Friday, November 27, 2015

In This Edition of Robert Was Right...

I love to bake. I find it relaxing and fun. While the outcome of my efforts is generally pretty tasty, I definitely don't have a decorator's touch. If my baked goods had a tagline, it would pretty much be: Not much to look at, but tastes delicious.

A few weeks ago, my friend Michele and I decided to combine our families for Thanksgiving. She is an incredible cook and baker, so I was pretty excited about this. I offered to bring mac and cheese, my step-mother's sweet potato casserole, and my mom's chocolate cake.

This cake is one of my favorite ones to make because not only is it super easy to make, it's light and fluffy and delicious.  Both Mom and I pair it with this yummy, fudgy icing that hardens when it cools. Not exactly a ganache, but pretty close.

I get up this morning and start cooking. Usually I make this cake in a sheet pan, simply becuase it's easier. But I felt all fancy today, so I made two layers instead.

The cake baked perfectly. While it cooled, I started the sweet potato casserole and the pasta, and whipped up a small batch of chocolate buttercream frosting to put between the layers.

Once that was done, I made the icing - combining butter, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and milk in a saucepan with a hand mixer. I poured it over the cake and smoothed it around the sides.

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It was beautiful. It was perfect. It was Martha Stewart worthy. It looked a lot like this picture.  

I was concerned about it setting up properly in the super warm kitchen, so I went to put the cake in the garage where it was nice and cool.

Robert offered to clear off a shelf for me to put it on, but I said no. The cake was on a tupperware base, and was stable, so I put it on top of the garbage bin. Robert, looking concerned, asked me if I was sure I wanted to leave it there. Sure, I said. It'll be fine.

Back to the kitchen I went to finish everything else and clean up. Once that was done, I went to peek at the cake. I open the door to the garage and......

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There was no cake on top of the bin. There was no cake on the edge of the bin. The cake was on the floor. In giant, formerly delicious looking pieces. Sort of like this picture, except in the garage.


Robert hears my dismay and comes into the garage and then HE says, "OH NOOOOOOO!" Not "I told you so" or "You shouldn't have put it there", or "I was afriad of that". Which, let's be honest, I kind of deserved to hear.

It's just after 12 pm. We are supposed to be at Michele's by 2.  I used the last of my cocoa powder and the last of my powdered sugar making the beautiful, but now ruined cake. Now what?!?

Okay, what do I have that I can throw together that will be as good as the cake? Uh, nothing. Nada. Zero. Zip. A big, ol' goose egg.

Think! Think, think, think!

Then I get the brilliant idea to call Antonia, a friend of mine that is also an amazing cook and baker, to see if she has any cocoa powder that I can borrow. She does and tells me to come right away. I throw on some shoes and my frazzled, disheveled, food splattered self jumps in my car and dashes over to her house.

But she doesn't just give me cocoa powder, she gives me Italian cocoa powder. Which, if you had asked me about before today, I would have said, "Cocoa powder is cocoa powder." Today, after baking with it, I can most assuredly tell you that there is a huge difference. HUGE.

Not only that, she MAKES me more powdered sugar. Like, produces it right in her kitchen like it's no big deal. I am grateful. Actually, grateful doesn't even begin to cover it.

I get the second cake done in time for us to make it to Michele's by 2. It's nothing short of a miracle. And, because I'm feeling a bit...sensitive about it, I have an overwhelming need to tell you that the second cake?  It was amazing.