Cake Baking

23 Oct

As many as I’ve tried to bake, that’s how many cakes I’ve ruined. I’m not talking about cupcakes (because let’s face it – that’s the cheaters method). Round cakes, 9X13 cakes, you name it. There is always some issue; and sometimes, it’s not even the same issue!

I’ve tried multiple years to bake my own birthday cake (especially now that I am out on my own), but if I’m home, Momma normally comes to the rescue. If I’m not at home, I stare at an ugly cake until I need to drown my sorrows in it.

Then, like a fresh start, some 9-inch round cake pans were calling my name one day in the store. I bought them, on a whim, thinking, “You know what? You either need to learn how to bake cakes, or figure out a way to salvage the bad cakes.” So, I couldn’t leave without them, you see?

During my biweekly grocery trip (every other week, not twice a week – geez that’s a lot!), I bought cake mix and some frosting. We went with Red Velvet because my fiancee is not the biggest fan of chocolate. Bummer. When I got home, I didn’t rush to bake them right away. I cleaned my new pans, packed the cake mix and frosting in the pantry and just rested on the idea of baking a cake.

When the time was right, I went for it. The mixing part was easy (as it always is). Mix plus egg plus oil. Bam. You’re done. Pour that into the cake pans and bake. Easy-peasy. (You’re thinking – why was she making such a big deal about this!? Cake baking is a piece of cake. And now you’re thinking – my god. Has she really sunk so far to pun within our minds!? Lame.)

38 minutes later, the toothpicks came out clean, so the cakes came out of the oven. I let them cool an inordinate amount of time in the pan, on the rack because this is where my first blunder seems to happen. If the cake is not cool enough, it rips out of the pan. Boo 😦 I’m happy to report, however, that this time around, they came out so cleanly, I almost cried. I kid you not, when I say no cake of mine has ever come out of the pan cleanly. So after another maybe 2-3 hours of cooling on the rack, I braved my next daunting task: frosting those suckers.

Here’s where I did something different. Instead of leaving them rounded at the top, I sliced through so that it would be even. I was afraid this would make frosting those carved sides more difficult since the cake wouldn’t be a smooth, even surface, but it was a non-issue! (I think it helps to stir your frosting for a good minute to loosen everything up.)

So, I frosted the middle section – probably could have used more – and put the cakes on top of each other. Then I began the sides. I left the top for last because I believed that to be the easiest. The sides were difficult, but again, a non-issue. I’m not sure why that was, but it was relatively easy 🙂 Pleasantly surprised with how everything turned out, I cut a piece and sat down to enjoy!

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Here’s where our story takes a turn for the worst. This cake tasted AWFUL. I followed the instructions and all of the ingredients were non-expired, so I blame the brand. I will be trying again soon with another brand, so I’ve got my fingers crossed it comes out tastier. Stay tuned!

I found the timing so perfect that around the day I decided to bake a cake, Bon Appetit sent out an email with cake baking tips and recipes for the best cakes. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Bon Appetit!

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