Strengths and Weaknesses: Cake Decoration

December 10, 2009

A couple of weeks ago, when I was work-free and feeling unusually domestic, I decided to bake a cake for my husband. There was no reason, really--I was just feeling particularly appreciative of his all-around efforts, so James and I planned a "Daddy Appreciation Surprise Party."

The event had all the essential elements that any bash should have--games, prizes, food, speeches, but the crowning jewel of the party was indisputable. It was the cake.

You see, before my brother-in-law left for his two-year mission back in April, we used to Tivo Ace of Cakes and watch it on Friday nights. You know, because I'm awesome.

Somehow, watching all of those episodes puffed me up with a very strong, but very false sense of confidence. I'd seen those television bakers apply a crumb coat a zillion times! I was more than familiar with the internal architecture of a wedding cake. And good heavens, if any lay person had the ability to sculpt with sugar, it had to be me.

Not to mention the fact that I worked at a bakery for two years during high school.

Yes, it's true. I was only there to fill the jelly donuts. But this baking thing? It's running through my freaking veins.

So I gathered my tools, rounded up my four-year-old assistant, and channelled my inner pastry chef. Twenty-dollars, three hours, and two buckets of sweat later, I had created this:

It's a trout.

A rainbow trout to be exact.

What? You couldn't tell? You must be grossly unfamiliar with freshwater fish species, because I swear on all things holy, it's like you could reach out, touch that thing and be surprised that you had frosting on your finger. In other words, it's incredibly lifelike.

Or so I thought.

I was proud of this fish. So proud that I posted the pictures on Facebook for all the world to see. So proud that I chose to interpret Jared's laughing as "Whoa! Ha ha ha! How did a man like me end up with a woman of such talent? Ha ha ha! It blows my mind! Ha ha!" as opposed to, "Ha ha ha! This is, hands down, the sh!++*&t cake I've ever seen in my life! Ha ha!"

The smartie candy for the eye? The chocolate sprinkles for the spots? The anatomically accurate hook jaw? I tell you what, I was about to sign my ass up for culinary school.

And then this morning, as I wiped the sleep from my eyes and checked my Google Reader, my world came crashing downaround me. And it crashed down hard.

I clicked on my friend's blog, and was greeted by a picture of this:

Yes, it's a cake. Yes, it's a trout. And yes, believe it or not, it's also a rainbow trout. Just like my cake.

(I know, she totally didn't put enough spots on the tail or the belly--it confused me, too.)

Oh these novices. She'll get the hang of it eventually. And in the mean time, I'll be the one whimpering in my closet.


Sarah said...

Oh man you crack me up! If you'd like, I can post the real life picture I used as my guide...there were NO spots on the belly! And you can't see the spots on the tail because of lighting okay!?

But were my inspiration. And this never would have been created if I had a newborn! And last year Jason didn't even get a cake until 1 month after his Birthday because I had Ella the day before his birthday! So really, YOU are more spectacular than I am!

Mindy said...

Wow, your friend's got a lot to learn... ;) What I want to know is, which one tasted better? That's what's most important, right?

NorahS said...

I like your cake best!

X-Country2 said...

I'd tell people James decorated your cake. They assume it anyway. :o)

funderson said...

HA! I can so relate. I make Aidan's birthday cake every year. Sometimes it turns out better than others, but he LOVES them. HE thinks they are the BEST EVER IN THE UNIVERSE! So, my advice is to just make cakes for James from now on...

Cheryl said...

I love your cake! It looks like a very Christmassy trout. And, we all know my Sarah is a perfectionist, and probably wouldn't have posted a picture of her cake if it hadn't turned out perfect. You are both awesome!

sarah marie said...

I discovered your blog a while ago and I must say, you make me laugh out loud on a regular basis! Love your sense of humor.

BrianFlash said...

Hey - her cake was only a picture of a fish - your's was an actual fish! It's MUCH harder to make an actual fish cake instead of just drawing one on top of a square cake that probably is by Betty Crocker.

wendy said...

Ah, good job on the cake. I could totally tell it was a ---fish??

haven't been to your blog for a long time and decided to check in on you again---funny as usual.

We have a pond on our land, and I am not sure any of our rainbow trout look like that??
but there are other animal species for you to try out (tee,hee)

MsDarkstar said...

It's a matter of "level of difficulty" and making an actual fish-shaped cake is MUCH more difficult than making a rectangular cake with a picture of a fish on it.

Sleep deprivation + domesticity = lots of things that seem like good ideas at the time. I think your fish cake is beautiful!

pam said...

hahaha. I love your cake. . . LOVE IT! I agree. . . making your cake the SHAPE of the fish--now that is raw artistry at its finest.

Oh how you make me laugh :)

Krista said...

If you could each please ship me a piece of your cake, I may be more inclined to offer words of wisdom on this matter. I will not, by the way, put up a picture of the cake I made my daughter for her birthday.

It was supposed to be a round three layer cake. Somehow it turned out with three round layers, and a square layer on the bottom I guess for some kind of good luck (didn't know what else to do with all the extra batter). She picked the frosting colors of blue, purple, and pink, which sound pretty, but just didn't look to appetizing on the actual cake. Your cake is awesome - I may even try to replicate it one day for my fishing loving son!

Catherine M. said...

I love you Amy! You actually staged a husband appreciation party. That is amazing. Matt likes white cake and I made him yellow cake on every single birthday for 10 years before I finally got it right and remembered that its the cake without the yolk that he likes. Yes, he told me every single time we shopped, bought cake, ate cake, had a birthday, and anytime I ate dessert anywhere that he likes white cake and it took me 10 years... At least you know your man likes rainbow trout. Cheers. Running white rock on Sunday for you!

Patti said...

You totally get bonus points for making it into a fish shape...cut free hand I'm sure!!!

Grandma said...

Duff would like both for their individual styles!

Morgan -Ing said...

Your cake is lovely. I have the ability to make the butt-ugliest cakes. Seriously. Yours is good. :)

paige said...

As i was reading your blog, my 7 year old son came up behind me, saw your friend's cake & said, "WOAH, that's a COOL cake!!" so i scrolled up & said, "which one do you like better?" & he burst out laughing, calling his 9yo sister over... "Peyton, you gotta see this!"
She was unimpressed & said, "who would want to eat a cake with sushi on it anyway?"

i love your cake. :)

blaine said...

We once made a cake for my son's birthday party. It ended up being called "an experiment gone horribly wrong. Years later, we created a unicorn that looked more like a pink cow.

I would choose your cake hands down..any day. Even Duff would dig it.