Saturday, August 20, 2011

Culinary Arts #1: How Not to Bake a Cake

1. Turn on oven to preheat.
2. Open cake mix portion of Boston Creme Pie Mom sent you for your birthday and toss it in bowl.
3. Add butter that you actually remembered to take out of the fridge yesterday to soften. 
4. Carefully measure amount of milk into 2/3 cup scoop. Review instructions, realize it should be 3/4 cup. Guestimate and throw in more milk.
5. Crack eggs and add to mix. Extract shell pieces from bowl. 
6. Get mixer, attach beaters, and place them in bowl. Watch one beater immediately fall off into bowl. Swear. Extract beater, rinse it off, and thoroughly affix it to mixer. 
7. Test mixer for beater security while by turning it on over the sink. Forget that other beater still has cake mix on it, so cake mix goes all over shirt and window over sink. Shriek. Turn off mixer. Swear. Giggle. Mix ingredients. 
8. Grease 8 inch pan with butter. Realize you don't have flour to cover butter. Decide this doesn't matter.
9.  Add batter. Throw cake in oven and set timer.
10. Custard filling: Over a new bowl, crack an egg and toss yolk back and forth between shell halves letting white fall into bowl. Feel like real cook separating eggs until you realize recipe calls for yolks, not whites. Throw whites from bowl into sink and put yolk into bowl. Successfully manage to put right part of 2nd egg into the bowl. Add milk.
11. Add whisk attachment to mixer being sure to affix beater securely. Mix contents.
12. In small saucepan, add custard filling mix and egg/milk mix. Stir over medium heat. Mop up liquid that sloshes out. Stir more slowly. 
13. When custard starts to gel, stir for one minute, remove from heat and let cool. Do happy dance that it tastes and looks right.
14. Wander around and wait for cake to cook.
15. Smell burning cake.
16. Check timer (ten minutes early!). Peek in oven, watch smoke pour out and and see that cake is now overflowing out of 8 inch pan. Refer to directions and note that it calls for a 9-inch pan.
17. Close oven door. Swear.
18. Open oven door, fan smoke away and delicately scrape overflowing edges of cake so they fall on the oven floor. Note increase in smoke. Get spatula and scrape cake scraps off oven floor onto kitchen floor. Sweep kitchen floor.
18. Pray smoke alarm does not go off.  Rejoice that windows are already open.  Open them wider.
19. Catch one piece of oozing cake before it falls off pan and taste. Tastes like cake! Frivolously choose to believe cake is still salvageable. Close oven door and let it keep cooking.
20. Be pleased that smoke seems to have dissipated.
21. When timer goes off, check cake. Note that it is still gelatinous in the center. Reset timer for another 5 minutes.
22. Check cake after 5 minutes and see it is still not done. Consider that oven was probably not preheated when cake was put in.
23. After another ten minutes, cake bounces back from light finger touch. It's done! Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes as instructed.
Scary cake fail.
24. Attempt to remove cake from pan. Realize flour probably was important, as much of cake is still stuck in pan. 
24. Scrape out cake crumbs. Consider making them a layer. Decide that, no, anemic, squishy little cake still needs to be sliced in two for two layers. Slice cake so bottom crumbles but top stays somewhat intact. Add crumbled layer to crumbs scraped from pan.
25. Add custard layer on top of crumble layer.
26. Try to add cake top without breaking it. Fail. Try to arrange crumbles artfully. Fail. 
27. Open chocolate icing package and note the contents is totally insufficient to cover a pristine cake top, much less serious cake sins with which you are currently faced. Hope anyway.
Yummy tart
28. Use knife to spread icing. Tear up cake even more. 
29. Stare at cake and think, well? Maybe? Put it under Saran wrap and put it in the fridge and hope it looks better. 
30. Take it out of fridge and note it does not look better. Consider that it may still be undercooked. Think about salmonella poisoning.  Put it back in fridge. Refuse to throw it out because the filling tastes good. 
30. Go to store. 
31. Buy gorgeous summery fruit tart. 
32. Take pretty, store-bought food to bbq.  Eat well sans salmonella. 


  1. Enjoyed reading your dessert fiasco. It sounds like it came out well despite its appearance. Sorry we missed the creme cake though it sounds like you enjoyed making it! The tart was lovely as was spending time with you. See you again soon!

  2. I can totally imagine this happening, and the 'eeps' and yelps that most certainly emanated from the kitchen. Baking is a lot of fun, but it does require a lot of discipline and accuracy.

  3. that is pretty impressive. for a curry recipe i have there are instructions to sip from a margarita inbetween various stages - maybe that would help ;) - laura d

  4. Well. Looks like it turned out beautifully!