I have been baking for years. Not on a professional level, just for fun, and usually to satisfy a specific craving I’m having. I am a huge fan of cookbooks and recipes. I love them… Old or new, they inspire me. I turn each page, or flip through the recipe card holder with enthusiasm. If the recipe happens to have a photo that’s even better. I wait for that one recipe to stand out and yell pick me, pick me. Eventually it happens. The recipe appears, capturing my full and undivided attention. Until…
Somewhere between finding that inspiring recipe, the one that stood out against all others, double checking to see if I have all the ingredients, and getting out the mixing bowl and measuring cups, something happens to me. It’s hard to explain but I lose all sense of reason. I get the urge to experiment, be a non-conformist, fall off the recipe trail so to speak, show my individuality and follow my sense of adventure.
Is it just me??
The other day I was looking through some recipes that were given to me. I was excited to try a new one out. My mind was fixed on something chocolate after seeing an array of sinful chocolate desserts ( like the Tower of Chocolate) at a local restaurant.
After careful deliberation I picked a recipe for Devil’s Food Cake. The recipe was fairly simple, perhaps too simple. I decided to substitute all-purpose flour in place of the cake flour the recipe called for since I didn’t have any on hand. I also decided to use canola oil in place of the shortening the recipe called for. When the batter appeared a little to light in color I also opted to add a tablespoon of brewed coffee for effect and personalization. What harm could this do?
The cake didn’t turn out bad (considering it’s already gone) but I think there is room for improvement. The frosting was its saving grace.
Feeling a bit disappointed in how the cake turned out I did a little research. My research reminded me that baking is a science of sorts. Measurements are important, as are specific ingredients, heat, or the lack there of. This research led me to the conclusion that when I make this “Devil” again, I will use the recommended cake flour since it has a lighter consistency. I will also use the shortening because it is also lighter and doesn’t weigh the flour down like oil can when beating the batter . For the tablespoon of coffee, I don’t think that had any bearing one way or another so if I have some I will probably use it.
I don’t believe that all recipes are accurate, or have been tested. I think many are one persons perception of what they believe is good food. Many are created by someone just like me – falling off the recipe trail. Recipes will always continue to inspire me and I’m sure I will continue to be adventurous when I’m baking but when I do I’ll keep this in the back of my mind. Changing a recipe it is “like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.”