Fake Cake: A Narrative

I cheated in a well-calculated, pre-meditated fashion with my last cake class. I frosted two 2-inch thick circles of floral Styrofoam so I would not have to bake another cake for my final Wilton Level 1 cake decorating class.

Let me rewind just a bit. I was unable to finish Course 1 due to the first wedding-cupcake adventure. A few months passed and about the time I remembered to email my teacher on a make-up class, she called me with information regarding some other classes. We arranged for me to be at another final Level 1 class where I would learn the finishing touches on “the Wilton Rose” and pass the needed skills to move up to Level 2.

I needed another cake. I didn’t want to bake another cake. I didn’t want to eat or pawn off cake on my friends, yet again. Though several have offered their services, it does get exhausting finding a home or event for the finished product.

Then I had the best cake epiphany I have had to this day. Craft stores sell pre-cut pieces of Styrofoam in their floral department. I could make the butter cream icing with knock off Crisco [gag] and not really have anything go to waste. I would also have a practice canvas for future designs and adventures. The idea was sounding better every day.

The makings of a cake board and “cake.”

Then it came time to complete the deed.

Stephanie picked a wonderful night for an impromptu visit and thus became my amazing assistant and photographer. Thanks, Stephanie. I hope I compensated you fairly!

I know how to keep my friends around.

I decided that if I was to have fake cake and bad icing, I should at least make it smell like I had tried. Enter expensive bakery emulsion. This is WAY better than any extract. It is some form of butter, vanilla, and almond combination. Whatever, it worked.
I felt it important that the icing SMELL real.

I stuck the cake to the foil board with some packing tape. It looked like a hat. My show choir and middle school choreographer days were then fresh in my mind. Suddenly, I was thinking “New York, New York.” I had to indulge.

If something looks like a hat…

Though the icing went on smoothly, I did not count on one frustrating aspect – getting said icing to STICK to the surface. Cake has some “grab” that Styrofoam does not possess. This was compounded with the problem of the cake not sticking to the prepared board. Heavy sigh.


First item was to figure out a way to get the cake to stick to its board. After scraping off the frosting and not finding my trusty duct tape roll, I looked around my abode. Candle wax. Hm. It would stick to both the foil and the foam. Why not?!?! Thank you Scandinavian ancestors for instilling the love of candles in me.

Part of the issue was my foam kept moving around on the base, even though I had used tape. [On a side note, it has worked beautifully for the past few weeks. Even survived a tumble in the car!]

Second time around, I decided to smoosh the frosting into the foam air bubbles as much as possible, let dry, then attempt to ice again. In the meantime, a favorite song came on the stereo, and I succumbed to my wanna-be-diva tendencies yet again.

Go, diva, go. Yeah.

You might be wondering about the icing bag and tip. I’m still deciding whether or not I like this wide tip that pipes the icing in a decent thickness and all that is left is to smooth the icing. I am not having a Puritanical “real cake decorators don’t use it” reaction at all; the cake I did without bag and tip seemed more smooth and even than the cakes I have iced with this method.

At any rate, I finished the one layer cake and added layer two the next day.

Getting better!

Someone at my class mentioned my cake was really tall, to which my instructor interjected that her cakes were that tall. Score.

I find out that in Level 2, I need to make only one cake…that is oval shaped.

Cheaters never win.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Black and White Lipstick
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 20:56:17

    LOL I loved every bit of your post, the photos, writing and jokes. How creative to use foam and candle wax 🙂



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