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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sand Castle Cake Disaster - My Own Cake Wreck

I make cakes for my kids' birthdays. Usually they turn out really well. Like this caterpillar cake, the racetrack cake, the aquarium fish cake, the Cars movie cake, and the princess castle cake and flower cupcakes. I've never had to dump a cake and start over.

Until now.

My son wanted a sand castle cake. How hard could that be? Especially when I borrowed a castle mold. All I'd have to do is frost it and cover it with graham cracker crumbs.

Okay, where I went wrong.

1. I did not use an entire tub of Crisco inside the cake mold. I sprayed it with oil. This is how it came out. You can see the front left tower has a chunk missing from it. And the back right tower separated from the back wall. Icing would not hold it together. And washing the cake pan took me half an hour (plus dishwasher time).

2. I ran out of chocolate cake mix so I thought I'd just use vanilla to fill the rest of the pan up. But I didn't know how high to fill it, because I didn't know how much it would rise. I worried the cake would take over the oven. So I filled it about 3/4 of the way up, which was not enough to get the details at the bottom. For some reason the details are missing on the front gate.

3. I used chocolate cake mix. I was told later that chocolate doesn't always hold up as well. Plus, I figured the frosting and graham cracker crumbs would cover up the color. Ha ha ha ha!!!!

4. I iced it. Here's what the cake looks like glazed, but unfrosted. When it comes out of the pan looking normal. Here's another one. Obviously I didn't look at these BEFORE I made my cake. Here's what it happens when you try to slather icing on it.

After searching Google images, I found one where the decorator actually got "sand" on it and you can still see the mold's detailsThis one looks crappy, but even IT held the "sand." Here's the same mold we used, where they poured peanut butter frosting on it. Yuck!

At this point I started thinking about Plan B. Though I figured if I could get the other sides looking okay, I'd just hide this as the back.

5. At the behest of my daughter, I microwaved the frosting so it would just run down the sides and better show the details. This worked. A little. I was able to get on some of the graham cracker crumbs, but they did not stick as well as I expected. At this point she heard me use the word "crap." As in "this cake looks like crap." She's lucky I didn't say the words I was really thinking. My husband then suggested another bad word: "Costco." As in "buy a Costco cake."

6. I finished decorating the cake. It was quite tasty if you closed your eyes and didn't see how crappy it looked.

This became our home birthday cake. Then it was time to start over, on to Plan B, which turned out much better. Here's that sail boat and beach cake - it was a hit.

Do you have any cake disasters to share?


  1. This brings to mind the time I tried to make a fire engine cake for my son. I had a hard time getting the icing color to come out red, not pink. Plus my proportions were a bit off on what a fire engine should look like. My first try looked a lot like a souped up Mary Kay low-rider than a red fire engine. Thank God I bought a lot of cake mix.

    1. That's hilarious! I'm trying to picture a Mary Kay lowrider.

  2. Try spraying the inside of the mould with cooking spray or brushing with oil, then sprinkling with a layer of semolina or cornmeal (the easiest way is to put in a few spoonfuls, cover the mould with a tray and shake it around). This will not only stop the cake from sticking but will look like sand.

  3. I just pulled my castle cake out of the oven I sprayed about half a can of oil on the silicon mould and it has come out perfect thank god! Now I just have to ice it which I have a feeling is going to be VERY difficult keeping the all the details of it, thanx for the tip I will warm up my icing and quickly tip the sugar and cookie crumbs and chuck it in the fridge. Fingers x'd it works because I need it to be ready in about 2 hrs and dont have time to go out and get another one.

    1. Glad your came out of the pan! How did the icing work, Brittany? Someone else told me to use a pound cake mix instead of regular cake mix.