Tuesday, September 15, 2009

There be a bakin' curse upon this day

Today is Idle Husband's birthday. As I set out this morning to make the cake (to his specifications), I was quickly reminded of last year's birthday cake and the huge disaster it turned out to be. So as I'm desperately trying to salvage what's left of this year's cake, I'll tell you about last year's.

Idle Husband loves ice cream so my immediate thought was to attempt to make an ice cream cake. At the time, we had just moved from my very small, cramped apartment to our house, so I was (in my defense) rusty when it came to baking. I honestly hadn't done it for about eight years. But that didn't stop my elaborate cake idea. 

I gathered all of my ingredients together the day before and after IH had gone to work, I set about with a recipe I'd found on the internet. For the first time in a long time, I found myself with a huge amount of counter space so excitedly, I laid out all the ingredients, and I greased and floured my pans. Quite a far cry from how I used to bake where I would just grab ingredients as I needed them, throwing things together and substituting when I was halfway through a recipe and found I didn't have an ingredient. This time, I was prepared.

After mixing everything together and following the instructions entirely, I put the cakes in the oven and settled into cleaning up the utensils. I still had a lasagna I was going to prep for supper.

The cakes were ten minutes into their bake time, so I decided to check in on them.  As I opened the door, I found them overflowing out of their pans and all over the oven. Bubbling and pouring out the sides like miniature chocolate volcanoes. I panicked a little, then I don't know why, I thought that maybe that was normal. Maybe that's what they were supposed to do and I'd overfilled the pans. I cried a little over the mess I'd have to clean up later, but I decided to let them continue cooking.

Ten minutes later, I opened the door again. One cake had completely emptied itself into the bottom of the oven while the other was in the process of following. Squealing in panic, I grabbed some oven mitts and wore them while wringing my hands, staring inside the oven door. I finally decided that this was wrong. Something was wrong, and I had to put a stop to it. Awkwardly, I pulled them out with their gooey, chocolatey mess dripping all around me. I cursed the recipe I'd used, because I could swear I followed it right to the letter.

When I looked at it again and went through the list of ingredients. I saw my problem. I forgot to add the flour.

They'd included it in the ingredients list but failed to have a step in the process of when to add it to the batter. In my excitement of following the directions, I didn't use my brain and think to check the ingredients, too.

So my big plan to have everything done by about 2 -- to allow for ice cream cake freezing time and cooking the components to the lasagna and assembling before IH got home -- was completely shot. It took an hour to clean up the sticky, chocolatey mess from inside the oven, and then I had to go back to the grocery store for more eggs in order to make the cake again.

My second attempt was more successful. This time I remembered to add flour.

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