Thursday, May 25, 2006

Why I'm Baking Saturday's Cakes On Thursday

I really need to stop staying up so late.

Well, the birthday plans are in motion.

I bought a TON of ice cream tonight.

Thursday, after another stimulating class of microbiology, I buy a chunk of dry ice, 5,000 eggs, some really good chocolate, cream, and chambord. I think I have the rest of the ingredients.

Then, I bake.

I'd like to get the cakes baked up tomorrow and then assemble everything Friday. I have learned not to leave cake baking and assemblage till the last minute. Believe me, I learned the hard way. Like the time I baked Zetta's German Chocolate Cake the same afternoon as her party: the cakes didn't rise more than 3/4 inch apiece, I was two hours late because I tried baking another round--which didn't rise much either--and because I was so late I didn't wait for the cakes or the coconut pecan frosting to completely cool before assembling everything, and by the time I got to Zetta's house the whole cake was melting and sliding apart. GRRRRRR.

July 10, 2004
Occasion: Zetta's birthday
Name of cake: Jen’s German Chocolate Cake with Coconut-Pecan Frosting Dramatic Disaster Extravaganza
Constituents: Three layers all American chocolate butter cake (three b/c they were too short)
One layer filled with classic egg white chocolate buttercream
Another layer filled and cake frosted with coconut-pecan frosting

(7/11) There was cake trauma. Extraordinaire. I started the cake too late in the day, I lost all the printed coconut-pecan frosting recipes, I started the cake too late in the day.

Regenia and I were talking as I was mixing the cake and I mixed it wrong; I put in the egg mixture when I was supposed to put in the chocolate mixture; I finished up the cake anyway and baked it; the whole thing fell so that it was only about ½ inch high and mushy the whole way through. By this time it was 6 pm and that is when the party started. So we called and told her we would be there around 8 pm d/t cake disaster. We put those two cakes aside and I started over, knowing that it was really too late. I mixed them right and poured them into the pans and baked them away, and still when they came out they were really short; maybe ¾ inch instead of an inch and ½. What happened? Is the baking powder too old already?? I used it last week to make Becky’s cake and everything came out just fine—what????

So we decided to make a three layer cake—using the cake layer left from the first batch (I had eaten and given away to Toni most of one layer of the ruined batch) but by this time I had already made the egg white choc buttercream to fill what I thought was going to be a four layer cake—which now that it was only three layers I didn’t need. So now I have TONS of frosting—Regenia said to make a cake for new moon—I think I’ll make cupcakes or something.

So then I tackle the coconut-pecan frosting based on some of the recipes I refound online—it seems pretty simple enough and super sweet. I used a recipe that didn’t call for adding additional sugar (b/c you use all this sweetened condensed milk and sweetened coconut). I toasted up the nuts and coconut sort of—but we were pressed for time so I didn’t do it as thoroughly as I could have…and I didn’t let the cakes cool completely and I didn’t let the coconut pecan frosting cool at all (you have to cook the sweetened condensed milk and the yolks and the butter until it thickens) and so I layered the cake with a layer of coconut pecan and then a layer of buttercream then frosted the cake with the coconut pecan (had just barely enough to do so) and then as we were driving over to the party at 8:30 pm the buttercream started melting and the top layer of the cake was sliding all over the place and the coconut pecan was melting down the sides and the whole thing was a disaster. I was miserable. And really pissed off.

But it tasted good (super rich and sweet) and everybody liked it, so there you go. But I am still upset about the whole thing.

So, what have I learned?
1. don’t make the cakes late!!!!!!!
2. do I have to buy baking powder every two months or so???
3. If I really do make a four layered german choc cake I need to double the coconut pecan recipe.
4. plan ahead plan ahead plan ahead!!!!
a. Even if I don’t bake the cakes a day early (how do I keep them from going dry if I do?) I can at least prep them the night before like I did w/ my bday cakes so that they can bake up fast in the am before going to work)
b. I guess I could have made the buttercream ahead and left it at room temp overnight…

Hmpf. I hate cake trauma. I really wanted to be able to bring her a nice present of a beautiful cake and instead I brought her a disaster of a cake really late and even though everyone liked it, the presentation factor was missing. We didn’t get to put candles in it and sing happy birthday and all that birthday stuff. Hmpf.


To this day, I still can't figure out what the heck went wrong. At first I thought it was the baking powder, but one week earlier I made a cake that rose well, and two days later I made another. So it wasn't the baking powder.
Then I thought it was the old(er) eggs but last year I made a cake with eggs that were a little old and the cake rose well. Not as high as it should have been, but much more than 3/4 of an inch. So I don't really think it was the eggs.

Regenia thinks Zetta used her voodoo magic to jinx the cake so that she wouldn't have to endure a bunch of people singing happy birthday to her. Well, she does keep a voodoo doll at work...


  1. You tell Regenia to Cram it.
    I did no such jinxing and that voodoo doll at work is a FRIDGE MAGNET and was a GIFT from a patient.
    (pouts, stomps feet, other displays of indignation.)

  2. whatever, missy. just stay away from my hair and fingernails, okay?

  3. Oooo -- I love blog drama. More please! You guys are like the alt Laverne and Shirley of the blog era.

  4. dibs on laverne. she got to put her first initial on everything she owned.

  5. I'm Squiggy. That is all.