My cake decorating shame

Another year, another birthday. Angel is 23 tomorrow.

I wanted to do something special for her this year, especially as so much of my time and attention is given to my two teenagers right now.

So I decided to make a cake for her. But not an ordinary every day cake like the ones that I turn out every week. No, I had to bake something that she would remember.

The theme was easy - she's currently on an EMT course (Emergency Medical Technician training) so the obvious choice was an ambulance cake.

I assumed that Google could help. Nope. No easy to follow instructions or tasty recipes, I did find one that needed several packets of cake mix, and another that included bits of wood and foil. Neither of those appealed.

So I had a look at a few pictures of ambulances and decided that I would do it all by myself.

Several of my friends decorate cakes, some professionally, and they design them, so how hard could it be?

Answer: it's hard.

I really meant to find the time to plan it out.

Make drawings.

Write a comprehensive shopping list.

Instead I found myself in my local Tesco at the weekend grabbing a few bottles of food colouring and some roll out fondant icing. Just in case.

And it was just as well.

I'd forgotten that Angel was doing gymnastic coaching in a nearby town tomorrow until 8, so we needed to have the cake today.

After a morning filled with expected appointments and unexpected phone calls, I had but a couple of hours to get the project done and dusted.

I got the cake bit right by using a well tried and tested recipe from my family baking days in the 70s.

But what to do about the decoration?

I had no time to think, I just propped up a picture of an Irish ambulance and carved away at the warm sponge with more hope than expertise.

Blue, green and yellow fingers, bowls of butter cream, lumps of fondant and an hour of kneading, rolling, piling, sticking later, I gave up.

No way was this ever going to look like the amazing cake she got for her 21st.

Everyone was hungry, the dinner needed to be made, and the dreaded homework had to be attempted.

So I plonked it on a plate, chucked on a few remaining chocolate buttons and some other bits I found in the press and called in the children. My son looked embarrassed and refused to try it, while Smiley did not even realise it was a cake. As for the birthday girl? Well she was very sweet about my cake decorating shame, but it's not a business that I will be getting into any time soon...


  1. No shame there, I think you did a pretty good job. And the cake itself looks delicious - are those chocolate chunks I see? How can anything be a fail when it involves chocolate? Happy Birthday to Angel!

  2. Looks good to me, and I bet your daughter loved it!

  3. Hey that's not bad at all! Least the shapes there if you had more time you wouldnt have had to rush either. Bet it still tastes lovely, so any refusals to try I hope you said more for me ha ha happy belated bday to angel x

    1. It did taste good - the plate has just been put in the dishwasher so it didn't last long ha ha!! x

  4. It looks like an ambulance to me. The only thing holding your business plan back is theat there's not much call for ambulance birthday cakes. If you put an Elsa and an Olaf on top and callrd it a snowy mountain, well then you'd be talking. Happy Birthday to Angel. xxx

    1. Sadly Angel is too old to appreciate Frozen :) xx

  5. Seriously! SERIOUSLY! THAT'S your cake decorating "shame"........Em, yeah, you're obviously deluded. That is exquisite! My children know better than to ask me to make a cake that actually looks like something other than a circle or a rectangle!!!!! And, furthermore, how could you possibly open a bag of buttons and actually use them to decorate a cake, I'd just eat them all. You have powers beyond us mere mortals!

    1. Um, I don't really know what to say except thank you and did you check out the other cake? The one I got made for her 21st????

  6. Hey, at least you made the effort. It is the thought that counts.... and I bet it tasted delicious. P.S. I am actually quite impressed with your finished product! xx

  7. i can really sympathise - i have had so many grand ideas for cakes that just didn't turn out anywhere close to how i imagined in my mind! I actually think you did a pretty good job though and are being too harsh on yourself x