Practice Makes Perfect- Even in the Kitchen
One of the things I loved as a kid was my mom's homemade cakes. Every birthday, she'd ask what kind of cake we wanted, and we'd choose anything from a dalmatian to a rocketship and she'd do her best to create a delicious masterpiece. As I look back on pictures of my birthdays, it's fun to see the progression of my mom's skills. As a kid, I remember thinking every cake looked absolutely amazing. As an adult, I can see where my mom's skills improved ;). She really does an incredible job with her cakes (I still have several siblings at home, so my mom still regularly makes cakes). Looking at some of her cakes now, you'd think that she took some cake decorating or baking classes. Nope. She's just the mother of 10 kids and has had LOTS of practice!
It's been very inspirational for me. I now have 5 children of my own. And while I know there are many skilled decorators who could make cakes for my kid's birthdays, I genuinely enjoy doing it! And it gives me an excuse to practice these skills that I don't get to use everyday. I am humble enough to admit that my cakes are definitely not professional quality, and are far from perfect. But I have a blast making them, and I have learned something with each cake I've made. My oldest is only 7, so I still have lots of birthday cakes to make in my future. By the time my youngest turns 18, I'm hoping my skills will have improved as much as my mom's!
These are the 3 cakes I've made this summer (3 of our kids have a birthday within a month of each other- so summer is party time at our house!). I just had a baby at the end of May, so I tried to keep things as simple as possible!
Moon Cake. My 2 year old is obsessed with the moon. It's quite adorable. When we're outside he immediately looks for the moon and gets SO EXCITED when he can see it :). I saw this cute idea for a pull apart moon cake and knew that's what he'd love! This cake served to remind me that it's best to practice a little first ;). I started piping on the eyes before realizing how thick the piping would come out, so I don't love how the eye turned out. I also realized I probably need to invest in a bigger tray! I always use my large white cutting board as a base for my cakes, but it might be time to get a bigger, cuter platter!
Ladybug Cake. My 4 year old adores ladybugs. We recently went to a neighborhood water party, and after going down the giant slip n' slide 3 times, she decided she was bored and went hunting for ladybugs- because that's just what she does! With this cake, I knew I would want a nice red color, but that can be really hard to achieve sometimes! Well, I learned that with red frosting, the color will actually look darker the longer you let it sit. So I made my red buttercream frosting the day before I actually assembled the cake. It started off as a dark pink color, but by the next day I had the bright red I was going for! Definitely good to know for the future.
Rapunzel Cake. And of course, my 6 year old girl loves all things princess, and lately has been really into Rapunzel. With this cake, I wanted to go for a more grass-like texture, so I piped on the frosting instead of just slathering it on. I also decided to try an actual crumb coat for the first time. Um- life changer. I don't know why I haven't done it before- laziness I guess? But let me confirm- it's much easier to decorate a cake when you have a crumb coat first! And I think I actually used less frosting by doing it that way!
I think sometimes we're afraid to try something because we know there are people that can do it better- but that shouldn't stop us! If we genuinely find joy in doing something, do it for the creative and fun aspect of it! And as my mom's cakes prove, practice really does make perfect. You don't need professional classes or tools; a little patience and practice goes a long way!
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