Generally speaking, baking is enjoyable. You get to create something magical with the most fun ingredients – sugar, chocolate, vanilla, butter, sprinkles and love. Your baked goods can bring happiness to a somewhat humdrum day. Me: “Hey you, cookies are in the break room!” You: "Hoo-Ray!" See. The mood has completely changed. But let’s also talk about those grueling moments that can come along with baking. The moment when your cake sinks in the middle or the moment when your intricate pie crust design melts away in the oven or when you forget to set the timer and everything goes to sh*t. Yes, those unkind moments. We have dealt with some of those mishaps. Correction: we deal with those mishaps more often than not. The key is how to bounce back! Below are a few of our behind the scenes baking blues and how we handle it. Bake the cake, don’t let the cake bake you.
Pie crust meltdown
Our fruit tarts are in the shape of squares. This time for whatever reason, I decided I would make them in the shape of traditional empanadas. Once I checked on them in the oven, I knew I was in deep doodoo. The crust around the peach filling had cracked and separated. When I took out each tray and let them cool, they were too fragile to even pick up and crumbled in my hands. I had about 1 hour before I needed to deliver these fruit tarts and more treats for a wedding. Luckily, I had let some pie crust thaw out overnight and hurriedly scraped the peach filling out of the disaster tarts and put them in our newly formed square. Everything went smoothly. Particularly, with the help of my assistants.
Pro tip: Always keep extra crust in the freezer! Scratch made pie crust can last a few days in the fridge and months in the freezer. Storing extra crust in your freezer is never a bad idea.
A few hours before a graduation cake drop off, I woke up a little earlier than usual to make Swiss meringue buttercream and ice the Lemon Olive Oil cakes. I woke up that morning, a bit sleepy and unfocused, and rushed to make the buttercream. Somewhere between beating the egg whites and adding the butter, the buttercream looked more like cottage cheese. Yikes! Well...what now?
I decided to pop it in the fridge a for bit and rewhip it since I read that was the proper procedure in this case. Unfortunately, my problem was much deeper and the buttercream could not be saved. It dawned on me as I cussed myself that I didn’t whip the egg white & sugar mixture long enough. And instead of letting go, I wasted precious time. Luckily, I was able to whip up a new buttercream and make my delivery on time – very stressfully I might add.
My takeaway: When it’s not working out, toss it to the curb and start over ASAP. More importantly, give yourself more than enough time to ice and decorate your cakes cause life be like "yea, ok"
I dropped my customers cake, in front of them! I was just finishing the decorations of their cake (buttercream roses with pink pearls) and when I tried to lift it into the cake box, it fell over onto the table. I probably screamed out loud. My customer said "is there anything I can do?" "Yes. Can you please not watch me?" I had blamed it on the small talk we were making that distracted me, but also this was at a time when I was so new to making cakes.
Here's what I learned: the cake board under your cake should also be two inches bigger than your actual cake. THIS is what makes it easy to move. Always complete your cake the day prior to the customer's pick up time, any mishaps should happen when they are NOT around.
We hope our unfortunate baking tales and tips were useful. Remember, make the cake, don't let the cake make you! Have you experienced a crazy baking moment? How did you bounce back? Comment below!