So I had to make this cake for my secret interwebs baking club, the Cake Slice Bakers. Remember last month? This month was more traditional cake-y, rather than coffee cake-y, which was a nice change up.
Except that I am apparently completely inept.
I take that back. The cake turned out just fine. The frosting turned out just fine. Apparently struggle mode didn’t start until I had to put the two together.
Let me back up. I had big plans for this cake. I was going to bake it two weeks ago, when I had a free weekend, and then I…didn’t. I’m not exactly sure why. I may have gotten distracted by lolling about. Or a shiny object. Hard to say. But it worked out for the best because I ended up making it last Sunday to bring to a Family dinner at Scalzo’s new place up in Baltimore.
Now. Full disclosure: I’m not the hugest cake fan. I like it okay, but I like it in small doses. Sometimes I get a craving for cake, but those cravings are not all that frequent. But! I dished this out to people who do really like cake, and they seemed to enjoy it. Maybe they were lying. Hard to say. But plates don’t lie, and plates were empty, so I’ll take that as a good sign.
Anyway, I stumbled out of bed on Sunday morning and started banging around in the kitchen, making the burnt sugar syrup – which I thought would be utterly trying and likely result in something exploding in my kitchen and me living out the years there with hardened caramel stuck to the walls and ceiling, but actually it was quite simple and painless – and getting the other ingredients together to make the cake.
Except I was out of milk.
And the recipe calls for milk.
And I was all, “MOTHER. FUCKER.” Because it was Sunday morning and I’d been having a perfectly good morning until that point, and was very annoyed with myself. And lack of dairy products, apparently. (I really can’t be held responsible for the reasons I yell this word. It happens so often I’ve given up hope of reigning it in.)
So I left.
I left the burnt sugar syrup to cool on the stove. I left the butter on the counter. I left the dry ingredients sitting in a bowl.
And went and got a car wash.
It was on my list of things to do that day. Did you not read the part about me going up to Baltimore? Which means driving other people in my car? Which means maybe I should get rid of the “Oh, haiii! I iz transporting goggies on teh Saturzdayz to run in icky weather and nowz my car iz smelly!” perfume that wafted about. Mmm…wet dog.
It needed to be done. And I obviously had to go to the store anyway, so while I was out….
ANYWAY, back to the cake. The missing milk turned out to be the least of my problems. Wait, problems is too harsh of a word. Because really, I had no problems making the cake, save for the detour I took in the middle of the process. I did cook the two rounds longer than the suggested 20 to 25 minutes (I think I ended up at about 30-35 minutes), because they were still a bit jiggly in the middle. But they came out smoothly from their pans, and holy pants did they make the shoebox apartment smell delicious. I may have seriously considered licking the walls.
Once cooled, I whipped up the frosting and set about putting the cake together.
Which is where the problems started.
And then continued.
Until I thanked my lucky stars that The Girls really could give a hoot what something looks like as long as it looks semi-edible but tastes incredible.
I slathered some of the frosting on one layer of the cake (which was face down), and then carefully put the other layer on top of it, also facedown, per the instructions. And then tried to frost all over. Which didn’t work because, oh, hey! There’s a huge motherfucking gap between the layers! And the frosting will not cover the gaps! And the cake looks atrocious! Good times!
I then did what anyone in their right minds would do. (Right? RIGHT?!) I stood and stared at the cake for awhile. Then stared at the frosting I had left over, both in the bowl and glooping at the edges of the cake. (Probably should have added more powdered sugar, that. Eh.) Then stared at the cake some more. Then decided, you know what? I’m just going to flip that layer over, so the layers are butt-to-butt. (Cakes have butts? What?) (Oh whatever. Don’t act like you don’t totally know what I’m talking about.)
So I gingerly peeled off the top layer of cake and quickly yet gently flipped it over. Ta-DAAAA! No gaps, easier to frost. And thankfully, since the cake is so dense itself, the top layer did not break in half. Hurrah! I went about happily frosting the cake – and still had plenty of frosting left over, BTW. Damn that recipe makes a lot of frosting.
Now, I’m not sure when this next thing happened. Whether it was while I was wrapping up the cake for travel or while I was actually frosting it, I can’t say. But I can tell you that I ended up not with a lovely, stacked cake, but a leaning tower of burnt sugar cake. The goddamned thing shifted on me. And not just slightly, but like, a goodly amount. See?
Pay no attention to the sloppy frosting!
I said don’t look!
It tasted good at least. I think it might be better as cupcakes, actually. I’ll have to try that next time.
But in the meantime, my friends, Burnt Sugar Cake.
I’ll bake it if you promise to frost it.
And cut it.
3 out of 5 stars from This Girl.
Next month! It’s…shhhhh! It’s a surprise! You’ll have to wait until December 20th to find out. Unless you live in the DC area, in which case don’t be alarmed if I come a-calling, trying to pawn off a half-eaten cake on you.