Saturday, October 1, 2011

Baking under the influence of TV = not a good idea

Sorry to say this, but this will be another entry centered around cake. 

Today was my big chocolate cake baking day, and I prepared for it well.  I read the recipe ahead of time, prepared my mise en place by setting out my ingredients, preheated my oven.  Everything was SET.

The preparation/mixing stage went smoothly - I even watched Food Network while doing it.  Looking back, this may have been my downfall.

You see, I realized shortly after I placed the cake in the oven that I had used THREE eggs when I should have used TWO.  At this point, I frantically turned to the Internet in search of advice or information as to how this mishap would affect the final product.  Nothing that I found sounded too dire, so I continued. 

Then came the Seven Minute Icing.  Like a fool, I neglected the author's note that this was not the same animal as the Seven Minute Frosting, listed elsewhere in the book.  This is why it is always important to pay attention to directions, kids.

The difference between icing and frosting, as I see it, is that icing is much more liquid-like and more concentrated.  Frosting is lighter, fluffier.  More of what I am used to. 

But no matter, I made the icing as directed. 

The final problem to overcome came in the form of the layer filling.  As I had been assuming that I would be working with frosting, I had not considered this.  The icing recipe was clearly not plentiful enough to cover a double layer cake. 

At this point, I have my mother to thank for the improvisation.  We searched the cupboards for possible solutions; anything that was sweet and substantial could work.  Cool Whip, cream cheese, whipped cream, anything.  But we had none.  All that we could find was a jar of marshmallow fluff.  As I am somewhat unaccustomed to this substance, I allowed my mother to step in and experiment.

In the end, we were able to get it to a consistency that worked as a filler for the layers.  True, it is not thick, nor is it terribly fluffy (contrary to its name), but it should taste just fine. 

Then came the icing conundrum.  I could have carefully spread the icing over the exterior of the entire cake and smoothed it all out nicely.  Instead, we opted for the "sloppy" look that is achieved by pouring the entire batch of icing over the center of the cake and allowing it to flow over the sides as is its wont. 

Here is the final effect:

Please note:  I am not a food photographer.  I know that the setting/lighting is all wrong, but you get what you pay for.  Honestly, I did have to fight the temptation to take the icing spatula and smooth out the sides to an even coating.  But I have resisted.  After all, it is a cake for friends, not for show, and the taste will be the same either way.  
I can only hope that the extra egg and improvised filling will not take too much away from the final evaluation.  I will let you know how it goes.

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