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Would you serve a seriously ugly cake to guests?

Of course, I'd eat it, but the cake in question is for my mother in law's birthday. It's a four layer chocolate cake with fleur de sel caramel filling and chocolate ganache. Has almonds. It tastes good, but is just beyond ugly. I guess it was just beyond my skill level. Should I run out and try to find something at the bakery (there aren't any great bakeries around here actually), or just serve it and say the grandkids made it? It's not a huge party, just a few of my husband's sisters and their kids and MIL. It's just embarassing it's so bad! Not to mention it's ruining my day - I hate it when things don't turn out. (And I do like my mother in law, so don't say serve it to her out of spite).

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  1. I'd absolutely serve it. It sounds delicious and must've taken you hours to make it.
    Those spent hours + cake tastes good = serve with love.

    1. Sure - have fun with it! Serve it up with a bunch of cards strewn around it with "beauty is skin deep" type platitudes: it's not the suit, it's the man, etc. etc.

      1. I would not hesitate, nor would I address the appearance at the party. Just serve it and enjoy! It really does sound delicious, and homemade is beautiful in all the important ways.

        Let us know how it goes over.

        eta: would sifted powdered sugar or cocoa on the top help?

        1. Yes, I'd serve it but I might "repurpose" it as trifle. You meant to do that, right? It sounds like you might not have to do much except cube the cake, layer with some whipped cream, and top with more whipped cream and chopped almonds. The flavor combination sure sounds great.

          5 Replies
          1. re: rockycat

            That is genius, rockycat!

            1. re: rockycat

              or just put the whole thing intact into a trifle bowl, and top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

              1. re: alkapal

                That's what I do. It's happened several times that guests want to bring homemade desserts but they either drop them on the way or they're not master bakers to begin with, so I just portion them out in crystal ice cream bowls, maybe whip cream on top, and no one is the wiser.

                1. re: alkapal

                  yep a trifle is the way to go. maybe throw a few strawberries or blueberries in, mix it with heavy whipped cream.... yumm, all the flavor and it's supposed to look a mess.

                2. re: rockycat

                  I love graceful solutions like this.

                3. I feel your pain, it makes me crazy to serve something ugly, but everyone will appreciate the effort you went to, and it really is the taste that matters! You are a much nicer daughter-in-law than I am! :)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: aforkcalledspoon

                    Pre cut, put into small serving cups, ramekins, anything small, dollop of whipped cream, dusting of coco powder. The beauty part

                  2. How you wrote this up is hilarious!

                    But, of course serve it! Sounds delicious. And carefully plating - as suggested - might be the trick.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                      But what will she do about the birthday song and the blowing out of candles?

                      1. re: bayoucook

                        MI is probably old enough that one candle in her own piece would probably be enough.

                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                          She's 82. I think one candle will be plenty.

                          1. re: silvergirl

                            With 82 candles on it, no one will notice how misshapen the cake may be.

                            1. re: David A. Goldfarb

                              good point, hehe! OR, the birthday gal might appreciate sans candles to begin with. Why not sing!

                    2. Would you please attach a photo of your "seriously ugly cake" (poor thing)?

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                        Does "poor thing" refer to me or my misshapen monstrosity of a cake? I'll update with a picture later (post-party), but pixies broke my camera (or at least that's what my boys told me) and getting a photo from my phone to my computer is beyond my technological ability.

                        1. re: silvergirl

                          To the poor, now globally publically and hilariously humiliated cake! Look forward to the photo. Happy Birthday to MIL.

                      2. As others have stated, serve it (replated/decorated if needed)--the love certainly does add something which makes it incredible.

                        I wouldn't worry about it--have fun (and a good laugh) over this!

                        1. A homemade hideous cake will still likely beat anything most bakeries have to offer. Serve it! After 82 years Grandma definitely deserves something made with love!

                          1. How can it possibly be ugly? Do you mean lopsided or crooked? Is the ganache green? Does it have that whiteish mix of flour and oil stuck to the sides from greasing the pans? I don't see how this can be ugly, I can't wait for the picture!

                            1. I know I'm seriously out numbered here, but I wouldn't. I would make something else that I knew was going to be lovely. Sure she'd probably understand, but I just believe my family does deserve the nicest cake and not something that turned out poorly. And yes when I buy gifts, say a doll, I look at all the dolls to see which one has the cutest expression, or nicest dress. I do care about my gift giving. Her birthday is probably over now, but that is just me.

                              15 Replies
                              1. re: chef chicklet

                                My husband baked me a cake at his office for Valentine's day (it was even heart shaped). It wasn't very good, but I loved that he did this for me.

                                My guests have always understood that meals may not always look perfect; we all do our best, and the effort (and taste) is what is commended. The OP also stated that there were not any decent bakeries in the area, which would leave her with supermarket cakes. Personally, I'd prefer an ugly cake made from scratch over any store bought cake any day. In parfait glasses, custard cups, fine china, or simply plated, one could do a lot with a humble mistake.

                                1. re: Caralien

                                  I agree with you, but because I would not serve a cake that failed, does not mean that I'd be ungrateful if I were to recieve one. Certainly, I would be touched with the effort done, if my husband or one of my children made me a cake, of course I'd be thrilled,

                                  What I want or expect for myself is vastly less than what I'll give to others. I'll work past midnight to put out the very best thing I can. Like I said, I know that I'm out numbered, and I am willing to take the heat for that, but as I said before that it's just me, I will try to put out the best (whatever it is) that I can. The op did asked all of us the question "Would you serve a seriously ugly cake to guests?" she didn't say would you mind if you recieved a seriously ugly cake?"

                                  I'm answering the op honestly. If it were my mom-in-law you better believe I'd try to make the nicest of nice cakes, out of respect for her and for my husband. ( And I know exactly what my husband, would say, "oh it's fine, just serve it, she won't even notice") But the point is, I will know. The op seems to have taken on a cake she was not quite as skilled to do, but if she made this cake perhaps could make a more simple cake, one that she's familiar with the recipe. She doesn't say how much time is left, but if she had time she could redo.

                                  Please understand, I pass not one bit of judgement on anyone that agrees that she should serve it. Each of us must do what they think is best.
                                  The party is probably over with by now anyway.

                                  1. re: chef chicklet

                                    chef, I think you hit something on the nose and have made me ponder. Maybe its too easy to provide a recommendation that we ourselves would not follow. I suggested serving the cake by nicely plating the pieces. But as someone with an obsessive Japanese approach to guests, I too would probably - against my own best judgement - be up all night getting both taste and presentation down right.

                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                      Aw. nice to know I have company with this obsessive compulsion to please and make perfect. It is a personality trait I take lots of whippings for. I am not trying to be unkind in the least BIT, just trying to be helpful and thank you for pondering.

                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                        Sam, I hate to be critical of your post, but the OP was up for awhile making the best cake she could, and admitted she may have over-extended herself.

                                        1. re: Caralien

                                          Auto Alien, read my posts above in which I seriously recommend serving the poor "ugly" cake with love and affection. My reply to cc was just that I recognized the dead of night exhausted tears in the eyes keep going anyway drive - and that I don't recommend or condone the approach, but if your grew up with it, it is hard to escape.

                                        2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                          Haha -- yes, Mr. Fujisaka, I wonder -- when we get out the "good" dishes, or spend $25 on one tiny jar of whatever, or have a tree removed because we want the sun to shine on the table at X o'clock--or yes, stay up all night making 3 cakes in succession-- are we sincerely trying to give pleasure to our guests, or am I just showing off?
                                          I just love exactly centering the design on the pillowcases etc. I guess you know what I mean.

                                          1. re: blue room

                                            Not showing off. Just a cultural imperative for some. One of my ex PhD students went to Japan for a conference, stayed in the spare room of a family there (which is very, very rare- both the room and staying with a family in cramped Tokyo), said something about the (installed wall to wall) carpet in the room - which was then completely changed by the time he returned to the home that evening. I understood the Japanese family's obsession (as my own), but gave my student a bit of a lesson about the Japanese concepts of giri and on; and how to treat o - kaksan.

                                            I don't want to be obsessive, but you can't change your culture.

                                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                              Sam - I'm just curious as to what the student said about the carpet!

                                              1. re: NellyNel

                                                He expressed some kind of mild dislike for the color.

                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                  Wow - that story is truly amazing.

                                                  It was kind of rude of him to say anything at all - but yikes he must have felt like a heel!

                                                  1. re: NellyNel

                                                    Yes, how did the host not think that this would make the guest *really* uncomfortable? ('Splain that, Sam?)
                                                    I would have brought something (flowers?) into the room in a color I was SURE the guest liked, to make up for the rug. But of course the guest is boorish, and should get nada.
                                                    I have heard of places/cultures where you don't dare admire anything in a host's home because he will insist on GIVING it to you. Here again, doesn't the host realize he's making the guest squirm? Maybe this is just an urban-type legend.

                                                    1. re: blue room

                                                      The Japanese approach would have been to swear that they were planning to do the switch anyway. My Nepali student was pretty repentant - and surprised.

                                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                        Ah-- "The Japanese approach..." Perfect quick thinking! How very nice.

