Someone very kind said to me recently, "Oh, but I bet yours always come out perfect". I had to stop myself from snorting and then laughing hysterically... because this could SO NOT BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH.
In my opinion cake decorating, and many creative pursuits, are about turning mistakes into part of the art, or sometimes just plain covering them up somehow. Either way, the fact is, when you're creating something new, day in, day out, sometimes things aren't gonna go to plan. It could be down to human error, appliances breaking, ingredients not performing as expected, the weather; the list is endless. So here are some of my worst miscakes. (And all the pictures in this article are cakes that went wrong in some way at some point.)
1) The time I made a three-layer lemon cake with plain flour instead of self-raising. I only noticed when I looked in the oven and instead of beholding a nicely risen, uniformly domed sponge, my eyes were met by a deformed, unevenly surfaced freakshow.
2) The time all my chocolate macarons exploded on top so I dipped them in ganache to hide the cracks and sprayed liberal amounts of glitter on them
3) The time I forgot to dowel a three-layer drip cake and while I was delivering it half the cake had slid away from the other half, breaking all the drips in two and nearly causing my heart to stop.
4) The time I forgot to put sugar in a chocolate cake and had to remove it from the oven, pour it back in the tin and remix. I've done this loads of times, which is why I now lick the spoon every time to check it.
5) The time I forgot to put sugar in lemon curd. ZINGY.
6) The time I covered a cake in fondant which kept ripping and tearing over and over until I nearly cried tears over it. Oh wait, this was every time before I started using Massa Ticino, fondant of the gods!
7) The time my ganache split and I spent hours desperately trying every trick in the book before giving up. This has happened more than once.
8) The time I attempted to make a quadruple batch of Swiss meringue buttercream but the mixer couldn't whip it properly so after another few hours of fridging it and whipping it, and fridging it and whipping it, I had to chuck approx. £20 of ingredients and £24 of labour into the bin.
9) The times I've forgotten to spirit level my cakes and then made them really wonky on top, and have just swivelled them round so they look straight from the front....
10) The time I stacked a two-tier cake, piped royal icing all over it, and then realised I hadn't dowelled it, so had to rip the top tier off, breaking all the royal icing, dowel, restack it and repair all the piping.
So there you go. I GET THINGS WRONG ALL THE TIME. I'm only human, after all... and actually it feels pretty good to get all that off my chest. What are your worst miscakes?!