Tuesday, 20 August 2013

The cake: My therapist.

It started out as a normal Friday. My older kids headed off to school, my youngest eats his tiny teddies while Play School is on, I tidy up the kitchen after breakfast and finally drink my coffee that was made an hour ago. The oven is preheated, my kitchen is clean enough, so I begin baking.

I was making a dump truck cake. It was all planned out in my head, as it had been for quite a few days. Even the cake shop lady was impressed with my plan:

I knew that this cake wasn't going to be tricky. It was going to be trucky! Dump trucky, for a joint 4th and 40th birthday the next day. I could easily have most of it finished before I had to pick the kids up from school I'd imagined.

A couple of hours later, the cake was cooled, carved, and covered in icing, patiently waiting for me to cover up it's nudity with some nice, bright yellow fondant:

... But then the fight started.

The yellow fondant that I had was SO tough to roll! At first, I thought I was just weak from not exercising -seriously, at all- for the entirety of Winter (which has not mixed well with my diet of coffee, Tim Tams, Chinese, and chips)... But, I hadn't had this much difficulty last week when I was rolling fondant. Immediately, the blame game started.

Perhaps it won't be so bad once it's on the cake? I picked it up with my rolling pin, and rolled it out onto the cake. Not sooner than it touched the cake, though, it was ripping and tearing, and breaking right in front of me! Nooooooo! I took it off and slammed it onto the bench top, holding back the tears from years and years of clearly undiagnosed neglect.

I looked at the clock, and it was time to get the kids. Actually, the kids had already been at the park for at least 30 minutes by this stage...

With a toddler in tow, we marched off to the park.

My clothes were covered in flour; my face was covered in tears and stress. I see my friends at the park. Knowing that I was a bit. on. edge, they offer their ears to hear about my current cake problems. It's a shame that yellow is such a hard colour to get so bright when you colour it yourself... Otherwise I may have accepted all the white fondant I was offered from 3 different people.

I was convinced that everything would be fine if I just go and get some more yellow fondant.

My friends offer to supervise my children at the park while I screech off in my car, cake-shop bound. Half way there, I realise that I'm driving in almost the completely wrong direction... Ugh! What else can go wrong! ... I wasn't going to make it to the cake shop before it closes, anyway - what was I thinking? I pull over, call Husband to give him the run down on why he will now be coming home to a kitchen covered in flour, a woman on the verge of a mental breakdown, and the request to arrive home with Chinese and Tim Tams. I turn around and come back.

"That was quick" my friends said, as I arrived 20 minutes after I left for a what-would-have-been-40-minute car trip. "Well, I accidentally went the wrong way and ended up in the wrong suburb. And,  well, maybe the fondant situation isn't as bad as I think it is, so I'm going to try and save the fondant that I already have." Geez, I sound like my husband: so. freaking. calm.

I tried it on the cake again. It worked only marginally better the second time around, maybe because I was prepared for the predicted ripping and tearing. I wasn't really happy with the look of it, but it just had to do. It was 7pm, and I was well past the point of no return. There was still no sign on Chinese and Tim Tams. I poured out my soul to the cake, annoyed that it didn't want to co-operate with me. I expressed deep feelings of hurt and betrayal. It said nothing! It just sat there and looked at me. It didn't even want to ask me how I felt, like therapists normally should! Waaaaaah.

I texted Husband. Maybe he will want to ask how I felt about this disaster. While I waited for a reply, I glued a strip of black fondant around what would be the top of the dump part of the truck. It was something, at least, to take away from the eye-sore that this "easy cake" had become.

"Don't touch it until I get home." was his reply.

GREAT! Now I'm banned from finishing the cake.

He came home, and inspected the damage. He told me that from what I had expressed, he thought it would be much, much worse. "What do you mean! It's terrible!" I whimpered as I sat in the corner, bracing my knees and rocking back and forth.

He then matter-of-factly offered an idea of how to fix it: A big sign for each side. (note: big). "But, but, that's not what it's supposed to look like!" I shouted, holding back more tears! But despite trying to argue with him, he actually was right. That would potentially fix it. The planned design will just have to change.

I Googled what an actual dump truck should look like. HA! Okay. Cake looks nothing like that. Surprisingly, I felt better.

I made the signs. Big, white signs, out of fondant, the size of the sides of the dump truck. Yellow, be gone! I made a 4 and 40 out of black fondant, and cleverly (well, I thought) used them as the "A" in CATERPILLAR (made with some last-minute yellow royal icing), which filled out a lot of the white space of the signs. I got over the fact that it was supposed to be a mostly yellow cake.

I then wrote the birthday boy's names with my edible pen thing, and attached Oreo biscuits as wheels. I was slowly regaining confidence, and am considering making an appointment to see a therapist who will actually talk to me.

The top of the cake was the easiest part of the entire fiasco: Chocolate buttercream, with crushed Oreo's. The whole time I was waiting until I could do this bit, which is the only part that was according to plan.

The end was in sight, and I felt okay. I forgave my cake therapist for being so difficult. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right? ... Or what doesn't kill you drives you to therapy in the first place.

... And then the (next) fight started.

The 'dump' part was done. Fin! But is a dump truck still a dump truck without the truck part?? I did have cake prepared for this, and covered in black fondant. But it turned out to be the wrong. freaking. size! Far OUT!! Our friend was minutes away from picking up the cake, and I hadn't finished it yet! The front part just wasn't sitting right! "It'll be fine" says Husband. "NO IT WON'T!! GET OUT OF MY KITCHEN!!"

Therapy will be good.

I made a coffee and took a deep breath. Does the front of the truck have to be made of cake?? But what else could I use... C'mon, Nat, THINK!

I ran to the shops. Searching the aisles for what I could use as a truck, I came across TISSUES! Yes please! 2 boxes, thanks. I also purchased black cardboard, and made the bolt back home to continue repairing the cake.

I covered one of the tissue boxes in black cardboard, and sticky taped it to the cake board. Husband knew not to speak to me at this time, but was incredibly helpful and made the windows.

The cake, disaster bound to begin with, finally became reasonably passable as a dump truck:

The second tissue box was used as I farewelled the cake that had caused so much grief and pain in making. I'm not sure whether I was sad or happy to see it leave my house. But I cried never-the-less.

Immediately I made an appointment to see the dietician.

And a therapist.

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