Monday, February 19, 2007
Why you should always read directions- OR- the great cake disaster of ‘07
Inspired by the gorgeous looking little cakes on Posie Gets Cozy, I decided to bring a gorgeous little cake of my own to my Mother-in-law’s this weekend. Her recipe looked so simple (a 1-2-3-4 cake! What could go wrong with that?) Now, let me just say right now, I am not really known for my skills as a bakestress. Rather, I am known for cakes that weep and/or double as anvils. But I had high hopes for this one, yes I did. I had made 2 (!) successful batches of cookies that turned out perfect a few weeks back, and I thought, “Hey, my baking woes are over. I’ve got this great new stove now, and all the horrid baked goods are behind me. I can DO THIS.”
Yeah. A more careful check of the not quite recipe showed that there were certain ingredient measurements lacking, like baking soda and salt. Hm. So I just checked Nigella Lawson’s book and kind of guessed. (A teaspoon? Sounds right.)
Second speed bump: Didn’t check the frosting recipe too carefully either. Did not have enough butter in the house, and had to send Dan out for more. And more sugar. And more confectioner’s sugar. Yes. Ok, now we’re back on track. No problem.
Third alarm: the batter was thick. Really, really thick. Like dough. Or like cement. So I spooned and smooshed that into the pans, and then waited around for those to bake while I desperately wanted to nap instead. Out they pop, and they don’t look half bad. Not sinking anywhere, and they look pretty even. Except for those hard crispy edges. Oh well, I can just cut them off…later.
And we’re back. Those crispy edges proved a little harder to remove than first anticipated. They had hardened quite a bit. Where I removed them, they left big gaping holes. Oh well, nothing that a little frosting can’t fix, right?
So on with the frosting. The recipe (also from posie gets cozy) did mention that the frosting could be temperamental. But I whipped that up in the mixer, no problems. Stuffed it into the pastry bag, no problems. Put little stars on the top, almost no problems. Well, the nozzle clogged, and there were some air pockets, but mostly no problems. Then onto the sides. There were too many holes to not frost the sides. And here is where it all falls apart. Frosting spurts out of the top of the bag. Frosting spurts out in uneven blobs…all over the place. Frosting on my hands. Frosting on the counter. Frosting on the floor.
Dog? Dog! Get in here, dog! Where is that stupid dog when you need her? TOPANGA! ***dog runs into the other room, as far away as she can get from the crazy squealing lady***
Ok, there we go. All frosted. Only…one hour late to the dinner thing. I put the lid on the carrier and oh, my gosh. This is so heavy. Really, really heavy. Ok. Into the car. Before we’re even out of the driveway, the cake slides forward and the carefully piped disaster cake smooshes it’s side against the carrier. For the sake of being even, I rotate it so it’ll smoosh all the sides. Frosting an inch and a half thick on all the cake carrier walls.
It’s after dinner. It’s time for cake! “Think of it more as a giant cookie.” I advise. “You’ll be happier.” The “cake” had the exact texture of a cookie, actually. It tasted not unlike a cookie, too. A really big, two layer cookie with jam and frosting. A very rich, filling cookie. Really rich. A two bite and you’re done kind of cookie.
“Some people can cook. Some people can bake. You have the gift of cooking. It’s a really useful gift!” In the car, Dan tries to put a nice spin on things.
“I want both gifts!”
“Like Martha Stewart.”
“Yes! Exactly! Martha Stewart.”
Even with the new old stove, I am not so much with the baking.