7 Easy Lessons in How Not to Decorate a Cake

Yesterday I went to help at a cake walk hosted by the Friends of the Center for Families, to raise money for the Center for Families, the organization where I worked for several years. Being the good samaritan I am, I decided to make both cupcakes and a cake. But since I spent a good chunk of Friday running around (seems to be the theme of my life lately) I decided to be lazy give myself a bit of a break and make them from cake mixes. 

To assuage the slight twinges of guilt I felt from not baking from scratch, I felt I needed to jazz them up a bit and make them at least look pretty. After standing in the cake aisle for about five minutes, staring at the various sprinkles, frostings, icings, and assorted other decorating items, while mentally kicking myself for not thinking to make a Pinterest inspiration board before venturing over to the grocery store, an idea popped into my bead. 

I know! I will decorate a cake with our logo. I am so clever and I will have the best cake ever!

That shouldn't be too hard, right? I bought some blue and yellow Cake Mate crystals and went on my merry way. 

So Friday night, after already baking and decorating the cupcakes and making a poster cause our professional-looking banner I was supposed to get printed was not quite done, I set out to make the best cake-walk cake ever  I decided I would make a stencil out of wax paper so the people would come out just right. 

I mean, how hard could it be to make this relatively simple logo in these tiny, sparkly crystals?

Cake crystals

Well, let me tell you, unless you are secretly Martha Stewart, leave the cake decorating to the professionals. Try as you might, at 10:00 pm at night you are not going to magically develop incredible cake-decorating abilities. 

So, dear readers, I leave you these simple tips to help you make sure your adventures in cake decorating is just as (un)successful as mine.

7 Simples Lessons in How Not to Decorate a Cake

1. Make a cake at 10:00 pm on a Friday night after a long week and you all you want to do is snuggle up under your covers and read Shopaholic Takes Manhattan (yes, I am reading that right now. Don't judge me.)

2. Spend 10 minutes meticulously smoothing out the frosting on the surface of the cake and then stick a wax paper stencil over it. You will ruin the beautiful smoothness and curse yourself for that wasted energy.

Cake stencil

3. Lick the frosting off the knife when you are done frosting the cake. Inevitably you will realize you will need said knife after you pull off half the frosting when removing the stencil and will end up dirtying another knife and/or have frosting that you can no longer use can your saliva is now in the leftover frosting (don't worry, I only accomplished the first part).

4. Use crystals and shake them all over your cake. They will get all over your counter and underneath your microwave and on the floor, and inveitably those sprinkles will stick to the bottom of your socks as you frantically run around your kitchen trying to finish up cause all you really want to do is go to bed.


5. Realize at 10:15 pm you don't have anything to put the cake in. You will not be happy with yourself, will yell at your husband to stop playing that damn video game and help you find something, and you will end up using a coveted giant piece of tupperware normally reserved for storing brisket at the Jewish holidays.

6. Take a picture while in the middle of frosting the cake to record the disaster beautiful moment. You will get frosting on your nice expensive camera and will have a momentary freakout.

7. Put a yellow logo on a white frosted cake. You will barely be able to see the design and all your hard work cutting out the stencil will be for naught.

Decorated Cake

My one cake-decorating do: Just go buy one and save yourself the hassle. You can totally pretend you made it an everyone will be super impressed with your cake making abilities. 

(Just kidding)

What's your greatest (or not so much) story in baking?




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