Remember that heat wave last summer? I do. I was in the house baking a birthday cake. Not just any birthday cake either. A Yo Gabba Gabba Cake. This one doesn’t fall into the success category. It was a total disaster as far as I’m concerned.
Do you know what Yo Gabba Gabba is? I needed to learn about it a little. As far as I can tell, it’s an outlet for Biz Markie to make money. If you don’t remember Biz Markie, he was pretty popular in 1989 with his song, Just a Friend. Well, now he’s a children’s show host. Go figure. I guess we all make career changes in our lives. Good on him.
Back to Yo Gabba Gabba – very much like the Teletubbies revolution, Yo Gabba Gabba has some odd-looking characters, Muno, Brobee and Plex being three of them. I was asked by a friend to create a Yo Gabba Gabba cake featuring these characters but I wanted to do something big enough for a party of adults to enjoy. I had the idea of what I wanted, I just had to put in action. No problem, right? Then came the heat wave. Problem. Playing with fondant is one thing – playing with fondant in a house with inadequate air-conditioning during a heat wave is something different altogether.
Nothing worked out right. The cakes were baked the night before and that was ok. Despite the heat, having the oven on only slightly elevated the temperature in the house. The next day I had set aside the morning to lay the fondant and finish the cakes. By 11 am it was nearly 28 degrees in the house (for my American friends, that’s celsius). Unbearably hot to sit and watch tv, nevermind try to play with a temperature sensitive material like fondant. Disaster struck.
You can’t make excuses for your cakes. The eaters don’t really care (or understand) what the problems in production may have been. Whoever ordered the cake just wants to see a beautiful finished product and the eaters want it to taste and look good. Good luck with that in this heat.
Sometimes you can hide a fold or a pinch in the fondant with a carefully placed leaf or other decorative element and no one is the wiser. When the design of the cake doesn’t have that many decorative elements, and the characters are known to the eaters (and expected to look a certain way), you’ve got yourself a caketastrophe in the making. No matter what I did, I couldn’t eliminate the folds and tucks. This stuff was sweating all over the place (I wasn’t doing that great in this department either but I managed to keep it off the cake).
My friend asked if she could pay me for the cake (which I can’t do – I don’t run a cake business, you see, so I can’t take money for these projects). I build cakes like this because it’s my creative outlet. One day, if I choose to pursue a business or career in baking, hopefully I’ll have developed a following, but in the meantime, I bake for friends and family out of the goodness of my heart. All I ask for is a thank-you note to add to my collection. As a complete aside, I know this cake was a disaster because I never got a thank you…sigh… I still feel horrible…but in the interests of full disclosure, here’s what the final product looked like:
There was also a “smash cake” – which is an interesting little twist on the cake genre, and I direct you to a neat little post about smash cakes here. This little guy’s smash cake didn’t turn out that great either, but I figured because he would be “smashing” it, it wouldn’t matter all that much: