Q: How much pain can a broken shoe cause?

A: It is immeasurable, particularly when coupled with a low fat, low sugar, reduced carb chocolate cake with choc/mint filling, suitable for a diabetic*!

*There is no such thing as ‘suitable for diabetics fondant’ – clearly the outer covering of fondant would need to be removed from this cake before a person with diabetes consumed it.  But I’m sure I didn’t need to tell you that.

completed shoe cakeWhen I agreed to do this cake I must have been under the influence of a full moon or something.  Making it was a horrible experience that took me through full scale tantrums (not a pretty sight) and left me with my confidence shot to pieces.

On the plus side, I learned some extremely valuable lessons.

Trial diabetic cakeOf course, the first thing I had to do was to come up with a cake recipe suitable for diabetics.  This was really difficult and took a LOT of trial bakes.  Trust me, when it comes to cake there is no such thing as a good sugar substitute…my experience was that they either made the cakes look great but taste vile, or the cake tasted ok(ish) but didn’t rise properly.  In the end I managed to come up with something suitable using a mix of xylitol, fructose and a tiny amount of muscovado sugar.

Toothpaste frostingThe next issue was the frosting.  Mint/chocolate was the request but, try as I might, I couldn’t stop it from tasting like toothpaste.  It didn’t help that the sugar free frosting recipe I initially used ended up also having the consistency of toothpaste.  The taste-testers tried gamely but feedback wasn’t good.

In the end I used a packet mix of chocolate flavour sugar free whipped dessert as the base for the frosting, adding a bit of the toothpastey stuff for firmer texture and a touch of mint flavour.  It was passable.  At least it wasn’t green.  I didn’t take any pictures.

Making a shoeWhen it came to making the shoe I did some research and came up with a couple of guides on making high heel shoes without using cutters and moulds.  Simples, I thought, and set to hacking up a brand new pair of shoes.  Forming the heels was nowhere near as easy as the ladies in the videos made it look, but I eventually had some heels and soles drying.

And drying….

…and drying….

…and drying…  They took for freaking EVER to dry!

And that’s because I was using fondant (with insufficient quantities of tylenol added).  I should have used gumpaste.  This was the root cause of subsequent problems.  But I didn’t know that at the time.

Broken shoeThe first shoe broke while I was trying to fix heel to sole.  Frustrating, but copeable…I had a second one.

drying the decorated shoeThe second shoe didn’t fit together at all well (not surprising when you look at how wonky the heels are in the top collage picture!) so I had to add the weird back strap of gold to cover up the joins.  The front strap sagged because it was too thick and heavy.

Red and gold rosesI was pleased with how my cutter roses were progressing…these were the best I’d done to that point.  I think that was the only element of this cake that pleased me.

Shoe and shoe boxCovering the cake was a nightmare…black fondant seems to dry and crack pretty quickly and it acts like a magnet for any tiny white fibre within the same building.

The second shoe broke while I was positioning it on the cake, then in trying to fix that I messed up the top cake covering and had to hide the damage with flowers.

This cake was horrible. I hate the fact I had to hand it over in that state.  I’m cringing now looking at these pictures.  Just awful!  Quite frankly, the whole thing was something of an ordeal and it was a looooong time before I attempted another high heeled shoe!  I still have no desire whatsoever to revisit the world of ‘suitable for diabetics’ cake baking.

The primary lessons learned whilst making this cake:

  • Don’t overestimate your abilities
  • Don’t hype up expectation
  • Don’t work with black fondant if it’s at all avoidable
  • Do take time to practice, practice, practice before agreeing to make something complex for someone
  • Do use the correct medium
  • Do have a back-up plan for when it all goes horribly wrong

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