                                      2. re: Caralien

                                        Caralien; my kinda gal.....
                                        My wife would stand in your corner any day.
                                        Home (and grandma's house) is a place you can go and take your failures and all they do is brush the dust off from your back, encourage you to wash your face and comb your hair, and send you back out with a good luck wish. It's a thing called love; family love. You can' get it anywhere else except home.

                                    2. Don't fret; serve it. You don't have to slice it. You can serve it in scoops, chunks, just about any form that won't expose its ugliness (if in fact it is ugly) and as long as it pleases the taste buds there's no reason not to use it in some creative way that reaches above the traditional serving slice method.

                                      1. It sounds like you (and probably your family) have a good sense of humor. Just have a good laugh about it and serve it forth. A great tasting home-made cake beats store-bought any day. And Happy Birthday to your MIL.

                                        1. After years of making cakes, what I've learned most is how to "pretty up" a cake that didn't turn out as planned. This is probably too late but if the cake is leaning, or filling soft, you can put it in a spring form pan, skewer the layers straight (straws work well here) and refrigerate/freeze until firm. Then top the whole thing w/ softish frosting, maybe a mascarpone whipped cream, or even more chocolate ganache.

                                          The trifle is a great idea, too. You could take a springform pan, line the edge w/ lady fingers (like a picket fence), make a trifle/tiramisu idea w/ the cake inside and then finish w/ a layer of pastry cream. Tie a ribbon around the lady fingers when you remove the springform pan. I'm sure, no matter how it looks, that people will appreciate how good it tastes and that you made it yourself, from scratch.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: chowser

                                            chowser, the ladyfingers with ribbon sounds like a fabulous "save."

                                            1. re: chowser

                                              chowser, I wish you'd posted earlier on June 21, you might have saved my ugly cake. I'll remember this next time.

                                            2. Throw some coconut ALL over it, dim all the lights (sweet darlin) and have a go at it!
                                              I would SO serve it, and put out a donation cup for it's pending plastic surgery (for if it makes it through the party, of course...)

                                              Betcha it's fine, don't beat yourself up about it and don't lie & throw the grandkids under the bus!

                                              I really wanna see it now!

                                              1. Julia Child had a quote that basically said that you are the only person who knows that something didnt turn out the way you intended, so just act like it is just how you wanted. I think she is right although i admit sometimes, it is hard to not be very critical of my errors. i made and served a very ugly pie recently. Its the thought that counts!

                                                1. IN A NEW YORK MINUTE ,in every life ??? happens if it is a good cake,this trumps all
                                                  TASTE IS EVERYTHING
                                                  then there is the rest of life,YOU DO WHAT YOU CAN
                                                  if the crumb is tasty ;it is a celebratory cake :food isn't a beauty contest UNTIL the taste has been passed
                                                  ???DONE

                                                  1. Serve, you sound comfortable in your own skin, you picked an outrageously delicious dessert to serve an MIL that you like.

                                                    Serve it, have a great laugh and a great dessert.

                                                    1. Looks aren't everything... how does it TASTE? If it tastes great but is lopsided/uneven/whatever, then just pre-cut it and serve it on pretty plates or in nice bowls with a dollop of cream and some icing sugar dusted over. But if it tastes as bad as it looks, turf it.

                                                      9 Replies
                                                      1. re: Kajikit

                                                        Just curious how the OP knows that this particular cake tastes good. It sounds like she hasn't made it before, and presumably hasn't already eaten her slice....

                                                        1. re: greygarious

                                                          I assumed she tasted the the cake crumbs and filling/topping components in order to come to that judgment.

                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                            I think Tom Colicchio once wagged his finger at a Top Chef contestant and lectured him about never serving anything he hadn't first tasted himself. So I consider it a duty to lop off the rounded top of the cake to taste before any of my guests do. ;) Of course that might be why I make such ugly cakes... all those crumbs!

                                                            1. re: cimui

                                                              You can turn it upside down, so the trimmed side is down, and you ice the flat side that was in the pan.

                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                Oh, I do, but the crumbs still get everywhere. Also, I need an excuse for making ugly cakes.

                                                                1. re: cimui

                                                                  Do you crumb coat? Brush off the crumbs, apply a thin layer of icing, chill until set, then proceed with the rest of the icing. The first layer glues the crumbs down so they don't get in the outer layer. This works very well with meringue buttercream, presumably other icings as well.

                                                                  1. re: babette feasts

                                                                    Not usually. But the type of cake I make most frequently is liver cake for dogs. =)

                                                                    I do crumb coat people cakes. There are usually other horrible, disfiguring mishaps that occur with those, though... i.e. the layers are misaligned, jam filling is too enthusiastically applied and oozes out the edges when it encounters the full weight of the top layer + icing, etc....

