Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cake Calamities

My guy's birthday is coming up soon. So of course, I have to make him a cake. Which means I need to start testing recipes now. I mean, I'm great with cookies, but cakes...not so much. He deserves the best, and that's what I'm going to give him. With that said, I started this very day. Basic vanilla seemed, well, basic enough. Except it wasn't.

I started by following the recipe I found exactly. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add butter, then sugar. Then the eggs, one by one, and the vanilla and the milk. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Only, about 15 minutes in, I noticed the center was brown and bubbling while the outer edge was a creamy beige, and the top was rising like a soufflé. I moved the cake to a lower rack and left it to bake some more. Ten minutes later the center of the cake was a crater and the whole thing was so dark I was afraid it might burn. Out of the oven with it. As it cooled, the whole thing shrank and cracked, and finally fell apart as I tried to turn it out. Ok, so it didn't work, but I had plenty of flour left, and a few ideas. I'd just had to make some adjustments.

Round two, I separated the eggs and whipped the whites until fluffy. Followed the rest of recipe as closely as before, but this time, I folded in the egg whites at the end. The hope was the whites would make the cake less dense, a common problem with gluten free flours. Into the oven with the new cake. I checked on it at the 20 minute mark and it looked great, if a little liquid, but the recipe did call for a 30 minute cooking time. Five minutes later, the whole thing collapsed on itself and I had an even uglier cake than before. Except now I was out of butter and patience for the day.

Not the kind of cake I want to serve Michael, now or ever. Good thing I started practicing early. Baking cakes is not a piece of cake for this cookie queen.

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