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Monday, November 15, 2010

Practice Makes Perfect (Well, Getting There Anyway)

The title of this post sounds so cliche- but it is soooo true. Especially in cake decorating. In reading posts and comments on sites like Cake We Bake and Cake Central I see so many comments of people who think they'll "never be as good" as someone else- or just feeling down on themselves because their cakes don't look good enough (to them). First of all; there will ALWAYS be someone better than you in anything you do; if you accept that you'll feel a whole lot better about yourself. Second of all; the more cakes you make, the better you'll get at it. As long as you're having fun keep doing it. For this post I've pulled some of my past cakes for your viewing pleasure:

This was for a Halloween party my roommates and I had in college. I thought this cake (design straight from the pages of Better Homes and Gardens or something along those lines) was awesome. Tub icing and marshmallows wrapped in Fruit-by-the-Foot.

These pictures are of my grandparents 50th anniversary cake. I had been working in a wholesale bakery (cakes on a n assembly line believe it or not) and felt like pretty hot stuff after mastering the buttercream rose let me tell you. The year numbers are all actually tiny roses. Not a bad cake by any means, but very blah and nothing special.

And on to my very first sculpted cake- for a friend's wedding. This thing was humongous! I'm still proud of it, but man are those seahorses and starfish cheesy- and that blue:P I still like the job I did smoothing the buttercream on the shell-shape-what a p.i.t.a.. This was in my pre-historic B.F. days (before fondant).

Here are a few of my beer mug cakes; Not too bad looking; but I know at least one of them bit the dust on their car ride home. I knew NOTHING about support- these were just stacked and iced cakes- no dowels no nothing- oi vey!

Let's jump up a few years to after I discovered fondant. Here are two birthday cakes I did. I think they're nice cakes; but you can see the awful seams because I had no clue as how to handle fondant pieces that large.

Let's flash forward a few more years, to 2009. I first found out about the Threadcakes contest and submitted this entry, appropriately named "Fail"

This was my first time making chocolate decorations (and I still think the cows are super cute) But I was too lazy to make fondant and used a box of Jiffy icing mix (gee, who would've guessed a box of frosting mix that costs 50 cents wouldn't be the way to go?) I had a melty, un-smoothable mess. I had been so excited when I first heard about the contest ( a super cool cake making contest that challenges you to turn Threadless t-shirt designs into cake); and had planned on making billions of entries. How many did I submit? 1. I let myself be so disappointed in my first cake that I gave up.

Now, 2010. How many entries did I submit? 13. Because I'm a little nuts, and I didn't want to give up again.
Here's a link to my entries. I even submitted the cake that self-destructed in the heat and humidity:
And some of my favorite entries: "Rabbit Valley"

"My Pet Human"
The Threadless contest was kind of my baptism by fire as far as gumpaste modeling goes- another first.
Just seeing how I was improving and learning throughout the Threadcakes contest made me want to keep pushing myself to do more, and better, cakes. It also introduced me via facebook to a lot of cool people doing awesome cakes. I have more cake friends on facebook now then regular friends- and seeing their awesome pictures makes me want to do more cakes- and most people are very helpful if you ask them questions. (I also started a fb page for this blog- you can "like" it on the upper right of this page- hint, hint)
If I hadn't kept doing as many cakes as I've done since this summer I would've never done these:

And I certainly have LOADS more to learn (gumpaste flowers and PVC structures I'm looking at you); and know not to get cocky. Exhibit A: Recent Fail:
But the Cupcake cake's head falling off taught me a lesson that made the Mr. B. cake make it through the night and hour long car ride with his noggin still where it's supposed to be.

So just keep "caking" and having fun- you will improve; I promise.

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