July 24, 2012

Make Lemonade

When life gives you lemons...

My brother in law probably had one of the worst birthdays in recorded history last year. Aside from being shot, stabbed, or run over by a car, it couldn't have gotten much worse. So this year, his wife wanted to throw a big surprise party with about 30 of his closest friends and family to make up for it. Ray and I played host, since it made it easier on her and I to prep food and decorate in advance. I also volunteered to make his birthday cake since I've done a few wedding cakes and have worked with fondant for various birthday cakes and whatnot.

He and Ray are both obsessed with Alice in Wonderland (in particular the Mad Hatter and Cheshire Cat), so I decided on this cake (sans teacup). 

So I spent the better part of a week doing prep work, including baking 8 cakes, making vanilla bean simple syrup, and whipping up some swiss meringue buttercream by eyeball since my candy thermometer broke (agh!!). I started assembling it Friday night, and that's when disaster hit. I had the cake levelled, filled, stacked, and ready for fondant, and despite the dow rods I'd inserted every two layers (and through the center of the entire cake), it collapsed like a dying star, ending up as crumpled blobs on my counter.

Naturally, I got hysterical. And naturally, Ray made a beeline for the kitchen and said with a cheshire-cat-grin, "guess this means I get to eat some of the cake now," and then started grabbing cake chunks off the counter with his bare hands. Even Sir Whiskers got in on the action and started munching on pieces that fell off the counter. *sigh* Anarchy, I tell you..pure anarchy!!!

So once my theatrics were under control, I managed to salvage the base of the cake. And I didn't even care that it ended up domed at the top due to my reconstructive cake surgery.

I just slapped some fondant on that beast and went with it. And I didn't bother to make it extra pretty and smooth, because it was almost midnight, my nerves were shot, and it's not like anyone but me was gonna know the difference anyway!

I opted for a Batman logo because we had a comic theme going on anyway with Avengers & Batman decorations (yes, we mixed Marvel & DC...the horror!), plus we were going to see The Dark Knight Rises as a family later that night. Worked out pretty well in the end, because it actually went with the party theme a little better, and all the little boys at the party loved it!

And that other problem? How to feed birthday cake to 30 people when you only have one 8" round cake? Well, there was no way I was gonna waste all that cake after the blood, sweat and tears that went into it. Did I mention it was a yellow cake, with swiss meringue buttercream that I folded cream cheese and strawberry puree into? It tasted like strawberry shortcake heaven!  And since my momma didn't raise no fool, I improvised and turned it into a trifle. I ran to the store in the morning and grabbed some heavy whipping cream, made some more strawberry puree with some added sugar and a little corn starch to thicken it, and layered the frosted cake chunks with the whipped cream & puree. Voila!

Lemonade out of lemons ;)

The party was a blast, and we had a great time grilling out, hanging with family & friends, and drinking Mexican Coke out of a bucket full of ice. Doesn't get much better than that :)

How was your weekend?


You are truly amazing, to turn disaster into yummy!

Absolutely wonderful!! It always works out :) And that trifle looks A-mazing!! Oh my yum!!!!

Awesome job! I love that Whiskers took advantage, I can only imagine the complete mayhem that would ensue if this happened in my house!! Your cakes are both beautiful!!

Looks like it turned out very well! The batman cake is wonderful!! But a question, what is Mexican Coke?

I love that despite the drama's it worked out better than ever! All Alice Wonderland fans need a trip to Oxford to see the locations that inspired the story and of course a trip to the Alice in Wonderland shop. Yeah, we really have a shop devoted to Alice :-)

genius! Have you got any of that trifle left, because I'll be right over ;-)

Funny how sometimes, disaster works out better than you planned. Nicely done!

Holy cake disaster, Batman! I'm glad you were able to pick up the pieces, literally. I would have just thrown in the towel and made brownies. But your hard work paid off, and I bet it was delicious. Also, my birthday's in December, FYI. ;)

lol at jaceys comment! i have to admit, we went to see the new batman movie this weekend and i had a bit too much to drink before we got there and i slept through most of the middle of it. oops! spencer says my punishment is that i have to wait until it is on dvd to see it again, isn't he horrible! i am really really really wanting to eat that trifle, like all by myself!

Wow! You are a hero! You not only survive the cake disaster, but you made it a succes!

awesome save!!! And holy sh*t, I don't think I knew anything about your brother last year. I do recall you mentioning some really tough stuff going on. I guess that was it. man. Saying you must all be pretty thankful he was here to celebrate this year is a massive understatement, I'm sure!

okay, hang on. I went back to re-read that bit (it's late and I'm overloading on Plaid Scotty) and i realize now that he WASN'T shot, stabbed and runover. Seriously, when I skimmed that at first I thought all those things had happened to him! Okay, having said that, whatever else went on must've been brutal, so I'm happy you were all able to celebrate your BIL's birthday with a Batman cake.

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