A Crumby Start…

11 Apr

Dear Nina and Becky,

Here is my dark confession.  I guess I’m looking for someone to blame right now.  I feel something happening inside me right now and even if  the rest of humanity does not understand, no one can convince me that I’ve made it up.  Like a monkey who’s bored in the zoo and starts throwing his feces at the voyeurs, I just want to throw my blame somewhere!  WOW.  I’m not sure where that simile came from, but I’m blaming it on my sugar high, and that, my friends, I am blaming on you.  But I loves you both anywayz.  XOXO, Zoe

In order to teach myself to bake a decent cake for the Nina and Bec’s wedding; I’ve been using every excuse in the book to bake a cake.  Roommate/Bestie’s birthday?  Yes, let’s bake a cake.  Rommate’s coworker-who-I’ve-never-met’s birthday?  Yes, let’s bake a cake.  Guy on the street talking to the tree says it’s his birthday?  Well, why not?  Let’s bake a cake!

So the ladies have requested a strawberry cake; something white and fluffy with fresh little tangy berry-jewels dotting the layers.  It’s a beautiful idea, but this party-pooper veto’d it, when she instead imagined a soggy, strawberry-soaked Leaning Tower of Pisa wedding cake.  I suggested that we instead try the beautiful Pink Lady Cake from Smitten Kitchen.

The cake looked so delightfully pink, and with strawberry essence and cream cheese frosting absolutely nothing could go wrong!  Oops.  This wasn’t the biggest cake disaster – (no one complained about having to eat it, except me after my 3rd piece).  Then again, something just didn’t go all the way right.

Instead of providing the recipe, I’m providing my technical analysis of this experiment.  I’ve concluded that we will not be able to proceed to the Wedding Cake Final Result (WCFR) until we can complete more testing.  Note to Nina and Becky:  I will be putting in a request for a contract extension and additional funding.  (Joke!)

Flavor: This is a strawberry cake.  Most berry cakes rely on a packet of Jello for authentic flavor.  I liked this recipe because it did not.  Mistake?  The cake had a lovely strawberry fragrance right out of the oven, but the flavor was nearly undetectable in the cake itself.

Smells like strawberries...

Texture: Very dense, and yet this is not a pound cake.  This is probably my fault as I used all-purpose flour instead of pastry flour, because this is what I had on hand (a 25lb bag of it to be exact!).  I was hoping the recipe would be lightened up by the bazillion egg whites.  Oddly enough, the instructions, do not call for the egg whites to be whipped into peaks and folded in, but rather whipped with milk; which I did, but didn’t entirely understand.

Tools: PvPF, is all about doing things with little-to-no help from fancy kitchen gadgets.  You know what is not really very fancy, but I still don’t own?  A basic mixer, like one you could buy at Goodwill for $3!

And this recipe requires that you cream together flour and butter.  Yeah, you heard me, not butter and sugar, but butter and flour.  In case you are wondering, it’s rather difficult to cream flour and butter with a wooden spoon.

I ended up resorting to using my food processor, which is kind of weird, but seemed to do okay.

Processed Cake

And a happy birthday to you!

Frosting: OMG x 1,000,000,000!!  This is probably the best cream cheese frosting I have ever tasted.  I should know because I ate about half of it before I even got to putting it on the cake.  Sadly, it is not very stiff and did not spread smoothly, even after chilling both frosting and cake in the freezer.  Again, this could be due to my lack of tools (this time a frosting knife) but the durability/shape holding/anti-melting potential for this frosting concerns me.

Make a wish!

But hey!  We didn’t let a mediocre cake ruin the birthday party!  As you can see, the birthday girl turned so many years old, that we didn’t even bother with candles, just doused the cake in alcohol and lit it on fire!  Do you think that affected the flavor any?


3 Responses to “A Crumby Start…”

  1. Robin April 11, 2011 at 6:35 pm #

    Hilarious post! Let me know if a) you need some funding for all of these ingredients. would happily send you some reimbursements. test-runs count!
    b) if you’d like me to consult with two of my acquaintances who do wedding cakes all the time for various people and might have some old stand-by recipes. Not saying you need this, but if you’d like some, I’ll ask. In the mean time, I’m enjoying the process! Hope you are too.

  2. Julia April 15, 2011 at 4:15 pm #



  1. Happy Wedding my friends! « The People v. Picket Fence - July 3, 2011

    […] realize now, that the self-doubting tone I took in my previous cake posts here, here, and honestly here too, was not the best way for me to put my friends at ease about their wedding […]

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