the successful fail

much has been said about failure. we’ve got lots of cliches designed to make us feel better when we screw up royally. you know – “if at first you don’t succeed…”, “nothing beats a failure but a try!”, “let’s learn from our mistakes…”. yeah, yeah, yeah. what those cliches don’t say is how much it really sucks when things don’t work out the way you envisioned them.

this past weekend karin, from this wife bakes, and i collaborated on the mother of all groom’s cakes. it was, in a word, stupendous, marvelous, fantastic. ok that was three words, but it was definitely all of those things. a 2 ft tall 3-d sculpted bulldog for an omega psi phi, complete with gold construction  boots, spiked collar and chain leash. see!

the before

the beautiful bulldog

and this was before all of the little details had been added, like his back two feet, laces for the boots. he was a gorgeous 70+ lbs of of yummy chocolate and vanilla cake, strawberry cheesecake buttercream and rice krispie treats. he also lost his head.

we traveled to the lovely ventana’s for the setup and on the way his head started to sag. no worries. we’ll just make a couple of adjustments and we’ll be good to go! the first fix still looked fab due to our quick thinking. however, we soon realized that the cake was going to be a massive fail. first clue? when his head continued its downward descent. second clue? when his chest exploded all over the table. that is no exaggeration… the only thing keeping that cake upright was my hand on his head and my stomach against the edge of the table. at that point all i could think was that i had managed to ruin a very important part of someone’s very important day. i did not cry…yet. we managed to salvage the head, chain, dog bone, and two of the boots, clear off the table and display what was left. the remaining cake was carted off to the kitchen to be served later with dessert. you saw the before. here’s the after.

the after

the aftermath

all i wanted to do was curl up into the fetal position and die of embarrassment. then to add insult to injury, i cried all over the groom when he and his lovely bride told us how beautiful the body-less dog was. not my best moment, as i stood blubbering all over him and his fancy tuxedo. how much worse can it get!

god has a way of teaching you and showing you things in what you perceive to be your darkest, saddest, worst, most horribly humiliating moments. a couple of funny things that happened that night, aside from the dessert debacle:

  1. prior to the dog dying, i almost knocked him off the table, which although it would have been a more spectacular ending, would probably have had me searching for the nearest sharp implement to use to take my life.
  2. me blubbering all over the bride and groom. hey, at least i wasn’t hysterical.
  3. me and karin standing in the middle of the reception hall with  huge chunks of cake innards in our hands waiting for rescue and divine intervention.
  4. me proclaiming that the dog’s ass (pardon my french) was still in perfect condition, and we should just turn it around! not my best idea… it’s not like no one would notice the gaping hole in his midsection.
  5. going to retrieve the box of cake remnants karin had hidden in the stairwell so the bride and groom wouldn’t see it, and finding a wedding guest eating the cake out of the box on the floor and proclaiming,  and i quote, “this is some damn good cake”. who does that! apparently he did, and it was yummy!

i learned a couple of lessons on saturday night. the first is that whenever things are going too smoothly, disaster is lurking around the corner. the second, we all need to have a humbling experience, or two, or three to keep us, well, humble. the third, nothing and no one/dog,  is exempt from the laws of nature, in this case, gravity. third, people are good. period. the bride and groom were so gracious, and kind, and understanding! i mean, i cried all over the groom who comforted me!

you may not know that i run this business in addition to a full-time job. it’s been difficult, trying to achieve balance, keeping myself and my relationships healthy, all the while  reaching for my goal of world cake domination. the biggest lesson i learned from this experience is that i cannot continue to burn the candle at both ends and in the middle, and not expect for things to fall apart and catch fire. in failing, i’ve gained so much – new perspective, renewed energy and determination. so i’m coining a new phrase – “the successful fail”. while i don’t wish misfortune on anyone, i hope that your failures will be as succesful as mine!



Filed under adventures, inspiration musings

4 responses to “the successful fail

  1. Tara

    Dear Cakeist,
    So sorry that you had to experience that mishap, but so happy that you were able to find new strength as an outcome. The amazing thing is that you were able to show and OUTSTANDING before and after picture! Who knew?!

    • For what its worth K. i thought that was top shelf work. i know how it is, feeling good about your work and having those laws of nature ripping it away. we all have those bad days. hold your head up babes. the way you discribed it all was hahalarious though. time moves, heals, and helps us all. lata J

  2. Christine … I laughed and I cried reading this post on our wonderful journey of the night of the exploding chest of Twista. I totally had the best experience in caking working with you on this. Honestly, things almost went too well while we were in the kitchen and this cake still turned out to be awesome…beheaded and all.
    Here’s to us cakiest..who try to defy gravity by making wonderful things with butter and flour and sugar… left with crumbs in our hands…heavy hearts…but our intentions and our souls are as gold as the boots of this dog… still the best cake ever to me.
    Through crisis there is opportunity.. and through this I still know that God still has wonderful plans for us.. just like He had his hands on this cake… because through it all… it could have been alot worse… and we know that.
    Anyway, we did our thang…and we shall do it again…because, unlike the cake, we will not hang our heads in shame.


  3. This was EXACTLY what I needed to read after my own debacle this last weekend. Thank you for sharing your own failure and comforting me through mine. I have learned a LOT. And just in time as I am double booked for consultations the next 2 weekends.

    You do make some damn good cake. So, even though I would have raised an eyebrow at the guest chowing down in the stairwell, I would have understood and maybe even grabbed a fork myself.

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