color and cupcakes

in color and outdoor wedding dessert table via www.milissweets.com

I have always loved to cater weddings. It’s even more wonderful when the client is a decisive bride who has a really good idea of the look and feel of her reception. I set, styled and catered this dessert table, for a wonderful bride and groom who didn’t want the every-day dessert table, but something colorful and fun surrounding their main color of peach and lots of cupcakes.

in color and outdoor wedding dessert table via www.milissweets.com

She handmade a “love is sweet” sign for the dessert table, with lace and ribbon streamers. She left doilies and small floral arrangements for me to include.

in color and outdoor wedding dessert table via www.milissweets.com

At the center of the table was the cutting-cake. The bride chose ruffles in a peach-ombre pattern. I made sugar-succulents as decorations.

I rented much of the pedestal plating from a friend who no longer rents her dessert table pieces. She had a lot of beautiful items, with different colors that all worked really nicely together. On the left, I used warm tones of plating of yellows. On the right, there were cool tones of blue. In the center, I used plating in tones of green.

in color and outdoor wedding dessert table via www.milissweets.com

I made custom labeling to match the look, feel and design of their wedding invitations.

The cupcake menu included Mexican Hot Cocoa, Gluten-Free Coconut Dream, Red Velvet, Lemonade, Vanilla Velvet and Churro.

in color and outdoor wedding dessert table via www.milissweets.com

The outdoor reception was held at the lovely Keys Creek Lavender Farm, located in Valley Center, California.

It was an incredible event and I felt very honored to have been chosen as a vendor, but there were some challenges. First, it was 115 degrees outside. Then, there was the wedding coordinator. She was extremely rude to me and extremely unorganized. I wasn’t thrilled about the situation, especially considering how hard I had worked before even arriving. I was on-time and confirmed to set the dessert table in a specific window of time.  She told me I had to wait, and that I could not set the table. She didn’t tell me when I could finish the job I was hired to accomplish.

After I unloaded my packed SUV, I tried to find a shady spot. There is no refrigeration or indoor-space on the premises where I was told to step aside. I was nervous for how well the cake and cupcakes would hold up in the heat. After standing and stressing in the background for 40 minutes or so, I was given the go to start setting the table.

It was a bit awkward for me to work, since I had to take all of my bulky bins of desserts and plating onto the reception area where guests had already been invited to celebrate. With all of this plating and 100 cupcakes or so, I needed a little elbow room. I didn’t have much.  With that much pressure and that much heat, I was perspiring with a full-blown audience of guests that watched me work. I worked hard and as quickly as possible.

in color and outdoor wedding dessert table via www.milissweets.com

Fortunately, the table was placed under some trees, that kept the cupcakes and cake shaded.

If it were up to me (and almost every other wedding plan I had catered in the past years) the table would have been set before the guests arrived to the reception.  It’s all right. Sometimes you have to roll with whatever happens. I was just happy that the bride and groom entered the reception to a completed dessert table. That’s what matters most.

xox

Oh, snickerdoodles!

snickerdoodles, traditional and gluten-free recipe via www.milissweets.com

Oh, Snickerdoodle, you are almost too good to be true!

I wasn’t properly introduced to this cookie, until after meeting my husband. He has always loved them and had a recipe. I took it and made some slight changes. What makes the right execution of this cookie so special is the texture. It’s crisp outer rim and fluffy-chew in the center is one of a kind. It’s an awesome vanilla cookie and will always crackle. Snickerdoodles are super satisfying and should be eaten the same day they are baked. (That’s never been a problem.)

perfect cinnamon-sugar ratio, snickerdoodles, traditional and gluten-free recipe via www.milissweets.com

Another trick to the perfect Snickerdoodle, is getting the cinnamon-sugar ratio just right. For every cup of granulated sugar, I add two tablespoons of siagon cinnamon. I keep a glass jar of this mixture in my pantry at all times. This is also the ratio I use for other desserts like Churros and Churro Cupcakes.

