Monday, June 8, 2009

Going Overboard on a Retirement Cake

It all started with a simple, but silly comment I made at a PTA board meeting. One of the other moms there mentioned ordering a bridge for our new teaching garden...right after my update on the "Spring Celebration", which was a low-key retirement party for our principal in addition to a garden dedication. I chirped up, "We could call it the Bridge to Retirement!" I was kinda kidding, but the PTA president loved the idea and so it happened.

Of course, being a cakey kind of person, I volunteered to make a cake for said Spring Celebration, which I was also co-chairing. Silly me. 'Cause you know what happened, right? Well, actually you probably couldn't imagine the insanity that occurred after that, which included having to reschedule the whole event because of the swine flu...rescheduling it to the weekend Daddy and I were supposed to go away without the children for the first time ever! For a minute, I was off the hook for the cake because suddenly no one was interested in eating home-baked goods. But that was when the swine flu panic was still going full force. If you didn't notice, it became a back-burner issue very quickly.

And then I made the mistake of suggesting that I make a replica of the Bridge to Retirement for the cake. Then I went and visited a bunch of aquarium stores hoping to make my job little easier. No simple aquarium bridges to be found. Turns out I should've gone this route to begin with:Not bad and not altogether difficult. It was a passable chocolate replica of the sturdy redwood bridge they'd installed.

Next, I needed to try and replicate the dry creek bed that runs under the bridge. A trip to my favorite cake supplies store provided not only some really killer cake mix for the 16" cake, but some fantastic "chocolate rocks" that were just what I needed.As soon as I got all the creekbed done, I knew I'd made a mistake frosting the whole thing white. It's a garden. It's dirt! Nothing a package of Oreos (stuffing removed) and a rolling pin couldn't handle!

I had a little bit of white fondant left over from Smunch's birthday cake and used that to fashion a green water pump. I also had some colored fondant I used to make more flowers to make everything more garden like.In a final act of decorating inspiration, I decided to try and make it look like water was coming out of the pump. To my astonishment, it worked...really well!I also used the green fondant for the stars on the side of the cake. I know they look kind of odd on this garden cake, but they are a take on the school logo and were actually more appropriate than you'd think.

The worst part of this cake was trying to write on top of Oreo crumbs. They're somewhat loose, so it's crazy difficult to pipe letters onto the top and make them look neat. In a way, that was good. It meant I couldn't get too creative with the message. It had to be short and simple. Now you have to imagine that I took this giant cake to a school-wide event. The kids were very impressed that I ended up having to post Daddy as a sentry to make sure no fingers ended up in the frosting before it was presented to the honoree. He fielded a number of questions. Who made that? Are those real rocks? Is that real dirt? What did you use for the water? And he did it all with good humor...especially considering we'd had to reschedule our trip for this shindig.I'd say it was a grand success. Of course, it wasn't big enough for everyone. And the potluck portion of the event didn't go particularly well. We totally ran out of food. I hid the cake away until the end and those whole helped out or stuck around for a long time got to eat it. That seemed fair, considering. I sent the bridge and a big chunk of cake home with Mr. Celeste. It was yummy...which was fortunate since I never got any dinner!

1 comment:

Cammi said...

You have outdone yourself! THE RUNNING WATER COMING OUT OF THE SPOUT? How on earth? I love it. Was Mr. C very impressed? I hope it all went well. You are brave to chair the event AND make the cake!