Sunday, December 1, 2013

Men. The mystery unravelled...

Those of you who have read this blog for awhile know that The Evil Cake Genius is married to Captain Leisure.  I have to say that when it comes to husbandly types, I truly hit the jackpot.  That being said, he is still...a there are certain elements of his make up that I will never fully understand.

For years, The Captain, and around 10 of his buddies would go up to Myles' cabin for an annual golf weekend.  Each year, I questioned why they never brought the wives along, and each year, The Captain would skirt around the issue with answers like "it wouldn't be the same"or "it's not that kind of trip".

In 2002, I had a momentary lapse of reason, and agreed to go to "Jackass: The Movie" with the Captain.  The movie's opening is set to Carl Orff's Oh Fortuna and features the entire cast riding down a steep hill in a giant shopping cart, the entire time, beating the crap out of each other.  For those unfortunates who have not had the pleasure of viewing this, here you go:

As I settled in for the next hour and a half of testosterone-filled humor, I had no idea that this movie would be the single most important tool I would ever encounter for demystifying that bizarre beast that is called Man.  The movie is replete with horrible bathroom humor and shots to the groin.  At any given time a cast member would either deliver a blow to the crotch of another cast member, or sneak up behind him with an electric razor and shave a patch of hair off of his head.  All received with a big laugh by the recipient of the abuse and a "you got me" smile.

And all of a sudden I got it...the essence, the very base difference between the male and female of the species.  If Jenna walked up behind me, kicked me in the crotch, and shaved off a patch of my hair, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't find it funny.  At least not until after the charges had been filed.  I've seen women end friendships over far less.  But these guys relished it.  By the end of the movie, they all looked as if they had been through a war...and Chemo therapy...and they were all patting each other on the backs and laughing.

And I never asked to go to the cabin again.

Enter Monique and Carl.

I met with Monique and her sister to design the wedding cake.  They were in from Tampa for the week planning the wedding that would be held in Minneapolis.  We designed a beautiful four tier cake with Swarovski crystals and over 900 frosting hydrangeas that would ombre from pink (Monique's favorite color) to blue (Carl's favorite).  It would be a stunner.  But that wouldn't be the only cake.

Monique wanted to surprise Carl with a groom's cake.  She explained that, like most weddings, the decor, the floral, etc. was all about her.  So she wanted one thing to be all about Carl.  Carl is a guard for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, so I immediately thought we'd be putting together a football themed cake...but I was wrong.  Monique wanted a "Man Cave" cake.  You see, some guys are smart enough to not have to wait for one weekend a year to do whatever it is that they do when the women aren't around (see above movie clip).  Some guys, like Carl, have their own space, their Manctuary, where they can smoke cigars, drink Mickey's, eat jelly doughnuts, listen to their music, and scratch themselves where ever and whenever they want.  This was Carl's Man Cave.

It started as a room in their first house, but when they moved into their current residence, Carl and his buddies took over the pool house as their Cave.  It has all the essential ingredients of a Man Cave...great sound system, huge TV, beer fridge, and couches fit for a Man King and his court to lounge away any womaniness they may have encountered in the outside world.  The only thing that Carl claims is missing in his new lair, is a padlock to keep out the women.

And we have a cake.
On the wedding day, we set up the beautiful wedding cake in the cocktail area.  Then, once we received the all-clear, we snuck into the ballroom and set up the Man Cave cake behind a curtain.  No one was the wiser.  Monique waited until guests were seated for dinner, and had the cake rolled out to surprise Carl during the toasts.  She took the microphone and toasted her groom, sharing the inspiration behind his all-man cake.
So, what is the appropriate man-reaction to such a thing?  If I referred to my Johnny Knoxville school of man-havior, I would have to guess he would thank his bride by kneeing her in the groin, but thankfully, those bonding mechanisms are only used between the male of the species, not to be carried over to the fairer sex.  What he did do, surprised me.  He listened to her story, looked at his cake, and cried.  You heard me, 6'5", 349lbs. of pure NFL man-power...cried.  Moved by the fact that she would take the time and care to do something completely for him, he was overwhelmed.  Or maybe it was that he was so happy that she finally got him the padlock and chain for the Man Cave that he'd been requesting...we'll never know for sure, but I prefer the former theory.
So there it is.  Just when I thought I had men figured out, something like this proves me entirely wrong.  So much for my Social Sciences side career.  But that's okay, I think I'll stick to cake decorating as long as I have clients who are as awesome as Monique and Carl.  Here she is taking a bite out of the cake to prove that it's a cake...did I mention how much I love this woman?

Decorator's Notes: 

Hot Pink!!!  Anyone who decorates cakes can tell you that this color is torture to achieve.  While making the hot pink hydrangeas for Monique and Carl's cake, we struggled, as we always have.  In a bizarre, desperate moment while trying to tint Royal Icing this evil color, I grabbed a bottle of pink airbrush color instead of my usual gel colors.  The Royal Icing came out that perfect shade of Barbie hot pink.  No gnashing of teeth, no agonizing struggle.

We posted our victory on our Facebook Page and quickly tried the same coloring in our Mexican Paste (1/2 fondant, 1/2 gum paste) to make the flowers.  Alas, it was a dismal failure.  But by the time we could post a warning, another decorator, Jennifer Whitmer Spaulding, had replied to our initial post.  She told us to try Candy Colors in the fondant.  We grabbed a bottle of pink Candy Color, and it was absolutely vibrant, beautiful pink!!  To get to the more magenta tone for these flowers, we added a tiny bit of Candy Color Purple as well.  After 17 years of epic Hot Pink struggle, I was so happy, that I immediately added the Pink Airbrush color and Pink and Purple Candy Colors to our shopping site Evil Cake Genius.

You will also find the Gold and silver powders that we used on the groom's cake on our shop.

Bob Marley was the big challenge for this cake.  It was the first thing that Monique requested be included on the Man Cave Cake.  We started by creating a custom mesh stencil of the black portions of the One Love poster.  Then, we printed out the image on Paper, and cut masks to block off the areas of the fondant that would be later airbrushed yellow, red, or remain white.

Once the fondant was fully airbrushed, we let it dry, and then stenciled the detail in black Royal Icing over the airbrushed fondant.  It's much faster and more accurate than hand painting the fondant. Mon!