I’m going to show you how I make these cookies. This particular batch was gluten-free. However, no one will know the difference in the end-product, whether you go for a classic approach with all-purpose flour or the latter. I made a note in the recipe below.

snickerdoodles, traditional and gluten-free recipe via www.milissweets.comMili’s Sweets Snickerdoodle Recipe

Here’s what you’ll need for the cookie dough:

1/2 cup (one stick) salted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 extra large egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 and 1/2 cups of all purpose flour (You can substitute with same amount of all-purpose gluten-free flour. I used Pameala’s Artisan Blend.)

Here’s what you’ll need for cinnamon-sugar mix:

1 tablespoon cinnamon (I used siagon cinnamon.)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

snickerdoodles, traditional and gluten-free recipe via www.milissweets.com

Here’s what you’ll do:

a) Beat butter until it completely covers the bottom of the bowl in your standing mixer. (I used the standard, metal, flat beater attachment.)

b) Mix in the one cup of sugar, baking soda and cream of tartar.

c) Add the egg, pure vanilla extract and mix until combined.

d) Add the flour, either all-purpose or gluten-free.

snickerdoodles, traditional and gluten-free recipe via www.milissweets.com

In order for the dough to be manipulated into balls that can be rolled and dipped before baking, it needs to be refrigerated.

Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about one hour.

snickerdoodles, traditional and gluten-free recipe via www.milissweets.com

When it’s ready, it’s easy to scoop and form. I used a heaping, table utensil spoon, for the portion sizes of each cookie.

snickerdoodles, traditional and gluten-free recipe via www.milissweets.com

Now it’s time to dip the dough into the sugar mixture.

First, preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

In a wide bowl, pour the cinnamon-sugar mixture of 1/2 cup of sugar for every 1 tablespoon of cinnamon. Use your hands to thoroughly mix together.

I dip the entire batch of dough balls at the same time. Here’s how it make it happen:

Take the scoop of dough and roll it into your hand, like you would a meatball. Flatten it between your hands so that it takes the shape of a patty.

Drop the dough-patty into the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Use your fingers to sprinkle the mixture onto the top, and then pat it down, onto the patty. Turn it over and do the same thing to the other side. Now your cookies, will have a nice amount of covering on both sides and are ready to bake.

Depending on how large or small you like your cookies, you can arrange them between 6 to 10 onto a cookie sheet. With the size of cookies I make, there are about 18 cookies per batch.

You can place them directly onto a cookie sheet, or use a silpat matt. The baking cookies will not expand a lot, and it’s why I flatten them down – to be sure that the centers are cooked through, with a fluffy, chewy center as the end-result.

Bake for 10-11 minutes.

notebook paper cookie packages via www.milissweets.com

These cookies were made for my daughter’s 5th grade teacher, who was celebrating her birthday with the classroom. I wanted to provide cute and simple packaging for the kids, so I came up with this craft project to do while the cookies were in the oven: notebook paper, cookie packs.

I saw the idea of using lined, school paper as packaging, in a Martha Stewart magazine. (If I remember correctly.) She used the paper to make a a cone pouch for popcorn. I never pinned it or anything, but the idea popped into my head. I quickly found the following items:

notebook paper

dry wax paper sheets

hot glue gun

pencil

notebook paper cookie packages via www.milissweets.comFirst, I cut the notebook paper on the left-side, to remove the holes and shreds from the notebook.

Then, I turned the sheet over on the faded-line side, and placed a sheet of dry wax paper in the center. I folded the sheets over together and evenly. Then, I placed two dots of hot glue on the sides, so that there was an opening at the top. Simple. I hand-wrote a ‘happy birthday’ note with a pencil. As soon as a cookie had cooled, it was placed inside a pouch. Everyone loved the treat and because I made baked them gluten-free, everyone in the class was able to enjoy.

I really like dry wax paper since it’s microwave safe, provides strength and is grease resistant. It’s a bummer (and kind of gross) to have grease spots on the paper product surrounding a baked-item. With the lining, you’ll have stronger and cleaner packaging. I purchased a box of 500 sheets, of the dry wax paper, “interfolded deli wrap,” in 10″ x 10 3/4″ at Smart & Final. I bought it at least a year ago and still have plenty to spare for gift-giving in the future.

snickerdoodles, traditional and gluten-free recipe via www.milissweets.com

Snickerdoodles do not have a long shelf-life. Even if you keep them in a closed container, they will most likely go stale by the next day. That’s why a batch of these cookies should be enjoyed the same day they are made. These cookies are sure to disappear, so don’t worry about storage!

xox

“It’s your 4th birthday, Charlie Brown!”

