Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cake Cake Cake Cake Cake

I have been on the lookout for a really fabulous but basic yellow cake.  I have high standards for my cakes.  They have to be moist, flavorful, sturdy for decorating, and moist.  Did I say moist?

Side note: I hate the word "moist".

Anywho, I needed a good yellow layer cake.  My absolute favorite cake in the entire world is yellow cake with chocolate frosting, and I had high hopes for this particular recipe I'm about to share with you.  But first, a short story.

When I first started my bakery, I had a lot of people give me tips on cake recipes they loved and were their old stand-bys.  The one that kept coming up was the 1-2-3-4 cake.  Everyone knows this cake, right?  It's a regular yellow cake, sturdy for decorating, flavorful...perfect.

So, I decided I'd make one and see what the hullabaloo was all about.  It was very easy to throw together. Here's my problem.  When I took it out of the oven, it spread terribly.  Like over the pan terribly.  It also sorta sank in the middle.  So  I had these weird sides that were high and the bottom that was sunken in.  So I thought, maybe I didn't grease and flour my cake pan good enough  Or maybe the butter was too soft or not soft enough.  It tasted great but wasn't very pretty.  And what good is a bakery if you don't have PRETTY things that taste good, am I wrong?

We ate it as a cookie dough cake, and one thing was right.  It did taste good.  But to be honest, it was a little dry.

I thought it must be me.  But every time I made it (1-2-3-4 times now) it was the same.  So I came across this cake yesterday and it made BIG promises.  It wasn't a 1-2-3-4 cake (or it wasn't labeled as such) and it said it was the BEST yellow cake...very *shudders* moist, sturdy, flavorful.  So I read the reviews and I got excited for a hot minute.

I set out the butter and after school, me and the middle babe made it together.  Which is very exciting in itself, because with the bakery, they can't really help.  Kids are germ casseroles ya know.  I got to answer all the questions of, "Remember when you started your bakery, you said it would be a family business?  How come it really isn't?"  Guilt trip, anyone?

Everything came together really quickly and simply.  I wanted a three layer cake with mint green buttercream.  It was my vision.  I could already see the beautiful pictures I'd instagram and post on my facebook bakery page.  All the oooh's and aaaahhh's I'd get about making the perfect cake.  There may or may not have been a trophy and a party thrown in my honor because of it.  I was hopeful.

But alas, as I opened the oven when my timer went off, my dreams were dashed.  What I saw was a dark cake that had risen on the sides and sunk in the middle, just like, you guessed it, the damned 1-2-3-4 cake.

I was disappointed.  My beautiful pictures I'd planned in my head were not gonna be a reality.  I put on a brave face and took them out to cool.  "When I turn them out, they'll be ok.  I'll make it work"  I foolishly told myself.

When it came time to turn them out, I steadied myself and said a silent prayer.  I turned one out and it came out in one piece.  PRAISE THE LORD!! I went to the next one and only a small piece of the side came off. Okay, okay, I can work with that.  I turned out the last one and half the freaking cake stayed in the pan.  What the actual what.

So now folks, it's a two layer cake.  Even though it was a disappointment, it's cake after all.  We devoured that broken layer like a team of vultures ascending on some fresh road kill.  It was really delicious.  Very flavorful, just as the recipe had promised.  But as it sat for a little bit, it got dry.  Again, with the disappointment.  Are you guys feeling the emotional roller coaster I was on yesterday with this cake?  I needed to be medicated for heaven's sake.

I froze the other layers and I decided to make this a lesson in decorating cakes for the girls.  Let me tell you, you never know how much of a control freak you are until you are trying to teach two silly girls how to do something you do for a living.  I have serious issues.  But enough about me.  In spite of having a crazy, psychotic, control freak of a mom, they did an excellent job.  I was very proud of them.

I will let you know how the cake turns out.  It's sitting in my refrigerator waiting to be eaten.  I think the best thing about making a cake is looking at the finished product.  I always giggle to myself when I've done a particularly good job at decorating.  I'm a weirdo.  I thought the girls would be the same, but they just gave me strange looks when I told them to open the fridge door and see their creation.  

"Uh, Mom, we know what it looks like.  We just decorated it."

So, I'll just be a weirdo and giggle to myself when I see the cake every time I open the fridge door tonight while making dinner.  The moral of the story is it's a beautiful cake and we are going to treat the family to it's delicious beautifulness tonight after dinner.  The girls are very excited about it and at the end of the day that's all that matters.  

So to recap for you:

  • No matter how you slice it, 1-2-3-4 cakes don't work for me
  • I'm a control freak
  • My girls inherited their mom's love of cake decorating
  • I will never put that much hope into a layered cake again
  • I enjoy sucking joy and happiness out of things that should be fun
  • I'm a control freak
  • I need to go back to the drawing board on this whole yellow cake business
Until next time friends!!  Stay sweet!

My prepared pans

My middle baby


Baby number 3 piping away

Finished product. They do make me proud.

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