My epic cake fail by Shannon

Mama Lou's  Cake. How it's supposed to look
Mama Lou's Cake. How it's supposed to look

Hi. This is my first blog.  My name is Shannon and ugh, I am not perfect.  I know this better than anyone yet find it hard to admit or let someone else see that truth.  The other day I was frosting this spectacular cake, Croby's "Mama Lou's chocolate cake".  It's my mother's recipe, so no pressure there:) and it's a beast to make; four layers, a cream cheese frosting and a chocolate ganache. To top it off, I am one of the owners of Croby's Urban Viddles in Charlottesville, Virginia AND the Chef so I should be able to make this cake in my sleep.


Didn't happen.  I had this bright idea to set the first layer on an inverted cake pan to create a "lazy Susan" kind of thing.  All went well with first frosting, just needed to add the final ganache.  Did I mention that I was multi-tasking too much, got busy with cooking on the line for customers and left the cake out on the back table?  A bit later I looked over and the cake was cracking in pieces.  Hooray!


Second bright idea- I will put it in the freezer for a bit and then smush it all back together before "ganaching" and everything will be just fine.  That didn't happen either.  What did happen is that I had a crumbly cake mess.  And my brother was there, phone tuned to camera to capture my defeat.  I snapped and told him NOT to put the "fail" pics on social media.  He said that everyone fails and that cooks, amateur and professional alike, would be bolstered by my cake mess story.  I didn't buy it.  No way, no. So I put my "cake" in a bowl in the walk-in cooler, closed the door and huffed away.


Next day a customer came in and I told her the cake story.  I also showed her the "fail" photo I took (yes, it was okay for me to take a pic, lol).  We both laughed and she said she was happy I shared this with her.  She said that our cakes were always so tasty and beautiful and that she felt heartened that even professionals have bad cake days.


So I got back into the kitchen and into fix it mode.  I came up with cake rounds dipped in chocolate ganache with a buttermilk drizzle.

They looked pretty and tasted great.  I showed my brother and told him about my conversation with our customer earlier.  She made me want to try again.  He got mad and said, "so you don't believe me when I tell you it's okay to fail.  You don't believe yourself, It takes a random person to tell you before you believe it."  You're right, brother. And yes, it's in writing that I said you were right.


Why is that we don't believe our inner voice, friends or family when giving us support or permission to fail; to be human?

I don't know and I don't really want to wallow in it.  So my last bright idea for today is to change my behavior.  To start a blog, to publish my pictures, to show my mistake and to take my brother's advice.  Well, there's a first time for everything:)








Lessons learned

1. Corny but true...when life hands you lemons, make lemonade.


2. Listen to your brother when he says that it will all be okay.  And let him post the "fail" pics on the website as it proves that everyone makes mistakes.


3. Slow down. Not everything has to be done right this minute.


4. Get over it. It's just a cake.


5. Try, try and try again:)

Write a comment

Comments: 6
  • #1

    Nancy Soper (Thursday, 16 February 2017 18:12)

    Love the website Shannon! And the cake story! Yes, believe your brother, your mom, your friends, and even strangers, but most of all, believe in yourself! You are awesome!!
    I'm so glad you are happy and doing so well! Maybe we'll have a chance to get together again one of these days! Take care Sweetie!

  • #2

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  • #4

    Karen Hazlett (Wednesday, 25 April 2018 11:32)

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    Brenda and Larry Menefee, Colleyville TX (Tuesday, 01 May 2018 16:36)

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  • #6

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