I've always sympathised with students and other cake decorators who struggle with climate issues when it comes to cake decorating. I only have to go on the forums to see posts of cries for help when it's been a rainy or humid week. Moisture and humidity are a cake decorator's ultimate nightmare.
It was only this week that I'm sure I felt the same feelings of absolute frustration and helplessness. I have a great central air-conditioning system that has always ensured my cakes stayed firm and in a condition I was comfortable with. This week, the whole system decided to 'take a holiday' and on one of the hottest and rainiest weeks we've had all year, I was screwed. I mean really screwed. The ganache on my cakes refused to set and the fondant turned extra soft.
The air-con guy came almost everyday to try and find and fix the issue but he seemed to face a different issue each day. I ended up having to postpone all the decorating until up to 48 hours before the cakes were due and then I knew I absolutely had no choice and could not wait any longer and had to start decorating and resort to using the fridge which I usually never do for fondanted cakes.
48 hours for 3 wedding cakes was a stretch but with some extra help from my cousin, it got done. That was not the end of my problems... because the air-condition was not cold like it used to be (just cool) the cakes were not 100% firm and therefore working on them took twice as long - it was an extremely frustrating situation.
Alas, they all got done but there were still some issues during delivery. The standard tiered cakes all survived but the triple barrel cake suffered - because the ganache didn't get a chance to set firm, the bottom started bulging under the weight when it got to the venue. And there was only so much I could do over the phone as the boyfriend called me asking me what to do with the cake while I was teaching a class.
Luckily it was minor enough and right at the bottom so a ribbon covered it up well. Unfortunately for the boyfriend, he was stuck with the job of having to place the ribbon at the bottom and moving the flowers around.
But nonetheless it was a nerve recking experience as I sat about an hour away begging the cake gods not to let the cake get any worse before the reception. As the time for the reception came and went and my phone didn't ring, I started to relax a little more, although still feeling uneasy.
Then thankfully a couple of days later I got an email from the bride saying she and everyone loved the cake... oh I was so happy! Never again will I take my air-conditioning system for granted and for those of you out there who suffer every time it gets too hot and humid, I truly, truly feel your pain :)
PS. Do you like my new blog layout? It's inspired by two of my most popular design elements - The sugared stripes and piped dots (as seen above) and the little love birds. I'll have to do a whole separate post on all the cakes that were inspired by the original design one day :)