Monday, July 23, 2012

A Tale of Three Cakes

I got the wildly bright idea that I'd use a plain, old box cake mix but I'd fix it up all fancy like. I found a recipe on the Internet that used pudding and milk instead of oil and water. I baked the cake and it looked delicious. There it sat, gorgeous and golden brown and sweet smelling, on the stove top.

Then I tried to take it out of the pan. And then it broke into a thousand tiny pieces of cake and I stood there, holding two of the chunks in my hand and lamenting my son's wasted cake. That was cake number one.

It should be noted that I'd hit my head really hard on the boys' bunk bed earlier in the afternoon. Just for your information, if I push on the spot, it still hurts. It's been four days, y'all. So I cracked my head and it may or may not have been affecting my ability to think straight. Because, you see, after I ruined the first cake, and after I'd realized that I only had banana pudding left and would either have to make banana flavored cake or use the traditional box recipe method, and after I called my mom to confirm that a banana cake did not sound particularly good, I suddenly started feeling woozy, lightheaded, and weird.

I grabbed another box of cake mix and started over. I added the eggs. I added the 2 cups of water. I added the 1 cup of oil. And if you think that sounds like way too much liquid, you'd be correct. Despite the fact that I was looking right at the directions, I managed to add almost two cups too many of liquid. I started stirring. It didn't take long for me to realize that when the cake mix is floating in the water and oil something has gone horribly wrong.

I looked at the box. I looked at the mixing bowl. I looked at the measuring cup. Then I took the mixing bowl, which held a batter that was the consistency of a pulpy orange juice, and dumped it down the garbage disposal. That was cake number two.

We were about an hour away from needing to go to Vacation Bible School. I quickly whipped up a third cake--with the appropriate amount of liquid--and shoved it into the oven. Later that night I attempted to remove it from the pan and put it on the Hawaiian plate.

It thought about breaking in half. A few bits of it stuck to the bottom of the pan. It got a deep split in it. But I persevered. I started frosting it and little cake flecks were getting stuck in the white frosting. This was no big deal on the sandy side because I was adding crushed graham crackers and brown sugar. But it posed a bigger problem on the water side. I ended up frosting it with a layer of white and then adding a layer of blue swirled with white before adding the white tips of the foaming waves. This was the third cake.

Between my first attempt at fondant and the several attempts at actually baking the cake, I probably spent close to eight hours baking and decorating this cake. At minimum wage, it would have saved a lot of time and money to just buy one at the store.

But Garrett loved it so it was totally worth all the trouble.

As for the head, I think I'm going to live.

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