                                                                    I'm quite sure that silvergirl's worst cake is far better looking than my nicest-looking one!

                                                                    1. re: cimui

                                                                      mmmmmmmm, liver cake!

                                                                      Do you make a frosting dam around the egdes before spreading the filling inside? That really helps prevent leakage.

                                                                      The cook is always the most critical of their work. Only the cook knows the vision s/he had, the high expectations that went awry somewhere. Everyone else is just sitting there thinking 'cake? can I have some cake? when are we going to cut the cake?'

                                                                      1. re: babette feasts

                                                                        >>Everyone else is just sitting there thinking 'cake? can I have some cake? when are we going to cut the cake?'

                                                                        Heh! This is why I love baking for dogs most of all.

                                                                        And nope, I didn't make a dam... You have all these clever tricks up your sleeve. :)

                                                      2. There's a tasty Italian cookie called "brutti ma buoni" which means "ugly but good." You're just following a renowned culinary tradition!

                                                        Can't wait to find out what you did...

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: heidipie

                                                          haha that is so funny. I can hear my father in law using those words to describe me! :)

                                                        2. I'm dying to see this cake. silvergirl, if it turns out to be as delicious as it sounds, will you share the recipe for your unfortunate looking cake?

                                                          1. I've served some pretty hideous cakes, Silver. But I'd say it does depend somewhat on who the guests are, if they're whom you're trying to please / impress. Are they form over function types or vice versa?

                                                            I recently attempted a birthday cake for an old friend, at the last minute. (He didn't tell me he was going to be in town, then called that a.m. obviously upset that his friends and family hadn't made any plans to celebrate this very significant birthday with him, etc...) He requested an ice cream cake after some pressing, which I'd never made before and completely winged.

                                                            The result? An ugly, misshapen lump of goo with far too much frosting on it -- a poor attempt to cover up the uneven bits -- and mudsliding sides that I had to bolster / camouflage with strawberries. It was a miracle of engineering that the thing stayed together at all, really.

                                                            But there was no time to find a storebought stand-in; substantively, it was exactly what he wanted (down to the flavors of ice cream and cake); and he's always been function over form kinda buddy... so I served it along with a weak jokes about the Great Birthday Lump and how great he looked for his decrepit age -- at least next to the cake, etc...

                                                            He sincerely loved it. And it tasted pretty decent, too. :)

                                                            1. It's better than making one on national TV.

                                                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=we2iWT...

                                                              You'll also notice her Hannukah cake as well. It's the light blue one with the 7 sided "Star of David" on top.

                                                              DT

                                                              1. did kerry vincent have a problem with THIS ugly birthday cake? LOL!
                                                                http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/2009/0...

                                                                this wreck is neck-and-neck with the kwanzaa cake, in my estimation!

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                  Someone had too many cocktails prior to decorating / planning a theme cake.

                                                                2. Just think, you could've run out and spent $500 on this cake.

                                                                  http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/2008/1...

                                                                  DT

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Davwud

                                                                    davwud, it's a fun website, huh?

                                                                    did she actually say, "dog not go potty on the cake"?

                                                                    (i think mario was shining her on! "it went from a $40 cake to "priceless"). LOLOL!

                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                      I can't imagine how Mario kept it together.

                                                                      I've been surfing the site and have all but fallen off my chair a few times. I had to send it to Mrs. Sippi.

                                                                      DT

                                                                    2. re: Davwud

                                                                      $500! Oh my, that is hilarious.

                                                                      And there was something seriously wrong with the way she said "You are a messy little kid..."

                                                                      1. re: Davwud

                                                                        $400 or $500 for this cake? Where is she shopping? oops forgot about her Kwanza cake, and how that looked... yikes. Don't forget the corn nuts!!

                                                                      2. ROFLMFAO

                                                                        http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/2008/1...

                                                                        DT

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: Davwud

                                                                          indeed!!!
                                                                          the "teal tornado" hanukkah cake: "As you can see, this traditionally-colored flaming whirlwind knocked the wording about and blew the second 'k' clean off. Of course, if for the sake of argument we called this a "menorah", then it's also missing a candle. The fact that the "candles" look like Christmas trees is just the icing on the, er, cookie. Mazel Tov!"

                                                                        2. OMG

                                                                          http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/2009/0...

                                                                          DT

                                                                          22 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Davwud

                                                                            it's a word journey!

                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                              I like this one too

                                                                              http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/2008/0...

                                                                              Some of the comments at the bottom are pretty funny too.

                                                                              DT

                                                                              1. re: Davwud

                                                                                oh no!!!!!!!
                                                                                can you imagine the person while they were decorating it? i'm crying from laughing so hard! from a comment: "Mag's Nags said...
                                                                                Apparently no one in this office is immune to sexual harrassment; amputees have nothing to fear there! At least he wasn't spanking her with his 'hook'!!!!!!"

