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Baking cake ... a tragedy

April 20, 2010
By Wendy Monro

I decided a couple of years ago that I was going to begin making all of my cakes from scratch.

For many years before I made this change, making cakes was so simple.

I just chose the flavor and looked on the back to see if I would need vegetable oil or not.

Article Photos

Submitted Photo

This is a photo of Jessica’s cake.

Then, I chose a frosting flavor and grabbed that tub.

These cakes were fool proof and always tasted and looked great.

Well, a couple of years and many birthday cakes later, I am rethinking my decision.

Fact Box

Chocolate Torte:

1 C. dark 80% cocoa

1 C. shopped semi-sweet chocolate

3/4 C. butter

1/3 C. cocoa powder

5 eggs

3/4 C. sugar

1 Tbsp. flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9-inch springform pan and set aside. In a medium saucepan, melt the chocolate and butter over the lowest heat. Mix in the cocoa powder set aside for a few minutes to cool. While the chocolate is cooling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and flour until they are completely combined and foamy. Fold the egg mixture into the chocolate until the color is uniform and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30- 45 minutes, until a toothpick pulls out moist crumbs when inserted near the center of the torte. Allow the cake to cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife along the edges of the torte and loosen the sides of the pan. Cool for 5 minutes and remove the sides of the pan. Place the cake on a serving platter and cool completely before serving.

Glaze:

4 1/2 oz. dark chocolate

3/4 C. cream

3/4 C. sugar

4 Tbsp. butter

3/4 tsp. vanilla

Heat sugar and cream in a sauce pan until sugar has dissolved. Then, pour over chocolate let it sit and melt for about 5 minutes. Then, stir. Mix in butter and vanilla let cool about 10 minutes. Pour over cake.

For example, at my mom's birthday, I made a red velvet cake that looked more like a pink furry cake.

It kept falling apart into the frosting. It did taste good; but, I was going for looks and taste.

It turns out, I am a terrible baker. It seems the only thing I can bake is a cinnamon roll and I am not sure why those keep coming out so good. I always follow the directions as they are written, but my cakes are never right.

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Two weeks ago, I asked Claud what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday party.

He said, "Yellow cake with chocolate butter frosting."

So, I found a recipe and got to work. I get excited about baking, always believing that this time it will turn out great.

The cake part wasn't so bad, although it was a bit on the dense side and not so much fluffy, like I had hoped.

The frosting is where I really went wrong. The recipe was vague on just how much milk to add and I think I put in too much. It was a gooey mess.

Once the cake cooled, I spread it on anyway, hoping the taste would outweigh the looks; unfortunately, it did not.

At the beginning of Claud's birthday party, while my cake hid silently in the refrigerator, my sister, Jessica, walks in the door holding the most beautiful chocolate cake ever.

My cake can't sit next to that cake. So, I poured myself a glass of wine and tended to the food for the party and forgot all about it for a while.

However, after dinner, I had to readdress the situation. Should my cake even make an appearance?

Should I accidentally drop it?

No, "don't be silly," I thought. I would just bring it out with the stunning cake and hope it gets some attention.

We sang and began cutting. Listening to the comments from our guests, Jessica's cake not only looked beautiful, but also tasted heavenly.

Yes, heavenly, divine, scrumptious, fantastic, were words floating around.

I looked and my cake had barely been touched.

People felt sorry for it so they took a small sliver to go with the large slice of the perfect cake.

In the end, hers was devoured (someone may have even licked the platter because nothing was left), and half of mine remained and then went out with the trash.

So, last weekend, I decided that Jessica should make the cake for another birthday party I hosted at my house.

Some people are bakers and some people aren't and I fall into the latter category.

I needed to just get over it and let the experts do their thing.

I called Jess and asked her. Unfortunately, she couldn't come; but, she would send me the recipe.

"Oh right, that's a great idea", I thought. But, I have a lot of courage and confidence and by golly I was going to give this cake thing another shot.

Maybe I had been picking the wrong recipes. Maybe it's the recipe and not the cook?

Nope, turns out it's the cook. I took the cake out of the oven and it collapsed.

But, I didn't lose hope. I thought, well, that's the bottom when I flip it over.

I may be able to save this little guy. When I flipped it over, half of it stuck to the bottom of the pan.

No problem, I scraped that puppy out and plopped it into the hole from whence it came. It was bumpy.

But, with the glaze, it should still look pretty, right? Not.

I poured on the glaze and the cake looked like something even Charlie Brown or the cake's own mother couldn't love.

In the end, I did serve the cake. A birthday has to have a cake. I have to say, it did still taste good.

I hope you have better luck.

Here is Jessica's recipe and I am certain I was the failure and not the recipe. Good luck.

 
 

 

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