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plan with me fall theme 2

A Birthday Cake I’d Like To Forget

Have you ever made a cake that you just want to forget about? This happened to me yesterday. We are celebrating my husband’s birthday today and I wanted to make him a nice masculine cake. That plan went out the window when the cake did not bake like I thought it would and I had to come up with plan B.

Normally, I’m a box mix or an altered box mix cake gal. These are the types of cakes that I’m comfortable making since making cakes is just a hobby. This time I wanted to try a scratch recipe and I chose a lemon cake recipe from my Magnolia Bakery cookbook. I thought one batch of this recipe would make a nice fat 9×13 cake. Sadly, I was wrong. The cake was dense and did not rise very much. I don’t think it was due to over mixing because I was very careful when alternating dry and wet ingredients to not over mix. Also, in my opinion the cake was not lemony at all and seemed bland.

Anyway, I came up with a plan to cut the 9×13 layer in half and torte each half. The layers were stacked and filled with lemon curd and the cake was iced with lemon buttercream. The lemon curd was a success. It was my first time making it and it’s very yummy. The lemon buttercream is just a variation of my buttercream recipe. I omitted the vanilla and almond and used 1 tablespoon of LorAnn lemon emulsion.

The frustration came when I was icing the cake. With the cutting in half and torting I had a lot of crumbs. I suppose I could have done a crumb coat and then come back with a final coat of icing but I’m impatient and lazy. After all the frustrations I had run into already I just wanted the nightmare over. When I’m having trouble icing a cake I usually put a basket weave, rose swirls or ruffles on it. I decided to go with ruffles but instead of the traditional vertical ruffles I thought I’d try something new and do horizontal ruffles. Big mistake.

I know some of you will look at this cake and say it’s not bad but in my mind it is horrible because it is nothing that I wanted it to be. Well there’s always next year. The great thing about my husband is that he doesn’t care what his cake looks like. He loves me no matter what.

I wasn’t going to take pictures of the cake and share it because I just wanted it to go away but I decided that if I share things with you that don’t go right that you will see that it happens to everyone. The big lesson I learned was not to try out new recipes on important cakes. Also, I learned that you have to be adaptable when making cakes and never give up. I really hated this cake last night but this morning it’s growing on me. There can be beauty in imperfection.


  1. I think it looks great, but I totally get what you’re saying. And my husband would be the same way…he loves me, it’s cake, and for him I’d be a rock star because it’s LEMON cake….his FAV cake flavor is lemon. I just showed this to him and he said “OH, I want one of those!” :0)

  2. I agree with Kim – I think it looks lovely, but I’ve been there too. It can be so disappointing when something doesn’t turn out how you hoped. I just had a cake disaster recently too – it was for my True Blood treat week and I had such high hopes…but it was not meant to be! It didn’t stop my husband from eating it though 馃檪

  3. Oh Melissa….don’t be so hard on yourself! It looks great…and I know your hubby loved it…because he saw the love you baked into it. I am lucky in that my hubby does not like sweets…like at all….I used to make him cakes and cookies and I ended up eating them all. He is a freak (don’t tell him I said that), so for his birthday, I just cook him his favorite meal…and he is happy with that. I know I am not the norm…but I acturally prefer a box mix, or a altered/doctored mix..homemade just does not take the same…I grew up with box mixes so that is what I am used to…and they never fail. I totally have all the Cake Mix Doctor’s Cookbooks and everytime I use a recipe out of it, people go crazy and talk about how good they are. So I stick with what I know!


  4. Cathy Lake says:

    Thanks for sharing. I am one of those who would say it doesn’t look that bad, but I have had my husband say that about cookies that I have made that fall way short of my expectations. The first cake I made for my husband was horrible. It was dry and lopsided and not very pretty. It was his birthday and our 3rd date. He loved the cake because he was already in love with me. We were married by the time his next birthday came around.

  5. I’m with everyone else. The cake does not look as bad as you think and I think it looks pretty darn good. We have all been where you were in decorating this. Sometimes our wonderful ideas just don’t seem to transfer as well when we put a piping bag in our hands. No matter, I’m sure the cake was delicious and baked from the heart it is always beautiful.

  6. I wish there were more pics! I wanna see inside.

  7. I was making a cake for in laws 50th wedding anniversary and of course left it to the last minute as I was busy with the rest of the party. I left it on the counter to cool and when I came back inside after taking the garbage out my then 4 yr old twins had pulled it off of the counter and had dug in.

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