 

"It

I grew up loving the Peanuts characters. My brother and I made sure to plop ourselves in front of the tv, every time the specials were on, especially around Halloween and Christmas. Many years later, I purchased the DVDs and my kids grew to love them too.

When I explained that our son, Nikko, asked for a Peanuts party to celebrate his 4th birthday, friends gave me a crazy eyebrow-look of confusion, since everyone who knows and loves him understands that he has severe peanut and tree nut allergies. I went further, to say that he loves Charlie Brown. Safe to say, the Peanuts Gang, with Snoopy and Charlie Brown are the only welcomed “Peanuts” in our home, as is our dog, also named Peanut.

I do take peanuts seriously. Day-to-day life with our son’s allergies has become easier as time has passed. He’s 7 now and totally gets it. It’s something to deal with, but we all have something to deal with. We know how blessed we are to have a happy, healthy and incredibly bright child, so allergies couldn’t possibly be on the list of what defines him – our family simply considers it a matter-of-fact thing.

"It

To celebrate, we invited a couple children to our home, and decorated a dessert table for the kids to enjoy. It was really easy, but to our son, it was a great-big-party and a very big deal.

Nikko had it all figured out and I was happy to work in all of the details. He wanted to be Charlie Brown, so I purchased a custom T-shirt from etsy.com. Each child had their own Peanuts-T-shirt to wear to the party, all found online, and mailed with handmade party invitations.

"It

He wanted a lot of bright colors, and a lot of candy. Easy and easy. I found a great dot-pattern wrapping paper at Target, and used it as the main pattern for decorating the dessert table. I wrapped a bulletin board and used it as the backdrop. I went to the party-supply shop the morning of the party and picked up balloons to match the paper.

"It

I found licensed-Peanuts party supplies and cut them up to create the custom poster for the center of the backdrop. After the party, it was placed in my son’s room. I took Peanuts artwork from a book we own, scanned them, sized them and with the help of a local cake supply shop, printed edible images to use as cupcake toppers. I’m sure Mr. Schulz would not have minded, as it was just for our personal enjoyment.

Then there was the cake. At the time, green was Nikko’s favorite color.

"It

The one item that took the most time to prepare for his celebration was the custom fondant cake topper. Nikko absolutely loved it!

There was a party inside the cake too! I colored the layers of his Yellow, Red, Green and Blue Velvet cake. It was darling and he thought it was super special and cool.

"It

Of course, there was too much candy for such a small gathering, but no one was complaining!

"ItThis was such a fun celebration! I’m so happy to have put this together for our sweet boy and to have turned a little table into a party (through his eyes).

I love reaching into my archives, to post past dessert tables that I’ve catered, set and styled. I made this one happen today, as it marks the 64th anniversary of Peanuts.

xox

 

my perfect brownie: deep, dark, decadent

my perfect brownies: deep, dark, decadent - recipe via www.milissweets.com

I take my brownies very seriously. I’m not kidding when I say that I’ve studied them. Over the years, I have made a ton of different versions, many different times. Of all the different recipes, I’m sharing my absolute favorite here with you.

Here’s my perfect brownie: very rich, thick, dark, with a satisfying top layer. It should have a chew to it, with no dryness to be found. Of course, my brownies will never have nuts of any kind, but I do love chocolate chips baked-in. The center should be extremely decadent, but I’ll reach for the texture of a corner-piece, every time.

If all of that sounds like perfection to you, these are the brownies you should make as soon as possible.

my perfect brownies: deep, dark, decadent - recipe via www.milissweets.com

This recipe is great, as it requires no machinery. It’s best if all ingredients are mixed by-hand, with a good old fashioned bowl and spatula. I separate the parts of the recipe into bowls A-D, so that it’s easy to organize and manage.

Let’s do this!

my perfect brownies: deep, dark, decadent - recipe via www.milissweets.com

Recipe for Deep, Dark, Decadent Brownies

Here’s what you’ll need:

Prepare four different bowls with the ingredients listed below. You’ll work with bowls A through D in-order. Bowl B should be your largest bowl, since it will end up holding all of the ingredients.

