The One When I Learned I Wasn’t a Master Cake Decorator

This weekend attempted to make and decorate a cake. To give you a bit of back story, I have been obsessed with cake decorating and cake glazing for the past 4 years. I follow so many accounts on Instagram and watch as seemingly regular people transform sugar, butter and flour into artful masterpieces.

“I think I can do that.”

As soon as the thought whispered across my mind, I was convinced I was already the world’s next master cake decorator just waiting for her potential to be tapped like oil at an oil rig. I had no doubt in my mind that I would be good at it. I mean realistically I knew I wasn’t going to be selling wedding cakes anytime soon, but I thought I would have the natural talent for cakes and would over a short period of time, would have to sharpen my skills.

So with blind confidence, I announced to my co-workers that I would soon be bringing in different cakes for them to tase as I honed my skills and accepted my destiny as a cake baker. No one could tell me anything. (You can probably guess how this ends.)

Well, this Saturday I baked and decorated my first cake. To put it bluntly, it was horrible. You know those memes floating around the internet comparing Pintrest crafts to the real thing? My cake was the “reality” picture in stark contrast to the expectations I built up in my mind. I wish I was being modest but in all honesty, my cake looked more like 3 pancakes stacked on top of each other rather than the stunning masterpiece I had set out to make. Unfortunately my head didn’t communicate to my hands and the product was this:


I will say this, in my epic failure this week, I learned a lot of practical lessons like putting parchment paper under the sheet cake while baking, using butter cream instead of marshmallow based icing (that was my bad for not reading the label).

But more than that, I found so much joy in trying and failing. I belly laughed at how preposterous my expectations for my novice cake were. I shared my ugly cake with my siblings and showed off the mess. I felt accomplished because I actually tried and the tenacious side of me refused to let this be my swan song.

This cake, although ugly and so so sad, taught me and brought me so much joy. I shared my failure with my co-workers the next day and we died laughing all over again. And I don’t know if there is a huge over arching lesson in this except the simplicity of finding joy in failure. The funny thing is, this failure hasn’t made me question my ability to decorate a beautiful cake. Its actually strengthened my resolve to become a great cake decorator, just cause. Next weekend I’m going to try again. I’ve promised my coworkers that I would bring it in no matter what it looks like. And I’ll continue to try and to push myself past what I know I am able to do today. Even if I go nowhere, at least I have cake!

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