pun intended).  I ripped a single sheet of paper towel into a small manageable square and lightly placed it on the damaged spot.  Then I took my cake spatula and very gently "iced" back and forth the areas, alternating from the top of the tier to the side to make sure the icing didn't all squish to one area.  It took multiple smoothings, but the results were practically perfect!  Check out the two photos below to see the damaged area (after my failed attempt to fix it with a knife) and then the finished product (with strategically placed feather decoration):

So the moral of this story is...Keep those kids away from the cake! When all else fails, Viva los papertowel! (and spatula and decorative accent ☺)