…on baking cakes (& smoke-filled kitchens)

Ok, so last month my older brother had his birthday & Virginia The Baker got busy making a cake for his celebratory visit. His choice: a chocolate layer cake with our Mama’s Icing (a yummy it- takes-a-long-time-to-make white icing from the 1950s.)

Blog Spoiler Alert: Dean’s Decadently Delish Birthday Cake with Mama’s Icing (side view!)

Using the same scratch chocolate layer cake recipe for over 20 years (FOREVER!), slightly bored Virginia The Baker found a New Recipe to try out (in a reputable Cookbook that will Remain Nameless…)

During the compilation process, it seemed like the liquid measurements were a Tad Too Much (dutifully dug out reading glasses to Make Sure — yes:  1 1/2 cups liquidy mixture when it’s usually 3/4 cup for these types of cakes..) HOWEVER, Favorite Reputable Cookbook said it, so poured liquidy cake into layer pans & whisked them into the oven.

Less than 20 minutes later, smoke wafting from the oven filled the kitchen with a Heavy Haze.  Opened the oven to find Spilled Cake dripping all over.. (did I mention my brother & his fam were coming up soon-ish thereafter to Eat This Cake??)

Desperate times require Desperate Measures (& Desperate Faith that the ingredients would eventually Turn Into Something Cake-ish):  Whisked those dripping sticky pans out of the the (very) smoky oven & dumped the batter into a Very Large lasagne pan ….& put surviving batter back into oven for More Baking.

after-the-fact burned out cake oven overflow… (photo: next day)

(ahem. Note: no Cake Drama process pictures available as Virginia the Baker was too occupied running through the house fanning smoke away from the Smoke Alarms, out of the Living Room, Study, Hallway… heck, kitchen smoke even wafted heavily into the Back of the House...& then afterward engaged in Operation Smoke-Cover Up by spewing house fragrance throughout Before Birthday Guests Arrived!)

EVENTUALLY… the cakish-baked birthday treat firmed up enough to Turn The Oven Off (a good idea to Cut-Off source of Kitchen Smoke..)  Virginia the Baker tasted a Few Crumbs (ok, a corner) – wow, ’twas actually Really Yummy.  But the cake was HUGE (my largest lasagne pan is Gigantic:  going to All That Trouble to make Veggie Lasagne with homemade sauce from garden tomatoes & 7 kinds of cheese – it should Be Big!)  … & cake was a tad on the spongy side (but a delicious spongy) … so thought of serving in squares with powered sugar?

But, Mama’s icing makes Birthdays special around here (altho contemplating making enough to cover the gigantic cake…& considering time constraints… powdered sugar sounded great..)

EUREEKA! some of the smoke must have gone to my head, because then i made up Mama’s icing (regular amount) & cut square layers (like you do for Black Forest Cake) & PUT MAMA’S ICING ON THE CAKE.  oh la la…

‘Twas a Grand Hit with the Birthday celebrant (& all other co-celebratees) … (& not to Just Blame the Cookbook, but since i was out of baking cocoa, i did use Hazelnut dark- European drinking chocolate that Might Have contributed to the Cake-Oven-Overflows, but whatever, it was a Very Tasty Cake!!)

So, a Life Lesson??  Sometimes our plans (like the cake) don’t fit into God’s pans for our life at the moment… occasionally our life batter gets poured out & stretched into lasagne pans so God can bake us His Way.  Maybe our lives don’t look like what we thought  or planned (in nice 3-layer perfect cake pans), but if we have a little faith & keep on baking (even when Smoke Fills The Kitchen)… we’ll come out OK & taste So Much Better than the Same Old Recipe (that always worked before but is Stale & not-so-tasty..)

… & God’s Grace & Mercy-filled icing will cover our rough edges & turn us into Deliciously Decadent Joy…

Dean’s Birthday Cake with Mama’s Icing (next day: Not Much Left…)

– Just like my brother’s birthday cake! ’twas really deliciously joyful to eat … (& i ended up eating the whole row of icing-less cake left in the pan, ’twas so good!)

grace, peace & Cake Adventurers

Virginia (The Baker  : )

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5 Responses to …on baking cakes (& smoke-filled kitchens)

  1. John Paine says:

    I’m so glad I read this post after dinner. Otherwise I’d be on my way to Handel’s right now. We put their chocolate raspberry truffle together with their chocoholic chunk and volia! Handel’s messiah.

    • John Paine says:

      …err, make that voila! (My French teacher would be mortified.)

      • Virginia says:

        Oh la la – that Handel’s Messiah sounds AMAZING! …& Handel’s is right across the street from Au Bon Pain, home of the Best-est Chocolate Croissants in Williamsburg (altho you have to get there early before they’re all gone!).

        hmmmn, methinks there Will Be an errand to run out Rt. 60 in the Near Future – Chocolate Chunk AND Chocolate Raspberry Trfuffle… together??

        Obviously, this Must Be Tried! : )

  2. Cindy Kranich says:

    I remember that cake…it was delicious. Neat story behind it, too!

    • Virginia says:

      Cin – what influenced the Desperation Factor even more is that Dean & Lynn were coming up just for Cake (vs. a Big Birthday Dinner) … & Dwight was out, so there was no chance to Get Out to acquire another cake & put on one of our cake plates (& there’s no way to ‘fudge’ Mama’s Icing with store- bought! : )

      …but God is Good (all the time) & there was a Faith Lesson hidden in the experience … (& the cake truly was one of the best- est ever!)

      Lots of grace, peace & stretched batter

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