Saturday, December 7, 2013

Firemen Themed Cake–An Adventure for Icing Smiles


Around this time last year I was asked to make a cake for Icing Smiles, the charity who puts together families who have a sick child and volunteer bakers, so these sick kids and their siblings can have a cake for their birthday.  I mean who needs to worry about a cake when their baby is sick.  Here enters Icing Smiles!  So when I got the call to duty, I jumped (very gingerly as it was the start of all my back issues but didn’t know it) and said yes and then ended up in the hospital myself.  I felt awful as I had to cancel just a week before the cake was due.

Now fast forward to this past October and again I received another call to duty.  I wasn’t going to say no.  I was so excited and nervous.  I haven’t made a cake in forever.  My back felt pretty strong and was ready to get started.  I got a wonderful email from the parents of the soon-to-be three year old boy, Jordon,  who would be receiving my cake.  His theme was a fire truck, so the colours were black, red, yellow and white and he also wanted buttercream not fondant…damn.

Buttercream cakes and I have never gotten along.  I prefer them to fondant too, but I’ve never successfully been able to give it that uber smooth look that some cake decorators can do. I also don’t have the skills to give it the look of a professional uber expensive baker and then realized I don’t have too. I can make pretty awesome cookies, so I decided I would combine the two!

Another request was for chocolate cake and chocolate ganache filling.  I used our family favourite chocolate cake recipe and a simple chocolate ganache recipe.

I baked them off on the first day.  Sadly two of my cakes cratered in the middle so we got testers.  The girls were super excited and I got to do quality control. The perks :)

photo 1a

Day two I made ganache then filled and crumb coated all three tiers.  Gotta say I love ganache.  So easy to spread and make “smooth”.  Not knife edge smooth but pretty darn close.  I also decorated the cookies I was going to use on the cake and the topper cookie.

photo 3

Day three I buttercreamed the three layers and then stacked them whilst holding my breath.  My heart was beating pretty strong, I could hear it in my head.  Once assembled and standing straight I added the cookies and some buttercream accents.  I wanted to take a picture outside for the good lighting and walked very slowly as I carried it out the back door.  No I didn’t drop it.


I then packaged it up and waited for it to be picked up.  So stressful. Plus I got a picture of the ladders going up the side of the cake. I don’t normally do cakes for other people outside family and friend, so delivery boxes aren’t something I have lying around.  So I had to make-shift a box to allow for three tiers.


And here it is all complete and ready for it’s party.


I’d like to tell you there’s an awesome happy ending at this point.  About 3 hours after dad picked up the cake I got an email from mom telling me that the cake had shifted and collapsed in the fridge.  I was devastated.  I felt hopeless because at this point there wasn’t much I could do for them.  I responded with my absolute apologies and didn’t know how it could have happened.  When placed in the their car it was a bit off level but nothing to be concerned about but I guess I was wrong.  I’m no professional, clearly, but sadly accidents happened.  In my response I also asked if all the tiers were ruined or if it had just crushed the bottom level.  If so, then remove it and use the top two. I also offered to whip up some cupcakes and deliver them myself before the party started.  She emailed me back and thanked me for all my help and upon a second look the suggestions I made would work and she could save the cake.  Relief poured over me but was still sad that the cake wouldn’t be exactly as I had intended for him, at least there will be cake.  Maybe when the Raleigh Fire Department arrives with an actual truck he won’t care that the cake wasn’t perfect or at least as intended.

So, would I do this again?  Absolutely!  I will, however, never NOT deliver it myself.

Thank you Icing Smiles for letting me take part. If you are interested in volunteering, click here and find out how!

Happy Birthday Jordan, I hope your day was amazing!

Thanks for looking!


  1. I can't imagine the stress you went through. Oh my! So sweet of you to do this for icing smiles and such a cute cake :)

  2. Karen I'm so sorry it fell but you honestly did such an amazing job on it! The details are incredible and I know they were overjoyed at the masterpiece you created!

  3. I don't think Jordon cared a hoot that the cake shifted. I can only imagine his delight over it and over the amazing cookies that adorned it. Wonderful job Karen.