Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Let Them Eat Cake!

Aren't these beautiful cakes from the weddings Sherry and Wendy attended recently. Each layer was a different layer on the two stacked cakes and the dogwood blossoms on the groom's cake in the middle photo were made of icing - completely edible (and very good, from what I understand).
I am totally in awe of folks who can make any kind of layer cake - not just these gorgeous ones. My cake making expertise is limited to bundt cakes and ones made in a 9" x 12" pan. I tried (key word here is "tried" ) to make a 2-layer cake with an applesauce type shmeer in the middle.
No frosting was the real attraction because I've never been able to spread frosting to spread without rolling crumbs and sometimes the whole top of the cake into it. I had watched Emeril make it on TV and it looked super easy. Just bake the cakes and make some sliced apple butter type stuff. I've made cooked apples many times and that part actually was easy.
The trouble started when I took the cakes out of the oven. Apparently, my oven didn't sit level so the layers were lopsided. No biggie. I'd seen my grandmother level out an uneven cake with a piece of dental floss (unwaxed and unflavored, of course). Off I went in search of the floss. I cut off a good long piece, pulled it string taut and carefully slide it into the cake.
My grandmother must have had some really sharp dental floss. All I succeeded in doing was making divots across the top. Once again, no biggie. The apple stuff was going to cover it anyway. I decided then to forgo smoothing out the other layer - I could use it on the top and the divot-y one on the bottom. So far, so good. I was making lemonade from this bunch of citrus fruit.
The apples smelled divine by now and were perfectly cooked. I let them cool just as Emeril said and went off to wrap presents and decorate for the birthday of my soon-to-be Taller Half who was going to receive this culinary masterpiece.
Later that afternoon I began assembling the parts of the creation. Onto the cake plate went the first layer - lumpy side up. Carefully I spooned the yummy apples on top. I let that sit for about 15 minutes to sort of set up. Now for the top layer. With a steady hand I set the layer cake squarely on top of the other one and began spoon the apples across it.
I'll never be sure what exactly went wrong. An earthquake or a gust of wind? Perhaps the barometric pressure suddenly plummted to previously unheard of number.
As I admired my handiwork, the top layer began slipping off to the side. Before you could say "Jack Sprat", the top layer landed half on the plate, half on the counter and broke into pieces. The apples on the top completed the tragic cake-icide by flinging themselves after it. Sitting alone on the cake plate, the forlorn bottom layer slowly cracked open like the San Andreas fault and shrugged the rest of the apples off its back.
At this point, the whole cake-baking endeavor self-destructed into the slamming of utensils and astoundingly creative profanity. I threw the whole sorry mess into the biggest mixing bowl I had, stuck a utility candle in the middle of it and with an guileless look, told everyone it was a really simple dump cake recipe that had been in the family for years.
Actually it really did taste great - just the presentation was off a bit. The Taller Half still speaks fondly of the first cake I ever made for him and each year requests ice cream and Chips Ahoy for his celebratory dessert. Ah, love.

No comments: