I’ve had several cake disasters. But the worst, most horrific, and absolutely mortifying cake disaster happened when I made a four-layer red velvet wedding cake for my friends, Brock and Kristina. A WEDDING CAKE. DISASTER.
I was too ambitious. I was too cocky. I had made three other very successful wedding cakes prior. Instead of starting the cake days in advance, I started the four-tier red velvet wedding cake the night before the wedding. I had the idea that their cake should be as fresh as possible, but, as it turned out, this was beyond foolish.
Because I started the cake the night before, had to make 16 cakes total, and only had one small gas oven, I ended up having to stay up all night baking.
At midnight I realized there was a gas leak and the carbon monoxide alarm kept going off. I opened the windows and front door and plowed on.
At three in the morning, I realized that I had accidentally substituted the baking soda for the baking powder for three of the cakes. This meant I had to remake these cakes. This incident caused me to throw one of the baked cakes onto the floor and yell (PG edition), “Fudge this shoot!” Throwing a cake on the floor and swearing is very cathartic. I cry-laughed my way through cleaning it up, eating chunks of cake off the floor.
I was a wreck. I’m not sure why, but I took a picture of myself at my lowest point (below). I think I look a little bit like Eleven from Stranger Things here. Which makes sense, because I was in such a state that I probably could have flipped over a van with my mind.
Miraculously, by sunrise, I had finished all 16 homemade red velvet cakes. They crowded our 500 square foot apartment.
Things were looking up! I could do this! I would do this! The cake would turn out fabulous and fresh and moist and wonderful!
I focused and frosted and, lo and behold, I finished everything right on time. I loaded the car and was ready to go.
I assembled the cake at the wedding location. I noticed it had a slight Leaning Tower of Pisa look. Oh, well, I thought. I mean, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is still standing, right?
Incidentally, I had another wedding to go to that day, so I left the cake in the refrigerator and went on the the other wedding. Little did I know what would happen…
The cake collapsed into itself. It said, goodbye sweet world, I’m going to become a cake black hole. I’m going to a place where no one will swear at me in the middle of the night or throw me on the floor.
Weeks after the wedding, a dear friend of mine finally had the guts to tell me what happened. I guess the wedding caterers were able to still serve the guests slices of cake. Or chunks of cake. Or something like that. But Brock and Kristina are still married and have a super sweet little boy, so maybe I didn’t completely ruin their wedding?
It’s been a while since I had a cake disaster. Or even a cake mishap.
But I somewhat thwarted a cake disaster last weekend.
Aaron’s brother, Andy, his wife, Cat, and a friend, Bre, were coming to visit us in Oxford.
Cat LOVES turmeric. And she has loved it for a long time – before it was cool.
I recently checked out a great baking cookbook from the library, Little Flower Baking. It’s a really lovely cookbook, and in it I found a recipe for a turmeric orange cake. I must make this for Cat, I thought.
You actually use blend two whole oranges, including the pith and peel, into a mush and add it to the cake.
The cake is also gluten free, and uses almond flour and corn meal rather than wheat flour. This turned out to be a lovely combination.
When I put the batter in the cake pan, I noticed that the batter filled the pan to the brim. Normally, I would think that this was a big problem, but since it was a gluten free cake, I just thought that it might be denser and not rise as much as other cakes that I was used to making.
So here’s where the mishap happened. About 7 minutes in to baking, I noticed smoke coming from the kitchen. The oven was smoking because the cake batter was bubbling over the sides of the pan and burning up on the floor of the oven.
And here’s where the heroism comes in. I took the cake out of the oven, quickly got out a muffin pan, and started scooping gobs of (partially baked) batter from the center of the cake and made six cupcakes. Then the cake and cupcakes were sent back in the oven and baked to perfection!
The cake itself was not pretty after I released it from the pan. Unless you think Jabba the Hutt is pretty.
So I made an orange cream cheese icing and decorated it with turmeric-tinted frosting.
I’m not much for gluten free baking, but this was an incredibly delicious cake. And so yellow and scrumptious from the turmeric-orange blend.
Quick Ansel update: He will be eleven months on Monday! That’s one month shy of a year!
Soon he’ll be walking and talking. And maybe helping me in the kitchen? Looking forward to the disasters that we will bake together.