The day before we left for Disney World, I had to complete and deliver a homemade wedding cake for my friend's reception. There were two flavors, pumpkin and pistachio, and the whole thing was to be adorned with pinecones and sugared cranberries from my book. I had already made several test cakes over the past year, so I was feeling okay about it. That is, until I realized there was no time or refrigerator space to make the eight extra cakes I needed as backup in case an unforeseen calamity should occur during delivery. Calamities such as:
- Cake falls down stairs on way to car.
- Car accident causes cake to fly through windshield.
- Cake gets sprayed by skunk on way from car to reception hall.
- Table upon which cake is displayed collapses.
- Reception hall window shatters all over cake rendering it deadly.
- Radio reports all cream cheese recalled by government.
According to my statistical analysis, at least one of these things was guaranteed to happen. A frantic plan was thusly construed:
- Bring tons of extra frosting and full set of cake pans to reception hall in case disaster strikes.
- Should disaster strike—FUCKING HELL!!!!—salvage any remaining cake that can be safely consumed and send to kitchen as backup. Do not dwell. NO TIME TO DWELL!!
- Send Husband to the grocery store with pre-drafted emergency shopping list. Tell him to meet you at home in 30 minutes with everything on list or our marriage is over.
- Get to work making dummy cake on site out of stacked upside-down cake pans. Frost as if there really was a cake under there. Make it convincing and reeeeeaaaaalllly pretty. FOCUS!! Find some pinecones outside and fling them on top. Pray it looks good.
- Speed home. Make cakes like the wind. This will require commandeering all the neighbors' ovens. While cakes are baking, make other cakes. While those cakes are baking, make rest of cakes. While those cakes are baking, make batch after batch after goddamned batch of frosting. Quickly cool all cakes in freezer. If they crack, patch together with extra frosting. Everybody loves extra frosting.
- Frost cracked, still-warm cakes like your life depends on it. They don't have to look good—they're going straight to the back—they only have to taste good. Pray the maid of honor and best man are shit-faced and long-winded in their speeches to buy extra time. Hope residual heat on inside of cake doesn't melt frosting off. When it does, spread more frosting. Keep applying frosting as needed and then race sloppy cakes to the scene.
- As dinner dishes are being cleared, sneak replacement cakes into back. As bride is about to cut (faux metal) cake, instruct wedding coordinator to yank it away and place a plate of already sliced cake into bride's confused hands. Have her remind bride of how handsome her new husband would look with a frosting beard. Cake-related newlywed antics would ensue thereby overshadowing the awkward cake-cutting incident.
- Once dummy cake is in the kitchen, complete the switcheroo. Plates of sliced cake will be served as if nothing ever happened. Wow, people will say, it's still warm like it just came out of the oven!
- Flee out back door. Stagger home. Sleep the sleep of the dead.
Reviewing this plan after the fact, I can see several flaws. Thank god it never came to that.