Saturday, March 6, 2010

Adventures in Baking

Yesterday, I decided to do something I hadn't done in a long while, but had been thinking about doing recently--I baked a layer cake. Oh, not just a boring, regular 2 layer cake. Oh, no. I baked no less than three layers! Problem was, I decided to do this at the last minute. Never a good idea.

The cake layers came out beautifully, and I set them on a rack to cool. Then I immediately started mixing up homemade chocolate frosting. The frosting was too thin, not sure why. I added more powdered sugar, and glanced at the clock. My dinner guests would arrive shortly, and I still had to finish this, and get pizza (homemade, of course) in the oven. So I hurried. Bad idea.

With a bowl of grainy, thin frosting in hand, I started frosting the warm cake. My daughter, Cat, wandered into the kitchen, stuck a finger into the frosting, and said, "Aren't you supposed to let that cool before you frost it?" "It's cool enough", I told her. I placed one warm layer on the cake platform, and started to gently dump frosting on it. This went smoothly. I glanced at the clock, grabbed the next layer, and placed it on top of the glistening frosting. Wait. Frosting isn't supposed to glisten. The second layer slid ever so slightly to the left. Oh, no. I smooshed it back on top, and glancing at the clock again, dumped frosting on top.

Again, the frosting seemed to slid right onto the warm layer. I snatched up the final layer, edged the listing second layer back on top, and placed the third and final layer on top. As I tried to gently frost this last, top-most layer, I had to continually push the layers back on right. They kept sliding off to the side. I hollered for Cat to come help. After reminding me about the 'should have waited til they were cool' so very helpfully, she helped try to smoosh the listing layers back on top, as I frantically frosted the sides, hoping this would somehow glue the layers together.

Our hands coated with glistening frosting, we watched in amazement as a small crack appeared in the topmost layer, right in the middle, slowly widening and lengthening... a chocolate San Andreas fault line. Our eyes met above the disintegrating cake. I grabbed the cake container lid, and slammed it home onto the cake base. Cat opened up the fridge, and I shoved it none-too-gently inside.

After several minutes trying to clean the frosting off of our hands, the counter, the fridge handle and the floor, I finally gathered the nerve to look. Opening the fridge with much trepidation, I peered within. The cake was still contained within the clear sided container, but the damage was complete. The top layer was now in four pieces, one stuck to the side of the cake container. The second layer had slid partly off the bottom. And the frosting had finally set.

Cat dumped some sprinkles on it, and we hacked off pieces. It tasted fairly good... but I have absolutely no urge to bake a cake again for quite some time.

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