                                                                                AUGUST 15, 2008 8:09 AM"

                                                                                another: "Allison said...
                                                                                I'm just wondering what the manager actually wrote on the order form at the cake decorating place :)"

                                                                                AUGUST 15, 2008 4:36 AM

                                                                                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                or imagine cutting it, and serving it -- who gets the "action" section?

                                                                                "here, george, here's a piece for you." ;-).

                                                                                ~~~~~
                                                                                edit: flimflam, my niece, just emailed me when she saw the harassment cake:
                                                                                "Can I have the part with the letters A$$ on it, please?????? Pretty please???"

                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                  ??????????

                                                                                  http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/2008/0...

                                                                                  DT

                                                                                  1. re: Davwud

                                                                                    holy moly! "PUSH," she said. "PUUUUSH!" you go, olivia!

                                                                                  2. re: alkapal

                                                                                    This site is priceless. Thank you! (and I too am wiping away tears)

                                                                                    1. re: Caralien

                                                                                      It's like the Pandora's Box of websites!!

                                                                                      http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/2008/0...

                                                                                      DT

                                                                                  3. re: Davwud

                                                                                    davwud, can they get much better? oh that is freakin' hilarious!

                                                                                    they're in a carrot round-up. yeeeee-hiiiiiiiiigh! let me guess, carrot cake for a baby shower? (and just exactly who makes little plastic babies with mohawks? edit: these are the baby suppliers -- stock up! http://www.crafta.com/3331-ast.html ).
                                                                                    ~~~~~~~~~

                                                                                    from the father's day wrap-up ( http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/2009/0... ) :

                                                                                    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_wGr8njEWjtI...

                                                                                    "we are the world..." (and look, "global warming" has turned the arctic green!)

                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                      proving that "ugly" holds up just fine!
                                                                                      serve that cake with pride then upload it to cakewrecks!

                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                        Brace yourself for this next one:

                                                                                        The "Santa"

                                                                                        http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/2008/1...

                                                                                        DT

                                                                                        1. re: Davwud

                                                                                          and at the top, with the frog! "For the granddaughter who loves dissecting frogs - formaldehyde frosting optional. (And you know, without the comma "Love Grandma" becomes more of a command. A really creepy one.)"

                                                                                          dav, we've gotta stop or something is gonna happen!
                                                                                          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                                          all said, silvergirl, you should feel pretty darn happy about serving your cake!
                                                                                          ;-).

                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                            http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/2009/0...

                                                                                            1. re: Caralien

                                                                                              i'm gonna bust a gut!!!
                                                                                              http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_wGr8njEWjtI...
                                                                                              http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_wGr8njEWjtI...

                                                                                              ~~~~~~
                                                                                              i too have to stop!
                                                                                              must.
                                                                                              be.
                                                                                              productive.
                                                                                              <repeat>

                                                                                              ~~~~~~~
                                                                                              i'd like to nominate this thread as one of chow's funniest.

                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                last one (I promise):
                                                                                                http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_wGr8njEWjtI...

                                                                                                sorry, I lied:
                                                                                                http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/2008/0...

                                                                                                1. re: Caralien

                                                                                                  and THAT'S why you shouldn't allow dogs in the kitchen!

                                                                                                  1. re: Caralien

                                                                                                    There were so many. I had to finally stop.

                                                                                                    DT

                                                                                                    1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                      you just cannot believe that each one is worse than the last!

                                                                                                  2. re: alkapal

                                                                                                    OMG, is that really fire next to that polyester-haired doll???

                                                                                                2. re: alkapal

                                                                                                  I had to close my browser with it open. I'd be here all day.

                                                                                                  Thanks for the laughs. My face hurts.

                                                                                                  DT

                                                                                                  1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                    laughter is good for the soul!

                                                                                                    thanks, silverbird, for beginning this journey of hilarity.

                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                      http://www.threadless.com/news

                                                                                                      see where all this ugly can lead...

                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                        update: this link no longer takes you to tshirt slogan cakes.

                                                                                      2. Too funny, I just had this happen to me!
                                                                                        You're clearly a baker. I am absolutely not. But as my SO prefers cookies to cakes, I thought, eh, how hard can a cookie cake really be? The cookie cake came out ok, but then I tried to decorate it... I bought some of those instant icings, thinking, oh, I'll just make a pretty little border.
                                                                                        Well, not being a baker At All meant that I simply didn't realize that the icing needed special attachment nibs to make pretty lines and not just smeared blue streaks everywhere. Oh, and first I put a Horrible chocolate frosting down, that, halfway through, I decided was overkill, so half of the cookie got frosting, with smeared icing on top and half was bare. I started to try to write "happy birthday" but it was so smeared that it came out looking like I was trying to do it in windings font...
                                                                                        Anyway, what could I do?
                                                                                        I told everyone that we were celebrating the beautiful ugliness of birthdays, stuck some candles in it and sliced it up!
                                                                                        Surprisingly, it actually tasted good, and thankfully, the room was dark...

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                          Conclusion from reading silvergirl & hyacinthgirl: a) people whose screen names end in "girl", b) people who make ugly cakes, or c) people whose sceen names end in "girl" AND who make ugly cakes - have great self-depricating senses of humor and write really well.

                                                                                        2. I would be seriously (if privately) annoyed if I found out you made a delicious salted caramel chocolate cake and then found out you did not serve it to me because it was ugly. Presumably you chose this cake because you knew this audience would appreciate it, so I'm betting they won't appreciate a not-so-great storebought alternative as much as they would your homemade effort, whatever it looks like.

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: julesrules

                                                                                            Second that!

                                                                                            1. re: julesrules

                                                                                              Third it! A couple years ago, a friend of mine who is an excellent cook but infrequent baker decided that for another friend's birthday he would make him his all-time favorite cake, an Italian cream cake (a southern classic that seems to have nothing to do with Italy, but that's a different topic). So he mixed up the cake batter, baked it, took it out of the oven, thought the layers looked a little flat and odd. Turns out he forgot to add the sugar. Fortunately he realized this before he frosted it and served it because he saw the new bag of sugar he had just purchased sitting on the counter still unopened. So that one went into the trash. A few weeks later he decided to try again. This time he remembered all the ingredients but didn't leave himself enough time to let the cake cool before frosting it. So the cake layers crumbled, the frosting (cream cheese with nuts) melted, and the layers slid off each other. It looked like a mess and he was embarassed to serve it, but we were among close friends so he did and it was delicious and very much appreciated by the birthday boy.

                                                                                            2. I'm still hoping to see the picture of the cake, silvergirl... :-)

                                                                                              Another solution that just came to mind is to get a pretty but possibly awful-tasting cake from a local store, light the candles on that one, and then tell people that it is indeed possible to eat your cake and have it, too. Then slice up the ugly but yummy cake, and tell people to look at the pretty cake while eating the delicious one. If you tell your MIL the whole story, she'll probably be even more touched that you went to the effort of getting her two cakes.

                                                                                              Many years ago, one of my children wanted a 3-d shaped animal cake. I had a book with directions on how to make all sorts of cakes shaped like elephants, dogs, t-rex, etc. Each cake was covered in rolled fondant icing. It was a fair bit of work, but my kid was delighted with the result. Unfortunately, overnight, the animal's head dropped off. I couldn't figure out a way to re-attach the head to the body. When I served the cake, I told the children some elaborate tale about how there was a battle between two different cake animals and this particular one was a little hurt, but still wanted to be at the party. I wonder if I scarred anyone for life.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: Kochav

                                                                                                "When I served the cake, I told the children some elaborate tale about how there was a battle between two different cake animals and this particular one was a little hurt, but still wanted to be at the party."

                                                                                                --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                                                                                If I were a kid, I would've loved that story! You are such a wonderful mother for taking the time to make such an elaborate cake.

                                                                                              2. I was going to suggest trifle but some other chowish geniuses got there first.

                                                                                                1. sail on silvergirl, sail on byyyyyyyy, your time has come to shine, all your dreams are on their way....

                                                                                                  oops, wrong silvergirl! this is a shout out to the original poster "silvergirl". girl, get on over to this thread and tell us what you ended up doing with your ugly cake! what happened?

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                    Yeah, I was looking for that, too!

                                                                                                    1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                      Maybe even a picture??

                                                                                                      DT

                                                                                                  2. do you have a photo of the cake? I could guarantee that it's not as bad as some cakes we've all made. Please post. (begging)

                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Caralien

                                                                                                      for a fix, caralien, go check out the latest on cakewrecks! ;-)).

                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                        The worst part about this is that I am not a cake fan. I want to like cakes. but prefer the raw ingredients better. Carrots, bread, cheese, eggs, ice cream. Cakes are pretty, but they're like a bouquet--nice, and a welcome gift, but I'd prefer a bowl of cherries. Hard to stick a candle in that!

                                                                                                        1. re: Caralien

                                                                                                          you don't have to like cakes to like cakewrecks (which i know that you know)!!! i love that site -- it never fails to crack me up.

