It’s not hard to ruin an Ariel cake… [sorry Birthday Girl]

My host girl (Miss 3, as she is affectionately known) is turning 4 on Friday. FOUR. That is insane. When I first met my host family (in our unconventional matching situation back in December 2010) she was two and a half, drinking milk from a bottle, and still wearing a diaper. And now she’s talking in full paragraphs. And demanding piggy plaits and minnie ears. And saying super cute things. And telling me that my disaster of a birthday cake is beautiful. I love that girl.

But that’s what I’m here to tell you about. The disaster of a birthday cake, which, luckily wasn’t the ‘actual’ birthday cake. You see, Miss 3 (who, as of Friday, will be refered to as Miss 4!) wanted a mermaid party. Which ended up morphing into a Little Mermaid party, and then we discovered the Little Mermaid (Ariel) cake pan at Michael’s, the craft place. Oh boy. And me, being the ‘master baker and decorator’ (I have been known to make a few cakes, and a few hundred cupcakes, in my time) offered to make it. Oh boy. If only I knew.

Wilton’s cake pan, complete with mirror image picture that is NO HELP AT ALL!

So today, I decided to make the ‘trial run’ cake. This was basically so that I could make the cake, make sure it wouldn’t stick to the pan (I freak out over pans that aren’t ‘non-stick’, and have never really baked in one before), test out the icing, and then have an excuse to eat cake.

The cake baking part went fine. I greased (with nasty smelling solid vegetable oil shortening) and floured the pan, as per the instructions. I mixed the cake. I poured it in, adjusted the oven racks, and cooked the cake. Perfect. It didn’t rise evenly, but I’m going to blame that on the oven which is known to be a little temperamental. Cake, cooked, good. See, you can even see it below.

Before I mutilated it…

Then, the disaster happened. It probably didn’t help that I was doing the ‘trial run’ with a can of cheap whipped frosting, instead of the more expensive Wilton decorating icing that I bought for the real thing. It probably didn’t help that I don’t really have an artistic bone in my body when it comes to drawing faces, or anything else for that matter. And it DEFINITELY doesn’t help that the instructions that Wilton give you with their cake pan have a diagram that is a MIRROR IMAGE of what you are actually making, and therefore you have to reverse the whole image in your head instead of just copying it. UGH.

After 20 stressful minutes I finally got the black outlining done. The eyes looked like panda eyes. Or some other kind of non-mermaidish eyes. I mixed up the ‘copper’ color for the skin. Too much dye. Ariel now has been hit by the fake tanning monster.

After about 10 minutes of piping I gave up (you can see this in the evidence below). Miss 3 came along, declared that the cake was beautiful, and asked if she could help. I handed her a knife and the ‘red’ (although it looked pink, since I didn’t put enough dye in this one either) frosting and let her go to town. Ariel now had black and teal (green) streaks in her red (pink) hair.

I am dissapointed in myself. I’ve failed at something I’m usually good at. But we got a good laugh out of it. Master 5 made some funny comments about the cake. Basically he said he thought it was ugly, but was happy to eat it. And so was I. I mean, no matter what it looks like, who doesn’t love some good yellow cake with bright colored frosting?

Let’s just say that Plan B is in action for the cake for the party on Saturday. And as for Ariel? She had to put on a blindfold so that she didn’t have to look at how ugly she was.

Ariel with a suntan… and a blindfold.

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