I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Friday, January 2, 2009

A Not-So-Kosher Cake

Edited: Photos added below for your viewing pleasure.

I thought I'd share this story since all of you are my avid cake fans (and if you're not...well, really, what excuse do you have?) I get a lot of requests for 3D cakes - Thomas the Tank Engine, pirate ships, beer bottles, etc. To be honest I don't love doing them as they require a lot of engineering, and it can be a bit of a challenge. My 3D cake carving skills have improved enormously this year, but sometimes even us professionals get it all a bit wrong.

A few months ago a client came to me wanting a cake for Jan 2 - she brought in a stuffed pig which was a) wearing a tiara, b) had "drama queen" on it in glitter letters and c) it was also a money box. How random can you get? She wanted me to make this pig into 3D cake for her, minus the words and money box part. Apparently it was for her daughter's first birthday ... because when she was pregnant her DH bought this pig for her. Personally, I totally did not understand what the heck one thing has to do with another, but there you go! I get strange requests all the time, so this one wasn't too terrible...although I did doubt the taste of the idea.

Can we just go back to the pig part? If it were me, and I was all pregnant and hormonal and feeling huge and whatnot, and my partner brought me a PIG which says DRAMA QUEEN on it...you know what? I'd shove it up his sorry ass. Sorry, but it's true. What better way to piss off a pregnant woman than to make reference to the fact that she's a) huge and b) hormonal?

Anyway... I sculpted and iced it on the 31st, to allow time for the fondant to dry - I was worried about it's stability and also the tiara holding it's shape. I came in today (Jan 2) in the morning to do some work...and my poor piggie had been sheared completely in half! Even though I'd supported it well (I thought!) the weight of the head (also made of cake) obviously caused it to fail in a big way. Literally I had half a pig on one end of the board, and the other half at the other end of the board!

3D Pig cake. FAIL.

It is a testament to my new-found patience that I didn't just fall into a jolly great heap and start crying. Instead I just laughed at the damn thing and set to work repairing the poor guy. Not even alive one day and already he's been carved!

I ended up having to re-do the entire thing in the one hour I had before she came to pick it up. Of course when she got there, she didn't really like it at all! I think it actually hit home to her that while it was a good idea in theory, in practice serving pig head at your kids' birthday party might just be a TAD weird (even if it is cake.)

If I'm completely honest, I was very glad to see that little curly tail heading out the door. I'd had enough of Wilbur by then and it was a relief to see him go.

All day I've been imagining them carving up this pig head andserving it up to kids, and eating it...it totally makes me gag. Then again, maybe I should've made her red velvet cake (a la the armadillo in Steel Magnolias!)

...and for those who are dying to see (and I know you are, since you said so)

Here is the original piggy bank (can you believe this thing is $24?!)
Here is my version. Admittedly, it's not one I'm particularly proud of (which is why I did not post it earlier) ...it's not my usual standard because I had to start all over again and finish it inside of an hour. I did, however, have all the details including that one ear is folded and one curled, the seams on the face and so on.

And here is another one I found while trying to find the original. Seriously, who knew there was a market for bling-bling piggy banks?


Claire - Matching Pegs said...

I think we need a photo of the pig Michelle - or even of half the pig!

Good on you for not falling in a heap - I think I might have :-)

emzeegee & the hungry three said...


Your wish is my command. Photos now included.

I didn't fall into a heap because living a less anxiety-ridden life is one of my unofficial resolutions for the year. I spent way too much time in '08 being full of worry and stress instead of just getting on with it!


M. Biddle said...

There was really nothing you could do, Michelle. It's a stupid cake idea and you just can't fix stupid.

The only thing worse than the one she brought to you would have been the disco ball one you found!

I for one think the cake looks cute...but like you cannot imagine cutting into it. Maybe at the National Pork Convention, but NOT at a first birthday party. What was she thinking?!?!?!

Chelley said...

I dont think this lady has a brain to think with who on earth would have that as a first birthday cake!!!

Hey did she pay you for it??? LLOOLL

emzeegee & the hungry three said...

Melody: yeah, I'm with you that it was a bad idea to begin with. Normally I'm pretty good about giving out advice to clients, but sometimes they just won't budge. In this case she was pretty clear about what she wanted...it was a "can you do this?" and I said "yes" and that was it! I'm going to have to call the National Pork Board and tell them I've got the perfect cake...! :)

Chelley: She did pay for it! I actually considered backing out (something I've NEVER done before) but she paid a deposit and happily paid the balance as well. To be sure, I've learned the lesson of getting a deposit ahead of time!