For Nathan's 7th birthday (7 on the 7th), he wanted a cake with the New Orleans Saints on it. My cake decorating skills are rudimentary at best. What I've learned has been from magazines, TV shows, my friend Cindy (who is a wonderful cake decorator) and the umpteen YouTube videos made by Edna Veracruz that I watched at 3:30 a.m. two mornings in a row because I was stressed out about making the cake and couldn't sleep.
First of all, for all the money I spent on supplies, I could have ordered the cake from the fanciest bakery in town and still had pocket change left over. Second, I would never, ever do this for a living. It makes the biggest, gommiest mess you can imagine, especially if you don't know what you're doing.
Do you have any idea how much frosting it takes for an 11 X 15-inch (half-sheet) cake? Here's the breakdown: 3 pounds of confectioner's sugar, 3/4 pound butter, 1 1/2 cups shortening (yes you have to use it if you want any measure of success..at least it wasn't ALL Crisco like some bakeries use), vanilla and almond extracts. And this was a simply decorated cake and the icing wasn't very thick. I can't even imagine how much it must take for a four-tier wedding cake!
For the cake: 11 cups of cake mix batter (which works out to about 2 1/3 cake mixes), which includes 9 eggs, 1 1/2 cups oil, and water. What did I do with the remaining cake batter? Well, we also had six giant cupcakes and an 8-inch single layer decorated cake. We could have sugar-overdosed 40 people!
Luckily, there are no snapshots of the baker/decorator slinging together this "masterpiece". You would have been less than impressed, especially by the colorful words coloring the air blue.
I guess it turned out okay. I could see every flaw, of course, and pointed them out to all until my daughter told me to hush, that it was perfect. Nathan pronounced it "AWESOME, Grammy!" So I relaxed. The bowling party was a huge hit with the seven-year-olds and the older brother and younger sister. The mess was already cleaned up at my house and we didn't have to have the party at anyone's house.