Wednesday, October 27, 2010
A halfway mistake
I am writing this post to show you all just how human I am.
Have you ever made a halfway mistake?
Let me explain what this entails. A halfway mistake takes place when a task or a project is done thoroughly, precisely and thoughtfully...until the last second.
Like when I decided at the end of my hair appointment that I wanted bangs. Or that time I thought it would be a good idea to foul out of the CIF championship game after a record-breaking season.
My coach told me how mad he was about in an interview that landed on the front page of the OC Register. He referred to me as "the beef." Not a good day.
Last night was not good, either.
After my last post about the pumpkin cake, I got inspired. I thought, "I can make that cake! I will spend money at the store and dedicate my entire evening to making a cake that I will not eat."
It's the cubicle. When you're sitting in what may as well be a closet all day, you tend to get anxious and over-aim.
I've also learned that while I am a good baker, I'm a better cook. I struggle with pastries. I've discovered that I need to treat baking like I treat buying a pair of shoes: if I really want to make it, I need to wait a few days, and if I still really want to, then I can.
Impulse baking births bad results.
So bear with me as I lead you down my path of food coloring, crumbling cakes and homemade frosting. And learn from my mistake.
What you'll need:
So I did it.
When Betty Crocker speaks, I listen.
Now remember, we are going to make 2 bundt cakes. This is just one of them; however, you will be making one solo chocolate cupcake from this mix.
So I threw them both in the oven (keep an eye out for the cupcake as it only cooks about 15 minutes) and started on my frosting.
Let's start with the orange glaze.
That's it for the glaze, so set it aside and let's move on to the vanilla frosting.
Now, as much of a failure as the end result of this cake was, this butter vanilla frosting was worth every second of those 3 hours.
Yes, 3 hours. This was a big task.
Now, it's not pictured because my photographer (aka my husband) started taking pictures of himself, but add green food coloring to this, mix and refrigerate.
This is where my trouble all began. My first cake was ready. I was anxious, excited, and unexpecting...I wasn't sure what was going to be under that hot bundt pan. Would it be a beautiful cake? Maybe a total mess?
That was where it truly did go wrong.
And then I made a bad decision.
So just to make sure we're clear, this picture you're looking at...the technique was huge mistake. The beauty of the pumpkin cake is that the bundt pan creates curves and crevices on the sides of the cake, which make it look like a pumpkin.
I messed up.
At this point, your second cake should be in the oven cooking.
Fast forward about 45 minutes.
My second cake was ready, and I was excited. Until I realized that my second cake didn't have the halo tumor and had turned out perfectly. That meant that my top half of the cake was wider than the bottom half (the one pictured).
That means I had one bad foundation, people.
I frosted the top half with the rest of my chocolate frosting and placed it on top of the bottom half. I then poured the orange glaze evening on top of the cake tower pumpkin thingy, stuck the chocolate cupcake (sans the paper thingy) in the middle hole and topped it with green frosting.
I did my best. I truly did. I wanted it to recover, but it was just too far gone.
Who am I kidding. I'm going to take it to Amber at work. She'll eat it.
So here's the lesson: this is a totally doable cake. It's just important to not cut the sides of the cake. If it comes out a little morphed, shave off the top of the bundt cake, not the sides.
Oh, well. There's always next year.
Good luck to all you who plan on conquering this.