BOWL A:

2 and 2/3 cups semisweet chocolate chips

6 oz. unsweetened blocks of pure cocoa (product typically comes in 2 oz. blocks or cubes)

2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter, cut into pats

BOWL B:

6 extra large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

4 teaspoons brewed espresso

If you don’t care for the taste of espresso, you can substitute the vanilla and espresso measurements listed above, for 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract.

2 and 1/4 cup granulated sugar

BOWL C:

1 cup all purpose flour

To make a gluten-free version of these brownies, substitute all purpose flour with gluten-free flour. I typically use Pamela’s Artisan Blend.

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

BOWL D:

1 and 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup all purpose flour (or a gluten-free, wheat flour substitute)

my perfect brownies: deep, dark, decadent - recipe via www.milissweets.com

Here’s what you’ll do:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare your baking pan: I use a 9″ x 13″ pan so that my brownies are the thickness I require for my version of “perfection.” If you like thinner brownies, use a larger pan so that the batter can be spread thin.

Take a pat of butter and use your fingers to spread it over every inch of the inside of the pan. Do yourself a favor and dust with unsweetened cocoa powder, like I do. Dusting the pan with flour tends to leave a bitter aftertaste on the outside of the brownie crust. I recommend dusting all baked chocolate desserts, with chocolate instead of flour.

Now, let’s prepare the first ingredients we’ll work with, to make a chocolate sauce.

my perfect brownies: deep, dark, decadent - recipe via www.milissweets.comBOWL A:

Create a double-broiler to melt the ingredients together. Place 1-2 inches of water into a saucepan. Place on medium-low heat. Once you see tiny bubbles forming in the water, it’s time to place the glass bowl (A) onto the top.

The trick to melting/tempering chocolate is to be sure additional moisture is not added, while it’s over a heat source. Therefore, I recommend always using a baking spatula and not a wood spoon (since wood retains moisture) to mix while melting.

Use the spatula to coat the chocolate with the butter.  After about 4 minutes, the water will increase in heat and start to boil. At that point, bring the heat down to low. Continue turning the chocolate. It will take approximately 10 minutes total, to melt the chocolate to  become completely smooth.

Remove the bowl from heat, and set this aside to cool. Before mixing in the rest of the ingredients, the chocolate sauce should cool for 10 minutes. Since the rest of this recipe will fly-by, I recommend setting a timer so you know when to move onto the next steps.

my perfect brownies: deep, dark, decadent - recipe via www.milissweets.comBOWL B:

Again, this should be the largest bowl, since all of the contents will end up here.

Place the sugar, eggs, pure vanilla extract (and if you’re using it, the fresh-brewed espresso). Use a spatula to break it down and mix it together. There’s no need to whisk or beat.

Next, pour the cooled, melted chocolate of BOWL A, into the egg and sugar mixture of BOWL B.

my perfect brownies: deep, dark, decadent - recipe via www.milissweets.com

Mix together. You’ll notice how the texture changes, into a thickened mixture, that gives resistance against the spatula. Once the chocolate is incorporated, add the dry ingredients from BOWL C. It won’t take long to combine. Last, you’ll add the ingredients from BOWL D. Mix just enough, until there are no traces of white from the flour.

my perfect brownies: deep, dark, decadent - recipe via www.milissweets.com

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Place the pan at the center rack of your oven. For this size pan, the brownies are done after 35 minutes. Take out at this time. Don’t over cook or allow for dark-browning/burning at the edge or top. A couple specs of dark at the top are perfectly fine.

my perfect brownies: deep, dark, decadent - recipe via www.milissweets.com

Allow to cool. It will take time for the rise in the center to flatten. Once it’s flat, you can cut and serve, or put the pan in the refrigerator to cut and serve when you are ready. I like to cut them into portions, individually wrap them and then place them in an air-tight container, so that they do not stale and I can enjoy them at least two days later, if there are any left.

my perfect brownies: deep, dark, decadent - recipe via www.milissweets.com

Because these are so decadent, thick, rich and filled with chocolate, you won’t need a lot to completely satisfy your chocolate-fix. I still like to look at a big brownie by my side, even if I can’t eat the whole thing in one sitting.

