Epic Cake Fail

Todd’s birthday was on December 20th.  I always imagine it must suck having a birthday in December, as December babies probably get a lot of combo birthday and Christmas presents.  So this year I tried to do something special.  I thought I’d make him a special cake.  In fact, this one.

BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music tried to make a hedgehog cake. It didn't go so well.

When I was 15 I worked at a grocery store bakery in my hometown.  While at Geisslers I learned how to decorate cakes.  I learned how to write Happy Birthday in the pretty cursive.  I learned how to make the swirly borders, how to rake the frosting so it looked like a groomed trail at a ski resort.  I learned how to make flowers.  I never quite got roses, though.  To make a rose out of frosting there was this thing that kind of looked like a large thumb tack.  I had to squirt frosting in swoops around the stem of the tack to make the rose, then use a fork-like thing to get it off the tack and onto the cake.  I never could manage the icing bag with only one hand to squirt the frosting around the tack.  So, I stuck to making flatter flowers on my cakes.  I was pretty good at it.

So I admit I got a little arrogant when I saw the video for how to make the hedgehog cake. I watched it over and over and over again.  “I got this!  There aren’t any roses on it.”

No, I don’t got this.

Instead I ended up with a cake that crumbled as I tried to shape it into the base of the hedgehog.  I thought “Oh, I’ll just glue it into place with the frosting.”  I spackled with the frosting, trying to adhere large sections of crumbling hedgehog.  I slapped buttercream on and tried to smooth it into place.

I traced the fork down the back of the hedgehog to make the furry pattern.  Then I put it in the fridge to harden.  I jammed cut up pieces of Pocky to make the spiny like fur.  Then I tried to draw the face on using white gel frosting and Nutella.

Then I stepped back to examine my work.  Todd was nearby on the phone for work, he paced into the kitchen and saw my handiwork.  His mouth dropped open and he looked at me with a curious look in his eyes, as if to say “What the hell is that?”

When we got off the phone we laughed.  And laughed.  And laughed.

“Nobody other than my Mom has made a special cake for me like this.”  His mom makes a Christmas tree cake with mint frosting and M&M ornaments.  “I love that you took the time to make all this effort.” I was embarrassed.  But he was so supportive of the fact that I attempted it just for him.

But it looked like a demented hedgehog was caught by the lawnmower.

BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music attempted to make a hedgehog cake. It didn't go so well.

Happy birthday anyway, Todd.

BJ Knapp is the author of Beside the Music, available for purchase here. Please sign up for the Backstage with BJ Knapp mailing list to get updates on events, signings, dog pictures and so much more.

added on 12.21.17

Back to main Blog page