Who would have thought a cake could teach life lessons? But I guess this wasn't just a cake; it was kind of a dessert monstrosity, or at least I went into the project saying so. Decorated and a bit made-over on the outside, propped up and slightly messy on the inside; sounds a bit like myself.
Last year I saw that "outrageous dessert" idea from The Food Network of a triple layer pie within a cake. Social media responses varied from awe to horror to confusion; "what IS that?" I decided I wanted to make this confectionery creation, basically consisting of three pies baked into three different layers of cake; stacked, iced and decorated. Easier said than done. ☺ I planned well, set aside three days to break up the required tasks and for the most part, enjoyed accomplishing each step. There were several things I didn't take into account however, which effected the final outcome and ultimately taught me some things along the way.
Just because I can do something, doesn't necessarily mean I should, and definitely doesn't mean it will turn out like I imagine. I fill a lot of roles in my life, which sometimes makes me feel like I can accomplish anything. I'm creative, but this cake for example was very difficult. For one thing, I discovered that pie is heavier than cake, so my assumption that the pie-cake layers would be easy to cover with icing once stacked turned out to be false. Once stacked, the sides bulged, the stability of the cake shifted outwards, and I found myself cutting off avalanches of sliding cake. I'll admit, I should have watched The Food Network video in its entirety before I started, but who has the time?
Amidst my cake crisis and battle with gravity, I found myself questioning the reason for my mega-dessert project. After all, I'm currently 8 months pregnant, have 2 young children, and for some reason still decided to commit to this project. And not only commit, but put the pressure on by announcing it to my friends in excitement. I've realized that I often take on projects to feel like I have more diversity in my life. I get overly caught up in creative ideas, when really I should just be enjoying my daily routine with my young children and directing my creative energy towards them.
This cake project made me realize that I get bored, but I shouldn't be. I should be coming up with ideas to teach my 3-year-old her letters, or do a craft with her like she so often requests. And expose her to the many creative projects and sensory activities that I loved doing as a child. I realize this is a life stage that will be very fleeting and I don't think I'm currently appreciating it to the fullest, or at least I often look for distractions.
Baked apple roses
In the end, I made it work. After much patching and chilling, my triple layer pie cake came together as well as can be expected. And it was fun. But I'm pretty sure I should take a break from any more "ambitious ideas" for awhile.
The best thing was to have the support of my family. They know I'm creative (sometimes obsessively so) and my husband was even willing to make four separate trips to the store for me. They encouraged me despite some skepticism, and even ate some of my "dessert monstrosity" on Thanksgiving. (Although all the icing holding it together — 6 containers to be exact — made it a semi-disgusting sugar overload.) And I've learned my lesson. For Christmas this year I'll stick to making sugar cookies, with the help of my 3-year-old. ☺
Stacked pumpkin, apple, and pecan pies baked inside layers of spice cake