I’ve been running my home bakery business for about ten years. Over the years, I have continued to evolve as a baker and have learned what works and what simply does not. When I first started out, I was completely inexperienced but I had a love of baking that carried me through and made me determined to become a success. After all these years, I still laugh about the time I attempted to make a wedding cake for a friend of mine. What ensued is a classic case of “don’t try this at home”!
When my best friend decided to get married, I practically begged her to allow me to make her wedding cake. I figured this would be an opportunity for me to gain experience while allowing her to save money. We decided on the perfect recipe: a rich chocolate cake with a vanilla bean buttercream filling and a white chocolate fondant covering. This was a challenge I was completely prepared for, even though I knew it would be tough.
The particular recipe I was using required me to use a stand mixer. Unfortunately, my budget had not allowed me to make a purchase so I was stuck with my old standby handheld mixer. I thought it would be able to give me the volume I wanted in the cake so it would be light and fluffy. Little did I know this would cause me to make one of the worst cakes of my career.
The process of making the cake seemed to go well. The cakes came out looking quite beautiful and I was pleased with them. I gingerly removed them from the oven and placed them on cooling racks to cool while I prepared the icing.
As I assembled the cake, I was amazed at how easily things were coming together. I was so excited as I made each intricate rose to decorate this beautiful wedding cake. My friend was going to be thrilled with her cake and I knew the wedding guests would be so impressed they would want to hire me for all of their events.
Once it was complete, I had to take several pictures as a memory of my first big accomplishment in my bakery business. I could not wait to deliver it to the church so it could be set up. My friend was going to be so pleased; I just knew it!
During the wedding reception, the guests were in awe of my cake. My friend said it was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen and even her groom was ecstatic. I made sure everyone knew I was the baker, hoping I would soon have so many orders I could not keep up with them.
Soon, it was time for the bride and groom to cut the cake. I knew when they tasted the delicious chocolatey goodness they would be enthralled. I stood near the happy couple so I could see them cut the cake up close. I didn’t want to miss a minute of the exposure of the inside of my masterpiece.
As the knife slid in the cake, I noticed worried looks passing across my friend’s face. She pasted on a smile and continued cutting the cake. Suddenly, I began to see a shift in the cake. Before I knew it, all that was left was a pile of frosting and destroyed cake! The entire cake collapsed once it was pierced with the knife! I looked in horror around the room, my cheeks turning a crimson red!
All I could do was apologize to my friend and her groom. They were very good sports and laughed it off, even teasing one another with the icing. All I could think about was that everyone in the room knew I was responsible for this monstrosity!
Soon, I realized very clearly what caused the cake to fall. As they say, hindsight is 20-20! Had I used a stand mixer, I would have been able to have a stronger cake base. My poor low-powered handheld mixer simply could not stand up to the best Mixer Picks in the industry. I vowed at that exact moment that I would never use a handheld mixer again.
That day, I went out and bought one of the best stand mixers I could find. Though I was mortified over what happened, everyone else thought it was hilarious. In fact, ten years later, my friend and her husband still like to tease me over my first cake disaster. They have the photos to remind me of my disaster and continue to make sure I remember it from time to time.
Now that I have ten years of baking service under my belt, I feel confident in my abilities so it no longer bothers me that I made such a huge mistake. There is one thing for certain: I have never attempted to make a cake of any type without using my stand mixer. With my mixer, I will never have to suffer from the embarrassment of a failed cake again! Learning from your embarrassing mistakes is the best lesson of all!