Making cakes sounds like a dream. Make the batter, eat some of the batter, bake some of the batter. Make the frosting, eat some of the frosting, ice with some of the frosting. It’s not hard. Apparently, it’s a dream job. It was my dream job anyway. Don’t get me wrong, I still love it, but I can honestly say it’s caused at least 80% of my grey hairs, ruined my ability to have a social life, and basically turned me into a mad woman. Maybe it was going to happen anyway, but I like to think that in some alternate universe, where cake doesn’t exist, I have great skin, I eat well, I jog because I like to, and my kids don’t scream at each other 30 times a day. We all have dreams..
We also all have nightmares. I can remember the first couple of years of cake decorating. Passing out at the dining table at 4am, after finally finishing a cake that took 16 hours, and should have taken 4. I charged for four. I was also quite bad at maths clearly. Optimistic! That’s it, I was optimistic. I learned not to be real fast, don’t you worry.
I would have the worst nightmares. Waking up to rats eating the cake, flooding on the way to the venue, forgetting an order. I used to have nightmares about that even when I was awake. I would have this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach until about 6pm every night of every weekend, half waiting for the phone to ring. “Where’s the cake?” “Are you running late?” “Will you be here in the next 10 minutes or so?”. I would sometimes get up during the night and check my computer, phone, order book, sketch pads, everything! Just to make sure I wasn’t forgetting someone.
Nightmares about dropping the cake. I would always trip over right as I got through the door. It has never happened, but still, I would dream about it all the time. I would also dream of somehow getting the cake in the van, and then arriving at the venue, and not being able to pick it up. My arms would go all floppy, and elastic, like Gumby. You remember Gumby! Big green square flappy arms. I remember Gumby.
I would dream about it bucketing down rain just as I opened the car doors. Like someone dumped a whole bucket of water on me. I used to carry towels, and umbrellas (multiple), and sometimes it really did come close the flooding. But in my nightmares, it would leak into the vehicle, and swallow the cake up in a giant wave of water. I would sometimes wake up screaming “No!”, bolt upright in bed. I’d soon realise it was a dream, and lay back down. Might as well get the last few minutes sleep before the kids wake up.
I’ve dreamt of rats eating through the cake. Ants crawling under the fondant and leaping out with a surprise attack during the cake cutting. The closest to that I ever actually came was our youngest eating sugar paste grapes off of a dummy display cake. I was prepping for my third bridal expo ever. I made a cute three tier mint coloured cake. Put a spray of grapes and leaves sticking out of the side of the second tier. We were displaying in the vineyards. It was all going so perfectly. Sydney was three, barely. She said she was hungry as I started lining up the cakes on the tv cabinet. It was the night before the expo. I wanted to see how they all looked together. I told her I would get her a snack, and went back into the kitchen. My timer went off for the sample cakes, and it took me a few minutes to get the next lot in before I returned to the lounge room to track Syd down. I walked in to find her standing next to the cake, her head cocked to the side, almost upside down. She was pulling ‘grapes’ off with her teeth, and purple drool was running down the cake tiers, dripping onto the cabinet. I shrieked, and startled her. I couldn’t help myself. “WHAT are you doing?!”. Her response, as dry as ever. “I said I was hungry Mummy”.
It’s true. She totally did. I checked to make sure she hadn’t swallowed any wires, and set about wiping off the drool. I wrapped the entire cake in ribbons, and at the expo, it sat there, in the back corner, turned backwards, and covered in pretty ribbons. It gave many of us at the expo a good laugh, and I never had a nightmare about having rodents eat my cakes again.