I love to make cakes…I do…really! I hate making cakes…seriously! Wait, now I love it again! What do you mean that won’t work? The fondant is cracking!!!!! That cake is the perfect height! Oh no, that cake is really crooked. The color is too soft! The color is too bright! I am never working with gum paste again! Wow, the gum paste flowers are so beautiful! I love working with gum paste! Let’s use crisco for that…actually, let’s use powdered sugar…oh wait….corn starch.
Now that you all have come to the realization that I am crazy, let me explain the emotional roller coaster that takes place every time we make cakes. I never thought that something that sounds as simple as making cakes would push and stretch me in the way that this new venture has done.
It all starts with an idea. Someone says they would like a cake, and the creative juices start flowing. Let’s compare this to your run-of-the-mill, amusement park roller coaster. Everyone, close your eyes. Imagine you are stepping into the car of the roller coaster. Your heart is pounding. The anticipation is growing. The track is looming before you, and the coaster begins to move. Ok, you can open your eyes now. This is very similar to the beginning of a cake project. When we get started we are full of creative ideas. We research how to use new and different techniques. We anxiously and also a little nervously prepare for our cake adventure. Then we are off!
It may start off happy and light-hearted. We may even get the false sense of security that you often feel as you twist and turn through making fondant flowers and leaves to using cookie cutters to make perfect shaped fondant pieces. Things are going well…fun even. Then the impending sense of doom sets in. You see the hill before you. It looks like Mount Everest. You think, “I have to do that? Are you kidding me? You must be crazy!!!!” Then we come to the realization that we have no choice. We have to make gum paste people. We have to figure out how to support multiple layers of cake. We have to zebra print a cake. There is no turning back once that roller coaster has left the gate. So, you climb the hill or mountain, depending on your perspective.
You get to the top, and just when you think, “Sure, we’ve got this,” you race down the hill. “The gum paste shoe broke! The flowers are cracking! The cake is sinking!” These are the thoughts that run through your mind as you race down that hill at a breakneck speed. And strange as it sounds, at the back of our mind, even though we are scared to death, we are thinking, “This is great!”
You made it through! The mountain is behind you. You sit back to enjoy the ride. The cake comes together. The piping looks great. The flowers are beautiful. The pictures look fantastic. Everything is boxed up, and ready for delivery. “What?! What’s that?! A loop, in the roller coaster?! You have got to be kidding me?! You mean, I actually have to pick up the cake; put it in the car; and drive it to another building.” We often find that this is one of the most stressful parts of the ride, and yet completely worthwhile.
Delivery! You made it! You walk in, and the person is standing there. They have been waiting for this moment (one little boy sat at his window
all morning), just as you have. They are delighted! It is everything that they imagined it to be! You breathe a sigh of relief…you made it through the ride alive. As you get off the ride and feel like puking your guts out, you turn toyour neighbor, your partner, your friend (who in this case is my mother) and say, “Let’s do it again.”