There is a show on NPR called The Moth. (I must admit I love their pod casts. I sometimes listen to them in the kitchen in the mornings.) The Moth's mission is to promote the art and craft of storytelling and to honor and celebrate the diversity and commonality of human experience. The Moth has live story slams in select cites across the country with themes. If you attend and want to tell a story you enter your name in a hat and see if you randomly get picked. This past week there was one held in Seattle and the theme was "Preassure". My husband and I attended and I entered my name with hopes to tell about the time I decapitated a wedding cake. I was picked to tell my story first. It was so much fun and excitement. Below is the story I told, and the following is were you can link to learn more about The Moth.
I am a pastry chef, and for 6 years I owned my own bakery and catering business. A part of that business was making wedding cakes (If you want to know about pressure....deal with people on their wedding day.) Now let me inform you that when it comes to making a wedding cake it is roughly a three day process. Day 1: You bake the cakes and then chill them overnight. Day 2: You fill the cakes and give them a base coating of icing, and chill them overnight. Day 3: The cake gets it’s final spreading of smooth icing, stacked, and decorated.
This one bride in particular requested a three tiered cake coated in buttercream, pearl border, and some delicate lattice and scroll piping; it looked really pretty. I had to be at the site of the reception in about 30 minutes to meet the florist, as she was going to give me flowers to place around the cake. I was also ahead of schedule as the delivery site was about 20 minutes away, so my husband and I put the cake in the back of the car and off we went.
I had a station wagon at the time to make deliveries and for some reason on this particular day I had the back seats down. I was driving no faster than 35 miles and hour, on the way reception site, and we approached a yellow light in an intersection of the road. I slowed to a stop, and from the back of the car I hear “SSHHHHHMM PUUNNT!” I looked at my husband, and he looks in the back of the car. I say to him, “It can’t be that bad.” He looks at me with his eyes so wide and a very shocked expression on his face and responds, “Oh! It is bad!” I turn and look. The cake was all the way behind our seats. The top tier of the cake was no longer there. It flipped upside down and was laying in the back of the car.
My car had one of those bars across the back seat that held a screen that you could pull across and latch to hide whatever you were storing in the back of it. I still had that in place with the seats down. Now, I really did not think this through because my cakes until now always stayed right in the back where I put them. But the slight jolt of the car stopping made the cake slide across the back of the car with the bar decapitated the top tier of the cake.
I quickly pulled into a 7/11 parking lot and climbed into the back of the car to assess the situation. It was then that I noticed that my husband put his jacked tucked into the back seat of the car. The button from his jacket was now touching and imprinted into the buttercream on the bottom tier of the cake. This is what made me flip out. I looked at him and sternly said; “What would posses you to put your jacket back here? Your button is in the buttercream!” He blankly looked at me responding; “This is the least of our problems right now.” He then quietly walked away. I got out of the car and said; “Okay, I will fix it. But we need to go back to the bakery.”
On our way back to the bakery, all I was thinking is “I have to do this as fast and neat as I possibly can.” As we turned the corner to the bakery I started shouting out to my husband: “I need an offset spatula, rubber gloves, two pipping bags, scissors, a dowel, buttercream, a container of hot water, and towels.” I climbed into the back of the car, removed the bar, and started to adjust the cake. I took the top tier and whipped off the buttercream. I reapplied fresh buttercream, placed it on top of the cake, fixed the area that the button indented, reapplied a pearl border, and hammered a dowel through the cake to keep it in place. I jumped back in the car and carefully yet quickly, drove back to the reception site.
We get the the reception, place the cake on the table, and the florist says to me, “I was wondering where you were.” I responded with: “Oh, we hit some traffic.” I start to reapply the pipping detail to the top of the cake to match the rest of it. I noticed that guests were now arriving to the reception and I’m still decorating the cake. I quickly applied the flowers around the wedding cake, and finally, I was done.
I walked away from the cake and feel my body turn to jello. I looked at my husband and I said to him: “I need you to drive me home. I just can’t right now.” So we get in the car and head home. I cried. I cried a lot, and then I finally laughed about it. I decided, if they are unhappy or dissatisfied with their cake I will just give them there money back. What else could I do?
Two weeks went by, and I received a Thank You note in the mail. It read: Thank you so much for our wedding cake. It was adored by many, and enjoyed by more!