Sometimes I need a filter between my brain and my mouth.
This is not the way to get one.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Friday Fluff: Cake, Candles and Overall Success

So I promised you all a proper walk through the cake business for the Toddler's 2nd birthday. Well, at the very least the tale of the trial cake/day care cake.

And as promised, the whole sorry tale is laid out before you...

This is the time of night on a Tuesday that I decided to create my cake. Yes, 10pm the night before I need it to be done. Organisation fail.

This is the cake tin I chose. I chose to do a giant cupcake...and I chose to buy 2 tins. Because when I've finished baking with them I can use them to dress as Madonna and strut around to 'Vogue'.

Cupcake, anyone?
Oh yeah, I'm all class, baby.

Ah, the recipe. A standard vanilla sponge recipe - it looks so simple and fool proof. But they haven't met me.

This is the newest member of our family. She is red and fabulous. Her name is Poppy and she does all the hard work. I love her.

Oh yeah - I'm powering along and the baking process seems close. At this point I'm feeling confident and fabulous and I'll have this in the bag by midnight.

Notice my attractive spatula in matching red? And my nails in coordinating watermelon pink?

Yep - I was on fire that night. I had it all under control.

It came time to fill the pan...and it was fair to say I had underestimated the amount of batter needed to complete this cupcake.

And so a secondary batch was quickly made up to complete the filling process. Once the tin is full it's shoved in the oven.

Cooking in the oven at a toasty 180 degrees.

And 45 minutes later it emerges from the oven as...


It's a miracle but I actually managed to produce a cake that even I could be proud of.

And it was here that the trouble started.

A taste test was required and the Guru readily volunteered his services as official birthday cake taster. He's a trooper.

The only problem was his expression wasn't what I was looking for. The expression on his face made me think of him eating my first attempt at lasagne. God knows he tried, but his stomach would have none of it.

And this was eerily similar.

So I dove in for a second opinion...and I chewed...and I chewed...and I discovered the problem.

It tasted like a fluffy, cake based, toilet duck:
And so the Guru asked me if I was sure I got the recipe right. I angrily replied that yes, I did in fact get it all right and there was absolutely nothing wrong with anything I put in there.

The Guru discreetly looks over the recipe in the book and compares the ingredients smothering the kitchen bench. I proceed to curse the cake gods. Loudly.

And then the Guru hit the 'ah huh' moment.

Much to my shame I had got something wrong. Very wrong. But in my defense, it was a simple misunderstanding.

I now fully understand that Baking Powder and Baking Soda are two entirely separate items and should NOT be substituted.

But I would like to point out to the Baking Soda people that putting 'baking' on a package and then have the contents not suitable for human consumption is a completely, terrible idea! I mean, there could be not so many, many other people out there who could make this mistake and not have a taste tester willing to risk his life in checking these things. Baking Soda people - consider yourselves notified.

Now, if MY box had said this, I might have thought twice about adding it to food... this stage it is about 1am and I am a sobbing puddle on the kitchen floor mumbling something into my hands about trying to poison innocent children.

The Guru pours me into bed and makes a shopping list. He is the only one who can save this project, and it's well and truly gone beyond the 11th hour.

At 6am on his daughter's second birthday the Guru rushes through Coles to get everything - including Baking POWDER.

By 6:45am I am working on getting my cake together. Again. Minus the inappropriate ingredient.

Thank all that is holy, it's a success and this time I even made enough batter for the tin in one go. It gets shoved in the oven and during this time I manage to get myself showered and dressed, and even the Toddler is organised.

The cake emerges from the oven some 45 minutes later and miracle of miracles it looks right. I sneek a taste...and it doesn't taste like death.

Excellent start.

Carving off the excess to make a smooth 'join' was the easy part...

Yet surprisingly the cake came out of the tin perfectly and it looked like I had finally achieved something. It's around this point, while I allowed the cake to cool before icing, that I sent my boss a text advising of the cake drama and ensuing cake mission of the morning and that I would be considerably late.

Her response?

'No worries. You should have used a packet cake!'

Sage advice...shame it was 12 hours too late.

And so I embark on the icing. And it's safe to say that (a) I had no plan and (b) I had no ideas. And the result of this blank canvas, also known as my brain/imagination is as follows...

I managed to get the cake and my child to day care in 1 piece and as soon as everything was settled and in it's place I made a run for the door.

And I made it to work by a respectable 10:30am.  Nice.

Throughout the day I kept my eye out for any emails from the Centre for Disease Control on strange poisonous cakes and small children falling ill in large groups. But there was nothing, and I was confident that when I went back to day care in the afternoon, everyone would still be alive.

And happily, they were! And there was even left over cake which I was willing to donate to the carers, but which my child insisted had to come home.

Fair enough - she obviously knew my fragile state in regard to baking and thought that if she takes some cake home it'll be enough to keep her going until I've worked up the courage to face baking again.

Clever girl.

We make it home and I decide that candles are in order...and so we light up the top of her giant cupcake and celebrate her second year on this earth.

This is the child of a parent who will never look at Baking Soda the same, again.

YAY! Candles!!


What do you mean they don't light up again!?

And I should say right here that I have a renewed sense of awe and gratitude for the Guru. Anyone who is prepared to rush around a supermarket at a stupid hour of the morning to save his daughter's birthday and his wife's fragile cooking ego is one hell of a man.

And I'm so glad he's ours.

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