When in doubt, just throw it in a Trifle dish…

When people compliment me on my baking, I think it’s kind of weird.

“This is SO good, Flemmily.”

“Thanks. I followed the recipe.”

“No, you’re just such a good baker!”

“Yeah. I can follow instructions.”

“Baking is more than following instructions!”

*shaking my head* “No, following directions is pretty much it.”

I didn’t invent it. I didn’t spend hours trying to find the best possible way to make it. I just measured out cups, stirred, set timers, and turned the oven on. Thus, all I did was follow the directions.

It’s because of my belief that baking is nothing more than following the recipe that I became EXTREMELY frustrated when my recent baking attempt went awry.

This cake kicked my butt, even though I FOLLOWED THE RECIPE. Arrgh!

The fleur de sel caramel chocolate cake recipe didn’t look simple. It had many diffferent components…a chocolate genache, a caramel sauce, chocolate cake, and toasted almonds. I made the components one at a time, and they became increasingly difficult. I started with toasting the almonds. That one’s a no brainer (unless you forget about them when they’re in the oven, which I did not.) Step one, done. Step two–ganache. Also pretty simple. heat up heavy cream, pour over chopped chocolate, whisk, and toss it in the fridge. Done and done.

Then came the caramel sauce. I expected this part to be a little tricky. Sugar and heat sometimes do strange things. Like burn. But, I bought extras of everything, and I was prepared to make a couple attempts at the caramel sauce.

Take 1: Burned mess. I left it on the heat WAY too long.
Take 2: Slightly scorched. The sugar went from being a nice amber color to smelling REALLY bad very very quickly.
Take 3: Success! The salty caramel sauce turned out fantastic! Step three, done.

Then all that was left was the cake.

So, with this cake batter, you are supposed to bake it, then chill it, then slice each cake in half and ice the whole thing seperately.

I’m SO down with cake baking, I wasn’t even worried about it. I greased and floured the pans, added the batter, tossed them in the oven, and went to watch tv after starting the timer.

Then things started to smell bad.

VERY bad.

I investigated. My cakes had overrun their pans and had dripped over both racks and onto the heating element. Yuck. Also, it meant I couldn’t use the oven again until I gave it a chance to cool off and scraped off all the burned bits of cake.

The parts left in the pan didn’t look too bad, so I removed them, let them cool for 10 minutes, and then took them out of the pans.

And they came out all right…

"The Cake"

If you like your cake in pieces, that is.

Personally, I prefer my cakes to stay whole.

This presented a whole new problem. Toss it, or use it? While I’d bought all the ingredients for several batches of caramel, I figured I’d get the cake right on the first try. No back up ingredients. So, rather than stress about it, I reevaluated what I had.

Ganache…Super tasty caramel sauce…toasted almonds..and chunks of cake (that tasted pretty fantastic, though they looked a mess.)

So, in true Flemmily fashion, I made the best of it. I broke the cake into smaller bits, put them in a trifle dish, poured caramel sauce over the top, and finished the whole thing off with a dash of fleur de sel and a few toasted almonds. The ganache stayed in the fridge.

They almost looked nice.

They tasted WONDERFUL.

And, my friends didn’t notice.

“Honestly, if you hadn’t told me it was supposed to be a cake I would have never noticed.”

”  Bee , I served you cake crumbs and caramel sauce. How could you not know it was supposed to be something else!”

“It looked pretty in the trifle dish!”

**shakes head ruefully** 

Why do I try?

So, lesson learned. When in doubt, put it in a trifle dish.



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