Omigosh. It looked so doable.
I started out super strong. Got my layers in order, did a crumb coat ... I was pretty confident when I started in on making my icing. And actually pretty proud of myself because I never take the time to do a crumb coat and usually regret it.
Also, I bought fondant for this! No problem, I could make the tree and the leaves and it would look soooo professional!
My cake was leaning like the Tower of Pisa, but as always, I thought “Oh, I can just fix that with icing.” What's the definition of madness? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? [insert maniacal laughter]
I carefully applied the yellow icing. Pretty tough to get smooth, but I thought I'd not worry about that yet. I cleverly piped on the other colours, ready for the final sweep around with my professional level Wilton spatula.
It looked not bad! Sure, it was still obviously leaning and there were some bald patches and a few chocolate crumbs that had escaped their coat, but on the whole, not bad!
I mixed the cocoa into the icing and it firmed up enough that I thought, hey, why bother with the fondant? I'll just roll this stiff buttercream and shape it onto the cake!
And it looked pretty good. For a bit.
Actually, it looked a bit like a creepy hand climbing up the side of the cake, but I figured the leaves would be able to make it look more 'natural'.
I figured out the fondant. Not quite the rusty red I was going for – more the colour of a tongue -- but maybe if I rolled it out with some cocoa powder, it would darken it a bit. My Wilton fondant knife didn't work as well as I had hoped, but I found the other end worked pretty well – less knife, more like a thick needle.
As I was working with this, I noticed that the icing on the cake looked a bit ... lumpy. To my utter dismay, it was kind of just wilting. Melting down the cake. The tree was too heavy and it wanted to fall and take the cake with it. Aack!
I quickly put it in the fridge to slow it down. I just needed it to hang in there for the photo shoot!
By now I had some pretty sad looking leaves, and thought, what the hell ... just get them on the cake. Out came the cake again, and I just started piling on the leaves. I wasn't really even looking at the picture at this point, which is pretty obvious when you see how many leaves I put on my version. I was hoping they would cover a multitude of sins.
And now I was glad no one was nearby because I started killing myself laughing. I couldn't stop. I texted Deb and Lisa and here's a quick transcript.
Me: Omigosh, I can't stop laughing!!! [Laughing/crying emoji] I started out strong, but holy crap ... it's a mess!!! I'm going to have to rely on some pretty amazing lighting for the photo shoot.
Deb's response: Hahaha I'm sort of happy to hear that.
Lisa's response: I totally just laugh sprayed chocolate all over my phone.
Without further ado, here it is...