This is one of the many areas where I must confess I don’t have a very good reputation. I have tried, I have tried very hard, to produce beautiful and impressive looking cakes, but I’m afraid I am a cack-handed beggar and I just can’t do it. I have the imagination and the vision to produce sugar craft creations capable of bringing a grown woman to tears to behold the beauty of it all, but in reality the execution of my masterpiece inevitably results in a cake which tastes good but looks like crap.
One year I was flattered to see that all the kids had enjoyed the fairy cakes I made for the school party. You could tell that they had all eaten one because when they came out of the school gates their faces were dyed pink or blue from the excessive amount of food colouring I had used. Another year I had to make a hasty exit when I saw everyone who had bought one of my cakes from the bake sale was covered in the dripping meringue icing I hadn’t whipped enough to make set. In my defence, they did taste nice, but that’s not really the point, especially when it comes to the vacuous narcissistic world of fairy cakes.
I have a friend who doesn’t get the mystique of the beautifully decorated fairy cake. She maintains that the cakes themselves are a piece of piss to make (I’m paraphrasing) and impressive icing can easily be achieved with pre-made icing tubes from the supermarket which dispense thick swirls of fool-proof decoration. She has a point.
In my case I’d rather carry on with my own hope over experience approach to cake decorating which has seen me produce ambitious birthday cakes which defy belief, let alone recognition. My portfolio of cakes includes the predictable Thomas the tank engine and Pingu to the more ambitious cricket pitch, clone trooper helmet and my own personal favourite, recreation of the battle of the Somme.