My kids were served a small piece, as an after school treat. They were thrilled, since I typically offer a piece of fruit as they hang-out before homework.

my perfect brownies: deep, dark, decadent - recipe via www.milissweets.com

This recipe has my own twists and modifications, but was greatly influenced by Ina Garten’s “Outrageous Brownies” recipe which has been around for a number of years. She published it and adapted it from the Soho Charcuterie Cookbook. Not sure if the cookbook adapted it it from somewhere else. An assortment of food bloggers, magazines and cookbooks have shared their takes on it as well. This is a classic, and a lot like a good chocolate chip cookie recipe: it’s good and made in similar ways because the ingredient ratios are spot-on. I’m posting my special spin.

In the end, perfection is totally subjective. It’s up to you, to put your own spin on the flavor and texture you wish to create, so that it’s a keeper. I hope this becomes a keeper for you as it has for me!

If you’d like another one of my brownie recipes, please see my post for flourless chocolate brownies.

xox

laughing at myself: epic-fails with cake

laughing at myself, epic fails with cake, stories via www.milissweets.com

 

If I had a dollar for every embarrassing/humbling moment in my life, I’d be a millionaire!

One of the main reasons why I’m usually smiling and laughing is because I’ve gotten really good at dealing with my life-fumbles. As a child, I decided I didn’t want to waste time or energy with sadness or despair. I had enough of it. I figured, if it’s not a life-threatening situation, it will always be more fun to laugh (as apposed to cry) at myself.

If it wasn’t for all of the painful, learning moments, I wouldn’t be who I am. I wouldn’t develop or grow. I take them all on with faith, knowing that it’s what I’m suppose to go through. And when I’m able to look back, I will try to understand.

Allow me to share how this all relates to cake. The first installment of Laughing at Myself (this might end up being a series) shares some of the awesome epic-fails I endured while dealing with the cakes when I was catering. I hope you enjoy them!

First, a little background. If there was ever a time that I was delivering a cake, whether it was 4″ tall or four-tiers tall, I was nervous about it. I couldn’t take a sigh of relief until the cake had successfully reached my customer. I have always taken all of my work to-heart; it is very personal. I believe that when my name is on it, it is a reflection of me – my love, time and intentions. When someone is counting on me, regarding cake or not, I’m going to do whatever it takes to follow through for them. Being ‘only-human’ makes for huge obstacles, especially since I’ve been told over and over again that my name could never be Grace.

RESPONSIBLE FOR CRYING AND SCREAMING CHILDREN

A woman hired me to make a very customized cake for her husband’s 40th birthday. It was going to be a big deal for her husband, their children and their whole family, especially since her husband was in the military and was deployed for almost a year. The week they would celebrate was a home-coming as well. Lots of family and friends would be invited to their home to be together.

I felt blessed to have been chosen to work on the cake for such a special day. I worked with the wife for a couple weeks to set all of the details. The cake would have lots of love and details, with edible symbols and imagery that had special relevance for his life, set on a larger, two-tier cake. The materials alone would be quite expensive. It would also take a lot of my time. The cake was going to be the centerpiece of the party setting. I offered a discounted rate, but it would still be a significant investment for the family.

When it was finally finished, I was really proud of it. I took lots of photos and sent them to my customer, as soon as it was finished that weekday morning.

The cake had to be delivered in the afternoon, and it meant my children had to ride along. They would sit in the back and the cake would be in the front seat, where the epic-fail unfolds.

My kids are (almost) always so good and they know how nervous I can get about cake delivering. As we’re driving down the road, I briefed my then 4 and 7 year olds on how to act when the time comes to enter the customer’s home with me. (I tell them: hold hands, stay close, say hello but don’t walk further than I go. If shoes are removed, remove your shoes, etc.)

Next thing I know, I took a sharp turn onto the main street of their neighborhood. Can you guess what happens? The cake releases from it’s stable, flat position and turns with the car, to become completely and totally destroyed.

It was as if it exploded, that’s how bad it looked. It almost looked like I took a closed fist, and pounded it a few times. I’m not even exaggerating.