                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                            Holy Lordy MY! Love that site for a good laugh! The hysterectomy cakes (esp. Goodbye Tilly) were priceless. I think I will do one for my friend who begrudgingly gave me her tampons a couple weeks ago. If anyone could use a good cake all to herself it is she.

                                                                                                            1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                              ok, uterine diagram, with the red circle and slash. (riffing on the "no" sexual harassment cake, which if you didn't see, you must. http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/2008/0...
                                                                                                              also, the "birthing cake" -- PUUUUUUSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHH!). http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/2008/0...

                                                                                                              edit: holy smokes, alki-sal!!! i just looked at "goodbye tilly." my imagination is so understaffed! http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/2009/0...

                                                                                                    2. Would I serve a seriously ugly cake to guests?

                                                                                                      yes, but then i have some seriously ugly guests

                                                                                                      1. I'm sure you've already served it, and it turned out wonderfully, but I had to share a funny story, about ugly cakes. A friend of mine made a cherry cake, and put a can or so of cherry pie filling in the cake mix. Well, it over-saturated the cake mix with moisture, and turned the middle of the cake into a blood red, wet mushy cake. Now, the middle was filled with a black filling (I don't remember what), and we quickly named it vampire cake. It is absolutely disgusting looking. (Another friend's 5 year old heard us call it Vampire cake, saw her mom eat it, and ran away, afraid that her mother had become a vampire...) But, it was beyond delicious! So, as long as it tastes good, 99.9% of people won't care what it looks like :D

                                                                                                        1. I can't believe my ugly cake has gained such notoriety! I've been absent and this is what I come back to? Forever being remembered for ugly cake? I served the cake. Turns out MIL tripped and fell on her face walking home from a concert the night before. Her face looked way worse than the cake. I just told her I thought it was a theme party. I'm not going to share the recipe. It was tasty, but only because it was good chocolate, cream, caramel, salt and almonds. I've attempted to attach a photo. I hope it works. (note: sorry, the only photo I got was of the cake in a roasting pan for transportation. also, the cake didn't photograph nearly as ugly as it really looked.)

                                                                                                           
                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: silvergirl

                                                                                                            Oh, I'm sorry about your MILs fall! Hope she's feeling better.

                                                                                                            The photo doesn't seem to be there. I don't know why, silvergirl, but somehow I just really want to see that cake! :) Thanks for trying to satisfy our curiosity. Hopefully you can get the pic to post.
                                                                                                            Know what you mean about it looking better than it was. We once bought a fixer-upper and took a before photo. That darned house looked SO much better in pics than reality.

                                                                                                            Again, awfully sorry the dear lady took a spill.

                                                                                                          2. Sorry, here's a photo that should work.

                                                                                                             
                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: silvergirl

                                                                                                              I'll take your word that your photo didn't do its ugliness justice, because the cake doesn't look ugly to me, just homey in a way. Note I said homey, not homely.

                                                                                                              My sympathy to you MIL. I'm sure you feel badly for her, too, even though you got some funny lines out of the situation (which I trust you didn't use in her presence).

                                                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                Agreed - the cake looks fine - true homemade. I do hope your MIL is doing better, silvergirl!

                                                                                                              2. re: silvergirl

                                                                                                                Oh, ha ha! You win, as the baker I would call it ugly, too! It actually looks quite delicious, all homemade and chocolatey, but I know what you mean about expecting a lovely result and getting "rustic", lovely in its own way, of course!

                                                                                                                I hope you know I am laughing WITH you! I'll bet it tasted good and surely your MIL appreciated it.

                                                                                                                1. re: silvergirl

                                                                                                                  Honey, you got a lot to learn about ugly! That aint even close to ugly!

                                                                                                                  1. re: silvergirl

                                                                                                                    As Fred Sanford said,

                                                                                                                    "Beauty is skin deep but ugly goes clear to the bones."

                                                                                                                    That cake looks fine. Jfood would have no problem serving that to friends

                                                                                                                    1. re: silvergirl

                                                                                                                      that's not a totally ugly cake. It looks tasty. I would be happy to receive it, even without my bifocals and dim lighting.

                                                                                                                    2. UGLY??? My gosh I thought you meant an ugly cake.. I equate ugly cake to my mom's attempt to be creative and make a cake and use food color. The cake came out battleship gray. Which since my Dad was in the Navy at the time, was okay. I just rememeber I wouldn't eat it and neither would my brother or sister. It was the source of laughter for many years after, so it had it's purpose.

                                                                                                                      This is not an ugly cake by any means and I bet it was delicious.
                                                                                                                      Sorry to hear about your mil accident, hope she's on the mend!

