Monday, May 17, 2010

Sometimes in life, you can have your cake and eat it too!

I get so dang excited about doing cakes! I am not stellar at it! They look cute, taste good, but if a real cake decorator looked at it, oh boy! Of course you know me, I really don’t care! I love it!

Last week I had the opportunity to do a cake for a young fellow here who received his eagle scout award. I do not know a lot about Scouts, but I do know that earning this award is a BIG deal! Jeremy is very young to achieve it, and its hard work. You need to earn merit badges (something like 30) which all take time and effort, and you have to organize a big project in the end. It seems like a lot of work, but like anything that is a lot of work, it can be a wonderful learning experience. It’s more than learning to tie a knot or build a fire, it’s life skills, people skills, service. A long process that can turn a young boy into a young man. 

When I first heard he needed a cake, my initial reaction was dread! It is different to make a cake for your child than for someone else! Especially when it is a special occasion. I have learned that my initial response is usually wrong, it turned out to be a great learning experience and time of reflection.

Here is the story.

White Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Cream Cheese icing was the flavor palette.

DSCN0533Ummm, hmmm, problem! After 2 batches of burnt white chocolate, I had a lava cake. Clearly my original recipe was not working. (This was a 8 inch cake, which equals 1 cake with $3 of white chocolate)

So I tried again, this time doing a 10 inch and a 6 inch (yes to those of you who know, equals about  2 cakes and $6 of white chocolate). Again over flowing outers, drooping inners…

So then I tweaked the recipe, and did a 14 inch (which equals 3 cakes and $9 of white chocolate) I put less batter in, same result… Don’t worry, I have a team of dedicated teenage boys who come over 2 or 3 times a week to eat up any left over, mishap cakes.

But I am not one to give up, I did my final round, 1 each of 14, 10, 6 inch cake. (Translation, 4 cakes, $12 of white chocolate) The 10 and the 6 overflowed, but I was able to trim them down flat, the 14 was perfect until it sunk in the center.

Have I mentioned I don’t care for white chocolate, but currently I hate white chocolate. IMG_0128Yes, I lied, it wasn’t my final round, I did more of each size in Vanilla…

Sigh of relief….

For the filling, I decided against my Raspberry Cream Cheese theory, I went with Cream Cheese Icing, White Chocolate Ganache and Raspberry filling. IMG_0129I also decided that the cute little 6 inch deserved 4 layers, it looked really pretty when cut. Love the 6 inch cakes!

Time for the icing, I was wanting to do the cake in the Scout uniform colour.  I played until I got something close to it.IMG_0130

It unfortunately reminded  me a wee bit of newborn poo… 

The icing of the cake, is the part I HATE! I feel good when the cakes are baked, I feel like smashing my head into the running kitchen aid while trying to smoothly ice a cake.

Fondant and decorations

After the baby poo thought, I went outside to watch Meliah ride her bike and to look at the mountain for inspiration. Green, (Jenny Welton, I believe you now, the mountain is green, we do have green! And it is beautiful!)

I did not want to mix the fondant completely, so that there would be different shades of green. Hard to see in the picture, but it worked well.IMG_0132Sometimes you have to play with your decorations to decide what you want. The moose ended up to tall, and the start of my campfire, well it looked more like the droppings of a large moose…

IMG_0137In the end the cake turned out great. Jeremy’s final project was building a campsite with a fire pit, so we wanted nature to be the major theme in the cake.

The best part of the cake, no not the delicious chocolate rocks. No not that it was done, it was the epiphany that came with the conclusion of the cake. Sometimes you can have your cake and eat it too, my cake looked great, but what I learned about life in the process was greater.

The cake was far more than a few days of lava in my oven, and icing everywhere. It was a chance to serve. It was a opportunity to share a memory with new friends.

Watching Jeremy accept his award with a picture of his deceased father on the table, brought tears to my eyes.

Watching him hug his mom to thank her for all her help, made me smile with love, joy and affection of a family I hardly know.IMG_0144 Listening to him talk about his older brother who was such a good role model and an example to him, made me so proud, of yes a teenage boy I don’t even know! IMG_0147 The entire evening, the entire experience had absolutely nothing to do with cake. Rather it had everything to do with the accomplishment of a young man, with the help of his mother, brother and friends.  It was a time for me to grow and reflect on what was really important in my life.

What are my priorities?

What is my role?

What am I doing to achieve my goals ?

I am so grateful for the opportunity to get to know this family and for the opportunity I have every day to hear the soft promptings of the spirit to guide and direct me. To grow and to learn, and to become a better me!


Next: A  Spiderman birthday cake  for Michael! I wonder what I will learn this time? Heck, how do you spell Michael?


  1. Heather, I just discovered your blog! I was so happy to read this post. I've been feeling a little guilty since I pretty much volunteered you to make this cake. I am so glad to see that it turned into a great experience for you. And wow, what a cake! I had envisioned a flat sheet cake. You really went above and beyond! That cake is a true work of art!

  2. Your so funny! It turned out great! And I love what you went through along the way... serving and all. I don't know how you spell Michael either... Did I spell it like you?