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26 April, 2012

True Inspiration is a Piece of Cake

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I think we all have some nagging inspiration that we never really plan to follow through with. For me, it has always been when I’ve seen a wedding cake, I would think to myself, ‘now that’s something I should try to make one of these days,’ and then I would go about my life without another thought about it until the next wedding. Well, last week I finally got my chance, and it turned out to be a great experience for me. Now, given it wasn’t for an official wedding, but actually just for an object lesson in a class that I was teaching. However, the effort was real and the results, I hope, speak for themselves. In the photo you can see that I made one fake one and then an actual wedding cake.

Unfortunately, I didn’t originally plan for this trial run in iconic confectionery to turn into an actual post and subsequently I have no video to offer. I can say that I’ve personally seen a heaping helping of great videos and blogs about the subject and would urge anyone interested to just scout around. Also if you know a great site about wedding cakes, post it here so others can visit.

If you asked me why I wanted to make this post it probably goes back to the opening of this article. I had always had this little inkling but never done anything about it and now I can say that it was totally worth the experience. I wanted to hopefully try to inspire my readers to think about a time they’ve thought ‘wow, I should try that’, and then quickly moved on to the next thing. I urge you to think back and go try it; you’ll almost never regret it. When I spoke about this experience to my son, he pulled up a funny little graph from a webcomic he reads called XKCD and I thought it went great with this idea:

Comic

You’re much more likely to regret not doing something than you will for doing it. I never saw myself as an artistic type or even that creative. I was always the athlete until I discovered my love of cooking and found out I could actually be quite creative and even a little artistic. Who knew? Certainly not me until I gave it a try. The funny thing is that this isn’t the only life analogy I got from just a single wedding cake.

First there were the do-over’s. The great thing about working with marzipan is that you can shape it, take it off, fix it, shape it again and then just put it back on. With a little grease, water, and powdered sugar I could pretty much fix any mistake. Just like in life; we can make a lot of mistakes but there’s always a chance to work to make things right.

Secondly, there were some mistakes I realized that I just couldn’t fix without completely starting over and this wasn’t an option. Just like in life; I had to accept that there were going to be little imperfections about the things that I do. Obsessing about them would do me no good, and probably distract me from finishing the rest of the cake properly.

Finally, it’s no surprise that the fake cake was much easier to make than the real one. How easy is it to fake your way through life whether it be school, job, relationship, etc..? It really does take more time to put real effort into these things but in the end it’s so much more worthwhile. Suffice to say that my first attempt at a wedding cake was a lot more profound experience than I first thought it would be. I’m looking forward to my next challenge—hmmm, I’ve always wanted to make a chocolate sculpture…

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