                                                                                                                      1. My friends and I celebrate Ugly Man Day on March 1st. It's been going for the past eleven years! (Long story.) In high school, we used to get a picture of an "ugly person" from a website like http://www.uglypeople.se/ and then take it to a bakery that put photos on cakes. Picking up the cake was always a bit embarassing...

                                                                                                                        So yes, I would serve an ugly cake!

                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: Jetgirly

                                                                                                                          jetgirly, i don't know whether to cry or to weep! <<but i am cracking up thinking about you picking up those "photo cakes" from the bakery!>>>

                                                                                                                          i know that these people must have good personalities***, because they haven't been able to skate on their looks. i just hope their momma loved 'em. and i worry about some gray hairs.... how silly!

                                                                                                                          http://www.uglypeople.se/view-picture...

                                                                                                                          ~~~~~
                                                                                                                          *** EXCEPTION: http://www.uglypeople.se/view-picture...
                                                                                                                          {;^D).

                                                                                                                          1. re: Jetgirly

                                                                                                                            Send me your pic and next Mar 1, I'll be sure to have a cake made in your honor.

                                                                                                                            1. re: mollygirl

                                                                                                                              I <3 you Mollygirl- you read my mind!

                                                                                                                          2. Sorry. Typo:

                                                                                                                            I say -- serve it! It was lovingly made and it sounds very tasty, and THAT'S what counts. It's a dessert, not a showpiece. I went to a wedding where the cake looked exquisite but tasted like stale toast iced with plaster, and that was a fricking disappointment. Caramel and ganache, what's NOT to taste divine? SERVE the darn thing! :-)

                                                                                                                            Permalink | Report | Reply

                                                                                                                            1. http://www.joythebaker.com/blog/2009/...

                                                                                                                              Okay, perhaps not an ugly cake but certainly not a traditional "pretty"
                                                                                                                              but OMG, what a delicious and unexpected wonder of a cake!!

                                                                                                                              Served this last night to gal pals who know I'll try any recipe ONCE and left them in the dust--they loved it!

                                                                                                                              11 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                interesting. were y'all drinkin'? ;-).

                                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                  lol alka, gal pals ... you need to ask.
                                                                                                                                  nevertheless, excellent cake.

                                                                                                                                2. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                  man, that looks pretty (and delicious) to me... such a pretty shade of green! it reminds me of the barely tinted grasshopper ice box cakes we used to be able to get in my hometown.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: cimui

                                                                                                                                    now i could get into a grasshopper cake!
                                                                                                                                    like this? http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/recip...

                                                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                      oh yes, but with one more crucial ingredient: a few drops of green food coloring! (i come from the state that brought us green benedictine spreads.)

                                                                                                                                    2. re: cimui

                                                                                                                                      oh I enjoy a grasshopper ice box cake too but these two cakes have nothing in common. Give it a try!

                                                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                        i'd have a problem with not gobbling up the avocados with just some lime juice.

                                                                                                                                        ~~~~
                                                                                                                                        as to grasshopper ice box cake: made with crushed chocolate wafers and mint choco-chip ice cream, per chance?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                          alka, you need to re-adjust your avocado thinking to enjoy this cake, I agree. As the fork enters ones mouth-think creamy frosting..not lime.

                                                                                                                                          as to g.h. ice box cake-absolutely the way to go.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                            ok, when i encounter a surfeit of avocado, i'll ponder making your cake. ;-).
                                                                                                                                            (but i see it only takes three!).

                                                                                                                                            that green frosting made me think of the grinch!

                                                                                                                                        2. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                          oh, i'm sure they're very different. i just meant that lovely shade of avocado green was reminiscent of grasshopper cake -- but i guess in your case, it's natural. ;)

                                                                                                                                          1. re: cimui

                                                                                                                                            n.p. cimui-I enjoy a good g.h. cake!

                                                                                                                                    3. One person's ugly cake is another's book deal!
                                                                                                                                      http://www.seriouseats.com/2009/09/ca...

                                                                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                        you see she's gonna be up in bethesda, right?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                          I wish she was coming here. If nothing else to let her know she's given me some the best laughs I've had in ages.

                                                                                                                                          DT

                                                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                            Should we bring an ugly cake to the book signing, lol!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                              Okay a baker friend of mine just agreed to go to the 10/7 date in NYC.
                                                                                                                                              What a hoot!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                hill j, i guess that appearance was cancelled, too? i got an email saying her husband had been hospitalized, and she had to cancel the bethesda appearance. i was in florida, so couldn't attend in any event.
                                                                                                                                                edit: the dates will be rescheduled.
                                                                                                                                                YAY!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                  alkapal, my friend & I didn't know about the reschedule for that NYC date and wound up having a great meal in the neighborhood. I'll keep an eye out for the new date and check back on this thread too. Txs.