Saturday, July 09, 2011

In Which I Bake Half a Cake

In March I made a beautiful cake for Mr. Graham's birthday. See?Beautiful. I was so proud of myself and this, my first frosted cake, made entirely from scratch. Encouraged by my handiwork, I continued in my quest to make cakes, all of which would surely be as beautiful as the first. Clearly I had a gift. Well, we know what became of my second cake.Trifled! The third cake, Red Velvet Round 2, turned out much better. I felt bolstered again and waited for an excuse to make this strawberry cake. Not too difficult, right? Half of it comes from a box after all. Today came a suitable cake occasion, and I rubbed my hands gleefully. Look at these perfect cakes all ready for the (new) oven!Out they came, still looking like perfection. Maybe I was feeling a little cocky at this point, but it seemed kind of justified because they were so pretty and pink. Well, this was before I took them out of their pans, leaving a 1/3 of them behind. No, I did not take a picture of this stage. Instead I crept into the corner while Mr. Graham did his best to slice the remains from the pan and work them back onto the cakes. This was a feat since the cakes were ever so delicate and threatened to fall apart with the least bit of handling.

Now, let's just skip over the part where I threw myself onto the bed in despair and maybe cried over my wretchedly deformed cakes. Mr. Graham patted me on the head, told me the cake was lovely and played some Lego Pirates of the Caribbean with me to put me back in good humor.

SO, once the weeping and wailing was done, we set to work on the cake. With the frosting all ready to go, it seemed like an attempt ought to be made to salvage the poor thing. What is frosting for but to cover up the cake and all its frailties, right? We delicately maneuvered one layer onto the cake stand and frosted it without difficulty. Hope returned! We next performed the tricky operation of flipping the second layer on top. As it turns out, it was a too tricky to actually work and some ominous cracks were formed in the process. Resisting the urge to bang my head on the table, I set to work covering up the whole disaster with delicious frosting.

Success was shortlived, as the frosting worked its way into those ominous crevices and whole chunks finally went tumbling right off the cake, like some kind of delectable strawberry avalanche. At this point, the whole thing was becoming more and more ridiculous, too ridiculous to cry over and too ridiculous to not laugh at. We considered taking a few slices to our little dinner party, but somehow settled on this solution:
Yes, we took half a cake to dinner. It felt a little like giving someone a half-eaten lasagna.

You might think that was the end of the poor cake's trouble, but you would be wrong! The combination of our warm apartment and too little powdered sugar made the frosting just a teensy bit soupy. It would look all right for a moment, but the frosting would inevitably begin to ooze and seep downwards. In fact, it looked very much like someone left the cake out in the rain.

The cake was so sad I even came up with a song to describe it. It's a pretty simple song. In fact, to borrow a phrase, there is very little lyrical content--just "Puddle-y cake" repeated over and over to the tune of Jigglypuff's song.

Well, in the end we all ate the cake, and although it splinted into its many pieces when sliced and half the frosting had puddled onto the cake stand, it was eaten up. After all, there was nothing wrong with the taste.

And what became of that other half of cake?
It's a new dessert. I like to call it "Bits o' Cake."


  1. Aww, poor you!! I did love the bit about the cake being left in the rain and I feel your pain at making things for other people that don't turn out right! In fact, just last night I over baked some of my cookies for the missionaries.... they ate them anyway. Marissa also loved the pictures of your cakes and she wanted to eat each one!

  2. Oh Julie, I know the pain. I remember making cakes that crumbled, and feeling like I wanted to just die. I have learned a thing or two in the last several years that have helped prevent that from happening...most of the time (my mommy brain does get the better of me now and then). If you have any questions, or need any reliable recipes, you know who to call, though I am sure you are well on your way to master cake-making on your own. You could always just stick to your mom's pudding cake (is that what it's called?). It's sure to please ANY crowd.

  3. It's true, you are such a dedicated (and sometimes ambitious) cake maker, and yes, they are ALWAYS delicious, even if they don't exactly look *quite* how you hoped they would. I will always eat your delectable avalanches! And if Marissa comes to visit she can eat them too!

    I keep wondering what would have happened if we had switched the two layers... Maybe the bottom one was stronger and would have held up better on top. Oh well! I'm glad it turned out to be something we could laugh about and eat anyway, and I can't wait to eat the Bits o' Cake! p: (Does that emoticon work? I can't tell in this font.)

    And yes, that birthday cake was EPIC. And oh my, McArthur Park...

  4. Baking is a tricksy form of modern alchemy. Despite what English idiom might suggest, "a piece of cake" is anything but.

    In fact, we might better adopt the opposite phrase from the video game Portal: "THE CAKE IS A LIE."

    Glad to hear it tasted good, though!