Saturday, November 26, 2011

On when it all goes wrong...

How the cake should have turned out...

So, the self imposed blogging hiatus is over, and I am back, ready to go! There's a cake (chocolate fudge) in the oven, and I have to confess, there have been more than a few disasters recently. I don't think I'm the only one that feels the pressure of the work bake-off. There are some seriously good cooks at my work and recently, it was finally my turn on the "cake roster". So I thought I would bake my tried and true bee-sting cake. I've made it a hundred times. It has never failed me. I would never try something new and difficult for this sort of thing -too many variables and I really dislike having to go back to the supermarket, or turn up with a bought cake (that stuff is far too expensive).

I was sooo prepared as well. I was being slightly over cautious, and bought new flour, new baking soda, new custard powder, half a dozen eggs etc etc. The best case scenario was that I would make 2 cakes, one for home, the other for morning tea at work. The worst case scenario (or so I thought at the time...) was that I had enough ingredients to make a second cake if the first one failed for any unforeseen (and unexpected) reason. I hadn't made it yet in this oven so I thought I was playing it safe.

Anyhow, cake #1 is mixed perfectly and goes into the oven. Looks great and comes out looking great. I turn around for just a second, and the damn thing has sunk! Never mind - I am prepared and can easily make a second one. I think to myself that perhaps the oven was a bit cold when I put the cake in. So I try again, of course my oven is well and truly at temperature this time....

So cake #2 comes out of the oven, looks even better. Of course, I turn around, and yet again, it sinks. Not as much as the first one, but enough to be pretty damn obvious what happened. I start negotiating with myself - maybe I can take the base from one and the base from the other.....? The night is wearing on. I pour myself a drink and resolve to buy a cake in the morning. The cake I buy sets me back $35. Seriously? It was yummy, but that was ridiculous.

The worst part? The next morning I see that one of my colleagues is interviewed for the "person of the week" feature on our internal website and my cake making skills are feted. I want to cry all over my bakery bought, overly expensive mud cake.

As an interesting side note, I mentioned this story to several colleagues, and one said that their wife had also bought the same brand of flour from the same supermarket that day, and also had a cake failure on the same night, and then on the next night, also with a tried and true recipe. So I'll blame the flour! It has been banished to pastry duty.

When your confidence is shot, the best thing to do is to get back into the kitchen and keep baking. I will make that cake again, and it won't fail.