Friday, December 10, 2010

Lessons learned

Late last Friday night I made a large chocolate sheet cake for a graduation party we were hosting for DP’s students on Saturday afternoon. I used my mum’s chocolate cake recipe, and baked it (for the first time ever) in an 11” x 14” pan, because I thought that would be easier to slice and serve to a large group of people (and maybe even to write “Congratulations!” on if I got really ambitious).

I love that recipe: it only uses one bowl, and as always it came together really quickly and baked up beautifully. I put it on a rack on the counter to cool while I got on with some other party food prep.

Unfortunately I put it on the section of the counter in front of where I stack my cutting boards and, behind them, my cast-iron griddle, standing on end.

Even more unfortunately, shortly after I put it there, my griddle suddenly and inexplicably decided it wanted to be horizontal instead of vertical.

And most unfortunate of all, I was standing halfway across the room when it decided to put this plan into action, instead of six inches away in my usual prep area. So I wasn’t there to catch the cake when it went flying off the counter.

Luckily Miss B was already in bed, or else she’d know a few new words this week.

I learned a few things from this experience:

1. Think very carefully about where you put baked goods to cool.
2. If you can, be vague when telling people what you’re planning to make for an event. That way, if you have to change the menu unexpectedly, you won’t worry as much about disappointing your guests.
3. This cake is still good even after it’s been smashed into smithereens. We’ve been eating the wreckage for days and Miss B requests it for dessert by its new name, “smush cake”. She doesn’t even care that it’s not frosted. No higher praise for a cake is forthcoming from a kindergartener.
4. For the sake of your sanity, it pays to always, always have the makings of an emergency batch (or two) of congo bars available.


Shari said... Best Blogger Tips

Oh, you just described one of my worst baking nightmares. :( Poor, poor, yummy cake!

Roving Lemon said... Best Blogger Tips

Mine too--and having it come true is even worse than imagining it! But at least it's still edible.

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Nancy, I'm sorry to hear about that! Though happy to know that it was still eaten and loved. I think it's the time of year - there's so much going on in the kitchen at the moment, and space is so tight - I know I've been guilty of precariously balancing things in the last week or so. Thank you for the warning, you've probably saved me from a similar incident!

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