Monday, June 13, 2011

The Trials and Tribulations of Cake Making

We had company for dinner tonight and for some reason, I picked a menu that probably sounds more appropriate for a cold winter's evening.

We had meat loaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, buttered beets and a fruit salad. The potatoes and beets are still from last year's garden. It's remarkable how good they still look and taste. They won't last for a two year's supply (isn't that what we're all shooting for?) but we're getting close to a full year out of them.

What was for dessert? Well, the fella is a chocolate lover of the utmost kind so I had to do something chocolate for him.

I've said before I'm not a good cake baker. Never have been and probably never will be.

So using my typically poor judgement, I decided on chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. A recipe I've had since, I think, the 1980s. Layer cakes, especially, are not my thing. Pour the batter in a 9" x 13" pan and I'm good to go. But . . . my 9" x 13" pan is currently being used for the grain we're still grinding for our chicks.

Okay, okay, I'll bake the cake in two round layer pans.

I've been a cooker, homemaker and baker for nearly 48 years now and I'll bet I haven't made six layer cakes in that whole time. Does the above picture give you an inkling of the reason why?

Yup, that's about a third of one layer clinging tenaciously to the bottom of the pan after I tried to remove it. Fortunately, I was able to use a wide spatula to scrape it out of the pan and flip it onto the rest of the cake without losing the whole thing onto the floor or some other such tragedy.

It's really remarkable the multitude of sins lots of frosting can cover up.

Fortunately, (and I'm not sure how this came to pass) it tasted pretty yummy. Maybe I should do layer cakes more often. Or not.

19 comments:

Ruth @ Hope, Joy and Faith Farm said...

Ship me a piece, please... That looks so good. I have not made a cake from scratch for a very long time. I manage to stick "store-bought" mixes to the pans like that too. And my frosting always manages to show all the crumbs. Anyhow, it's now 8:45 pm and I am craving chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream.

Sparkless said...

I've made a ton of birthday cakes like that and the only way I can get them out of the pan is to cut out a circle of parchment paper and put it in the bottom of the pan. It's so easy to just peal off the paper after it pops right out of the pan.

Now I'm craving chocolate cake too!

And my word verification word is "flabbl". Do you think someone is trying to tall me something?

Practical Parsimony said...

I put a circle of waxed paper in the bottom, ALWAYS, or I may get the same results. If you had dumped the broken cake in a bowl and drizzled, slopped, or spooned chocolate icing over it, I would never complain a word about the form. It would just be artistic to me. I am now going to eat chocolate brownies, made one bowl at a time in the microwave.

Jane said...

You would never know to look at the finished product, what happened. Looks yummy. And I do not think that desserts are things that you should worry about presentation. They taste good even if you drop in on the floor, scoop it up, and plop in on a plate. Not that anyone would do THAT.

Jennifer Jo said...

I'd take a piece of that!

(Do you line your pan with wax paper? That's my standard trick for keeping my cakes from falling apart...)

Erin said...

I have cake troubles too :)

Yours looks delicious, chocolate with chocolate is always a hit! And I think a good old all-American meatloaf is yummy any time of year!

Dr. Momi said...

The end looks good to me!! I think I've given up on layer cakes here too. The same thing happens to me. :-)

thimblevee said...

I'm right there with you, MP. I love, love, love to cook, but a baker I am not and do not aspire to be. At least your cake layers were fluffy and light....I'm not sure I have ever baked a cake that did not "fall" or fail to rise or some other such issue. I'll be it still tasted yummy - mine usually taste great in spite of their tacky appearance!

judy said...

OK now ,you are posting so fast ,I didn't even comment on that last post-it sounded LIKE A GOOD POST TO COMMENT ON TOO- I HARDLY EVER REALLY HAVE MUCH IN COMMON WITH HONESTEADERS BUT I LOVE READING THEM. I EVAN WATCHED A REAL LIVE BIRTH OF A BULL ON ANTLER FARM BLOG.---THAT CAKE REMINDS ME OF A TIME WNEN I WAS A YOUNGSTER -I MADE A MARBLE CAKE,AND MY TWIN BROTHERS PUT REAL MARBLES IN THE MIX AFTER I PUT IT IN THE OVEN---OUCH!

Akannie said...

It doesn't really matter how ANYTHING chocolate turns out, does it? It's yummy, even if it's cake you have to eat with a spoon. lol

Mama Pea said...

Ruth - Our cake last night was indeed served with a plop of vanilla ice cream! Mmmm-good.

Just slid a piece for you in an envelope. ;o}

Sparkless - Told ya I knew beans about cake baking. A circle of parchment paper I'll bet would be just the ticket. Will do!

"Flabbl?" Nah. Chocolate cake has no calories in it. ;o}

Mama Pea said...

Practical Parsimony - Welcome and thanks for commenting! Well, sure, I'll bet good ol' waxed paper would work the same way as parchment paper. Thanks for the tip.

Jane - Yeah, but a hot blueberry pie right out of the oven that lands upside down on the floor is REALLY hard to resurrect without people being suspicious of what it was supposed to be. Not that I would know anything about THAT.

JJ - Go it: parchment paper or waxed paper. I may learn to be a cake baker yet. Or not.

Erin - You and my husband. He'd eat meat loaf every meal and be happy.

Dr. Momi - Do you know the paper on the bottom trick?

Mama Pea said...

thimblevee- We should both listen to Jane. Folks should be glad to get a yummy dessert no matter the presentation!

judy - Marbles in a marble cake. Sounds totally like something a brother would do!

Akannie - If you're a chocolate lover, your assessment of the situation would be right!

Dmarie said...

oh, yeah, no matter how the cake comes out of the pan, the frosting hides it all. yum!

Mama Pea said...

Dmarie - I say hooray for frosting that hides it all!

The Apple Pie Gal said...

:) Oh this makes me love you more! I am not good with the baking either and would have done exactly what you did! This just makes you 'real'

Mama Pea said...

APG - Oh, Sweetie, you don't realize how "real" I am! I just wrote a post that was so whiny, so nuthin' is going right, so poor me that I decided not to post it!!

MaineCelt said...

The standard birthday cake in my household, growing up, was the "Hershey's Fudge Cake" recipe (yes, the recipe was taken right off a box of Hershey's cocoa powder. I usually eschew brand names, but it's still an Ol' Reliable). We used to have a pair of round cake pans with a little built-in blade that pivoted around the pan and cut the cake loose. They worked a treat and I've never been able to find any since that were so well-made.

Now I use parchment paper. If you leave it in a square instead of trimming, then simply pleat it to fit in the pan, leaving the four corners sticking up a bit. You can then use them as handles to easily lift the cake out when it's time to set it on a rack for cooling.

(I'm writing this wistfully. Just went completely gluten-free a week ago, and haven't the time to experiment with gluten-free baking just yet. Guar gum and all the other funny stuff intimidates the heck out of me.)

Mama Pea said...

MaineCelt - Now that you mention it, my mom used to have a set of pans like that! With the blade that revolved and loosened the bottom of the cake. Wonder what ever happened to those pans??

Totally gluten-free? Wow. What a challenge. BUT if it makes you feel better, it's worth it. At least now they have all sorts of gluten-free products out on the market. Sending you good luck on this new "adventure."