Everyone has baking stories. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Undoubtably, if you bake, you’re going to experience wins and losses. For me, when something turns out great I love to share the recipe, tastes of it, and hear feedback. When it turns out bad, well frankly, I don’t like to talk about it. I don’t want to be reminded of my in-competencies, the time I wasted making it, and most of all, the wasted ingredients. But this story has to be told.
It all sounded so easy. There was a simple request made for a marble cake. No problem. I’ve made a lot of cakes over the years and it couldn’t get any easier, it wasn’t like I was being asked to make a cake for TLC’s tv series Cake Boss.
I probably should have heeded the first sign of trouble when it presented itself. It came when I had a hard time finding a recipe that suited my tastes for a marble cake. All of the marble cake recipes I found called for orange extract, or flavors that I don’t associate with a simple yellow/chocolate marble cake. To make things easy on myself I decided to make a yellow cake and marble it. All went well until I was passing the cake pans into the oven and it dawned on me that I had left out the baking powder.
Okay, a couple of curse words might have escaped me at that moment. I was left with two choices, throw the cake batter out and start over, or pour the batter back into the mixing bowl, add the baking powder, and serve a light-colored chocolate cake along with an explanation. Needless to say I opted for the later choice.
The second warning presented itself after I took the cakes out of the oven. Baking powder dots speckled the tops of very thin cakes. What in the world? I was slightly worried the cake might taste bitter because the baking powder appeared on top but I ignored that nagging feeling I had. Never ignore nagging feelings…
A persistent person by genetics, or nature, I was convinced I could turn this disaster around. My next plan of attack, mix up another batter of marble cake and use it as one large middle layer. I could triumph – I was sure. The cake would have a light chocolate layer on the top and bottom with a marble layer in the middle. Brilliant!
And yet, another warning… By now you’re probably asking yourself what’s wrong with this girl… As the middle layer of the cake was cooling I found a recipe for a soft chocolate frosting. It tasted delicious but didn’t make nearly enough for two layers, let alone three. Worse, it wasn’t a soft fluffy frosting like I had wanted, it was more like a ganache without cream. As you can probably imagine I was a little more than frustrated. Still trying to convince myself things would be okay I shifted the middle layer into position and as I did the top of the cake stuck to my fingers – a good time to taste I thought. Disaster! ! The cake tasted like baking powder. It was bitter just as I had suspected. There was no way I could serve this, and without further thought I picked up all three layers and delivered them to their final resting place - the trash!
Other than a batch or two of burnt cookies I’ve never had to resort to (the trash) before . There was no question I was cursed. After all I had been through with this dreaded cake one important fact remained - I still had to have a cake for a planned celebration. This time I resorted to what I knew. I dug out a chocolate cake recipe I’ve made a half-dozen times and I found a great recipe for an irresistable cream cheese peanut butter icing. I’m sure you will be relieved to hear (after all this) the chocolate cake turned out heavenly, and was a huge success. Now, here’s the kicker, while I was trying to write this post about the curse of the marble cake my laptop went down. How strange is that!