Monday, August 17, 2009
Burnt Cake And A Messy Kitchen
Saturday was my son's eighth birthday. I wanted the day to be fabulous and the food amazing and REAL. Friday I got out the healthy cookbook and looked at the cake recipes. I called my son in and asked him which cake he would like to have. He picked the flour less chocolate cake. We decided to frost it with whipped cream and drizzle mashed strawberries over it. We planned to make ice cream too! I checked to make sure we had all the ingredients we needed and was very excited to have all our family over to be wowed by the tasty, healthy treats.
Saturday dawned with clouds and rain in the sky. Our plans to picnic at the local reservoir had to be altered. I made a yummy breakfast of hash browns, biscuits and gravy. My son opened his gifts and then wet out to play. I turned my attention to the boxes and bags of produce on my counter that needed to be taken care of before I made the cake. There were beets to pickle, tomatoes waiting to be made into ketchup, carrots to trim and put away, and apricots in serious need of being washed and either eaten or dried. I also had to make a trip to the dairy to buy cream for the ice cream and the whipped cream. I still needed to fix lunch and dinner too! Can you sense a disaster about to happen?
I jumped in and started working! First there was ice cream to be made. It turned out just fine. Luckily my wonderful mother showed up about this time to help me. She started on the pile of dishes while I went to work on the produce. Eventually it was time to make the cake. This wasn't going to be just any cake. The directions were complicated, but the vision I had in my head of this fabulous, two layer, whipped cream and berry topped cake made me so excited! I followed the directions carefully. From what I could tell it would be like a chocolate angel-food cake. There were several steps in the process. At one point I tasted the batter and it was NOT sweet enough. I melted a little honey and added it to the mixture. It tasted great! I put the batter in two buttered, round pans, placed them in the oven and set the timer for 25 minutes. I did just what the book said, except for the little bit of honey.
25 minutes later the timer rang. With great anticipation I went to open the oven. I was expecting to see two fluffy layers cooked to perfection. I opened the door and my nose was greeted with a funny burnt smell! I removed the pans and, to my great horror, saw two flat-looking things! Where was the fluff? I stood over those two things and got madder and madder! I finally put them in the pantry to cool so I wouldn't have to look at them. I consoled myself by saying that I would just frost them really thickly and they would be okay.
My mom, my daughter and I started getting dinner ready. There was still lots of veggies on the counter and a few dishes. The kitchen was naturally a bit of a mess after all we had been working on, but I wasn't too worried about it. As far as I knew only a few people were coming for the party and they wouldn't mind. I kept putting thoughts of the cake out of my mind.
Dinner turned out nicely. Potato wedges, corn on the cob, fresh tomatoes and watermelon. Just as we finished eating family started coming over. Thankfully they went out back to play. That's when I found out that that my aunt was coming! I had invited her and my paternal grandparents to come, but I hadn't heard back from them so I thought they weren't coming. Now, I LOVE having my family over. I really enjoy hosting a crowd of people and serving good food. I usually try to tidy up the house before people come, but the busy day had made that a little impossible. Things weren't too bad, but the kitchen was still pretty messy. I normally wouldn't worry - we're raising up a houseful of kids and trying to preserve a garden full of food! But when I found out my aunt was coming I panicked! She is one of those amazing ladies who can be a mother, work a business, sew costumes for her kids plays and keep a perfectly clean and organized home. I mean perfectly. You could eat off the floors in her bathroom! I couldn't help but be a little self conscious!
My aunt and grandparents arrived and graciously ignored the mess. I ushered them into the back yard and decided I had better tackle the cake. I began to whip the cream. I don't know what I did wrong, but the cream pretty much turned to butter!
In frustration I stopped whipping the cream and tried to take the cakes out of the pans. It was awful!! They were BURNT, FLAT, and HOPELESS. I stood there and just cried and cried! I wanted everything to be perfect! My mom offered suggestions on how we could make the cake presentable, but I knew that no matter what I did to it there was no way I could serve that cake to my son! I tried to hide my tears as I stuck my head out the door and called to my husband. He came in and I tearfully told him of what had happened. I asked him to hurry up and run up to Walmart and buy a chocolate cake. He was wonderful and ran out to save the day!
Twenty minutes later we were all sitting around the table singing "Happy Birthday!" to my son. The cake looked great and, even though I knew it was made of garbage, I have never been so thankful for white flour and sugar in my whole life! The party was fun, the food was good and I was EXHAUSTED!