I made a deep, loud gasp. The kids were startled, “Oh no! Mommy! What are we going to do?!” I kept cool. Oh my goodness. There’s nothing I can do. I didn’t say any bad words but I fell silent and felt awful. I kept driving to their home, down the road, to the happy people who couldn’t wait to see their cake in-person.

The mom comes out and I tell her I need to show her something. My kids are standing by the car, in the driveway and I open my front door. I tell her, I’m so sorry. I have your cupcakes. I’ll set them and then I’ll go find you other options for cake servings. Her kids come walking up to see the cake. They literally scream, cry and run back into the house. That was the worst part of the experience! There were three children in absolute horror of what I accidentally did. I apologize another few times, and told the mom I’ll be back as soon as possible. I’m going to refund you the entire amount of the cake, so please don’t worry about that. 

At this point, I start feeling frantic. My kids feel bad too. We go on a dessert-finding mission. I drive to the closest bakery and the items in the case look horrible. I can tell with my expert-eye, that the cakes are more than a couple days old. I’d never purchase something that looked old. Not good enough. Shameful even. I leave. I go to another store, then another. In all, I purchased three cakes, providing more servings than the cake I had made. I didn’t know what else to do. I had printed some of the graphics onto paper and had them with me. I placed them on the cake in a way that it could look like something. . . but it was something terrible – such an epic fail.

I quietly go back into the home, where the door is propped open. I place the desserts in as presentable a way as possible, and leave so that I’m unnoticed. I was embarrassed enough to not have to make any further eye contact, or to see another child in tears! I’m pretty sure we were both equally disappointed with the situation. I had lost so much and so had she. Human error can be so painful! As soon as I came home, I electronically refunded her money for the entire amount I had charged.

We would see one another again and again, since our daughters ended up being in the same girl’s club. The mom was so kind and she did get over it right away. I never saw her daughter cry, yell or scream in front of me again.

I tried and failed but learned that day:

lesson 1) If possible, schedule deliveries around when I have my children with me, since bring them along can be distracting.

lesson 2 ) Never deliver a cake placed in the front seat of a car. One of my cake-friends told me the right way to do it, in the back of my SUV, flat with a sheet of non skid mat. That’s how it’s done!

lesson 3)  Even if someone hates you for what you accidentally did, keep calm and set a loving and sympathetic tone. It’s important to keep  your cool, especially when children are present. Everyone is more calm and understanding that way.

2am CAKE WRECKS

I’ve never ever cried over cake but I totally could have!

I think life experience has taught me that when something bad happens, you have to keep your wits about you, even when it’s 2am and you had a very full day.

I typically worked in the middle of the night and on more than one occasion, something went wrong when I was working in the commercial kitchen that I rented by the hour. I was always alone and no matter what happened, I needed to be done before the catering shift came in (sometimes at 5am to prep).

Enough With the Aqua: One time, I was frosting/decorating a 4-tier wedding cake, in an aqua, vanilla buttercream ombre pattern. It was too hot in the kitchen that had little circulation. I never left the kitchen door open or unlocked, in fear of a crazy person rolling in on me, so my only option was to figure it out. I rolled the heavy cake into the walk-in refrigerator and worked while wearing a big puffy jacket. This was only after the fail and lots of sticks of butter to realize that my buttercream was a hot-mess and melting from the cake.

To take the stress level of this cake over the top, when I sent a photo of the cake to the bride the next day, she wasn’t thrilled with the color, so I had to scrape off all of my work and start over again, on that same afternoon (her wedding day). I had to take the monster of a cake home with me to do it there, since the kitchen was not open for me to work in it. Yeah. That happened. I wasn’t angry but frustrated. I did want the bride to be happy and deliver knowing that she would be totally satisfied.

lesson 1) Never, ever send a photo of the wedding cake to the bride or groom. Let the final be a surprise. Everyone should know what to expect since the details are clearly written on the confirmation.

lesson 2) From then on, if a client had a specific color requests, I had them provide me with the Pantone number or paint color swatch, found in hardware stores, so that I could match their color exactly, and not try to read their mind.

