We’ve all seen the Pinterest Fail pages, where fans of the site submit their not-so-pretty results from the coolest Pinterst posts. There are plenty of pictures of well-intentioned projects gone awry. So, when a post shows step by step instructions for a project, let’s say a cake, for example, what could possibly be so hard? Maybe it’s not as easy as it looks.
The internet is flooded with millions of pictures of gorgeous cakes for every occasion, and there are plenty of picture tutorials and blogs to give you the low-down on the how-to. There are just as many videos with peppy, cheerful, smiling bakers showing you just how easy it is to make that fondant covered cake turn out perfect every time. So why are there pages full of cake disasters and not even in the same ballpark attempts?
There are a few pretty clear reasons why this happens. Firstly, you’re not using the same recipe that they’re using. Aunt Sally’s Sunday Chocolate Cake recipe may be near and dear to your heart, but that won’t make it suitable for covering in layers of icing and fondant. You’ve yet to test the density, the crumb, the moisture content, and probably don’t have any idea how much weight that vintage recipe can reasonably support. These are all important factors when constructing a designer cake. There is also the matter of construction itself. Without experience, it’s difficult to know how a topsy turvy cake can possibly be stood on its head.
Secondly, you probably aren’t using professional tools. Just like any other job, the right tools are imperative. Chances are you’re not going to spend a mint to outfit yourself with all the equipment that really is required to get the effects the pros get. Professional cakers supply themselves everywhere from wholesale food outlets to the local hardware store, getting just the right equipment. They’re buying spatulas that cost as much as a weeks’ worth of groceries and power drills for when things get serious. Professional cake designers aren’t afraid to bring in heavy equipment.
Yet another reason why the average person won’t be able to recreate that magazine cover cake is that they simply lack the experience. Anyone making cakes as a profession has already spent countless hours doing it wrong, making the same mistakes, learning, and growing as an artist. Many nights spent standing on sore feet because things aren’t going just right, and aching backs from bending over the cake table are a high price that has to be paid in trade for the skills they acquire. Yes, they make it look easy. Practice makes perfect.
Finally, the biggest obstacle to overcome is that at the end of the day, you have to have some artistic ability. Unfortunately, this can’t be learned. Certainly, it never hurts to try a project, and you might even find a hidden talent. But when you need a designer cake for an important event or celebration, it’s probably best to leave it to the professionals. But, don’t feel too bad. After all, even some of the most famous chefs can have cake disasters!