I Suck at Cakes
Vanessa, from Suburban Mama Goddess, posted before Christmas that she baked an ugly cake. I felt her pain.
I was ten the first time I made a cake all by myself. It was from a box, but I still took it very seriously. While it was in the oven, I didn’t go outside and play with my brothers. I sat on a chair in the service porch and read my book.
When it was done, I took it out and turned it upside down on a rack to cool. There was a nice breeze coming through the back door, so I set the cake on the chair to cool faster.
Then I set the timer for 30 minutes, grabbed my book and sat down on the chair to read.
Girlfriend, yes I did sit on my cake.
Ten years later, I was home for winter break from college, and my mom asked me to bake a cake for my grandfather’s birthday. I got all fancy and tried to make two layers. I had no Food Network to tell me to even the layers before I tried to frost them. It was crazy lopsided. I honestly thought that a good thick buttercream frosting would make it look even. But I used margarine, and the frosting broke and slid all over the top of the cake. Then I left it in a spot on the counter that takes afternoon sun, so when I came back, the frosting had melted down the cake, over the plate and onto the counter.
In desperation, I dug through the baking cupboard and in the way back found a shelf-stable tube of green frosting that had only expired the month before. I tried making green roses on the pink cake.
When my grandfather saw it, he wanted to know who let the green owl in the house.
A few years later, I decided to make an egg nog cheesecake for Christmas dinner. I will admit to not being 100% sober when I made it, so I was pleasantly surprised when it came out of the oven with nary a crack. I stenciled some stars on the top with grated nutmeg and carried it off to my parent’s home.
After dinner, I carried my cheesecake proudly to the table. I cut my brother a slice and passed it down. He took a bite and chewed. Then he started laughing.
Which of course made my other brother dive for the cheesecake with a folk and scoop a big bite into his mouth.
Then they both were laughing. By the time my dad took a bite, my first brother had spit it out: “It tastes like playdough!”
In fact, it did. I was mortified. “What happened?!” I wailed. My aunt asked me about the recipe. I didn’t remember it exactly, because Coors Light, but when I got to “three cups of flour” she stopped me. “Three cups???” she asked. “Are you sure?”
When I got home, I double-checked. Turns out, Coors Light and I misread 3 tablespoons as 3 cups and never looked back.
Every now and then I try again. For Father’s Day a few years back, I tried to make a scratch lemon cake in a sunflower cake mold for Shea. When I turned it over to pop it out, only the petals came. The center of the flower stayed in the pan. You better believe I cobbled that thing together, frosted it and served it up, gaping hole in the middle and all.
And for this past Valentine’s Day, I decided to bake a Paula Deen coconut lime cake for the family.
It was a three layer cake, but I only have two cake pans, and had to pick the kids up from school. So I tried to remove one of the cakes way too early to bake the third one, and this happened:
Shea came home and saved it, thank goodness. It tasted amazing:
I can bake a cookie that will make your heart melt. I perfected that egg nog cheesecake, and cheesecakes in general—you should try my key lime cheesecake. Pumpkin pie. Pecan pie. Gingerbread. Nutmeg sugar cookies. Last Christmas I made a chocolate cinnamon loaf with a whole dang pear in the middle:
But I suck at cakes.
Well. Somebody has to.