Ouch: Another time, I was exhausted, and pulled a muscle near my rib bone, while trying to bring a large, heavy cake into the walk-in-fridge. I ended up ruining the frosted portion of the top layer. I fixed it while it was in the fridge. The next day, my husband came with me to deliver. It was a blessing that the cake order called for rose-placement. I was able to hide any other imperfections with beautiful blossoms. No one ever knew the difference.

Mickey-Mouse Re-Do: Finally, let’s just say, fondant Mickey ears, topping a tiered-cake that’s covered in whipped cream, should never happen. I had to totally re-frost and decorate this cake. The time was at closer to 4am. The lesson I learned was never try to defy the laws of gravity. After this, I would only ever  place items onto the top of cakes, after the cake was displayed and at the party.

WALK-UP SERVICE

I was on my way to deliver a cake, assorted desserts and plating for a very special teacher from my children’s school, celebrating his retirement ceremony from the Navy. He’s such a great guy! His reception would be at a friend’s house. In attendance would be his friends and family, along with his co-workers: teachers and staff of my children’s school.

As soon as I had access into the gated community, my car starts acting funny. It’s straining, and lights for the battery, transmission, etc. are flashing on my dashboard. I’m feeling uneasy, not sure what is going on, but certain that something is going wrong. I pull over, to the side of the road.

I think: To be safe, I should shut off the ignition and will start it up again. (Earth to Mili, it’s not a computer or cell phone.) I stopped the car. I tried to turn it over again but it was a no-go. I was totally stuck! Don’t panic. Take a deep breath. You have to walk the desserts to the house.

I didn’t know how far I had to walk, so I put my phone with the talking GPS directions in my pocket and listened to the voice tell me where to go. I decided to walk the cake first, since it would be the first and most important thing to melt in the back of the car. Luckily, it was on the small side so it wasn’t too heavy. The delivery turned out to be only two blocks away. Those two blocks felt like an eternity in the heat and with the added stress of my car, now officially a ‘hooptie’ on the side of the road, in front of a really nice house. (By my personal definition, any make and model car that isn’t functioning properly can be a hooptie.)

The cake made it to the house safe and sound. I explained to the party hostess, that I would be making a few more trips.

I go back to the car, and started walking my bin full of pedestal plating. I’m now sweating. The bin is heavy and cumbersome. It would have been great if I had packed my delivery wagon, but I didn’t. Of course not!

At this point, the hostess realizes what had happened to me. She gets in her car and drives me over to mine. She is beyond thoughtful and kind! Now I’m even more embarrassed! I tell her that it’s all right, that I’d call a tow truck as soon as I was done setting the table with the desserts. She offers her husband to jump it for me, when he comes home. (Which I really didn’t want since he already had his hands so full, helping his wife and entertaining guests in his home.)

Once I’m back in the house, I think, I can only imagine how much more awesomely-embarrassing this is going to be, when my friends/teachers from school see me on the road to the reception, with a broken down car. I’m super-active in my school community so it would be hard not to notice. “Oh look, there’s Mrs. Takashima.” I planned ahead, knowing that the best thing to do would of course be, make fun of myself and ‘smile and wave’ at the passers-by. 

I didn’t want to invite myself to hang out at the reception either. It feels awkward for me to be invited to a party, because the person feels obligated, and it’s a last-minute decision. I will try to say no, since I don’t want them to feel obligated and I don’t want to add unnecessary costs to their party.  On this day, I couldn’t go, as my husband was deep-sea fishing. That’s right, I couldn’t depend on my husband to come to the rescue.

After I finished setting the table, I wrote a note to the hostess to thank her.

I believe that almost nothing is impossible. However, I’ve dealt with car trouble before. There was less than a 5% chance that it would start up again. As I walk back to the car, I start praying. I don’t stop praying until the key goes into the ignition and . . . it starts up! I feel so thankful and I don’t stop praying until I reach my driveway. It was a long, horrible ride, but I needed to brave it. The car went into the shop and I hope to not be stuck on the side of the road anytime soon.

I’ll stop here, for now.

I hope you have the gift of knowing how and when to laugh at yourself! I’ll promise to keep up with my own sweet comedy show and look forward to sharing more later.

xox, Mili