On my amazing baker and cake lover perfectionist friend’s birthday I cringed on the thought of showing up at her place with a store bought cake. So, I did the perfectly reasonable thing of trusting my tiny 20L grill oven (no convection, mind you) and Pioneer Woman’s recipe that I had never ever tried before. As I was feeling a bit adventurous, I decided to go with the orange crush cake recipe in which the batter is made with Fanta orange. Until reading that recipe I didn’t even know that one could make a cake batter with soda. To show my love for my friend, I took out the lovely rose cake foam to make a beautiful rose shaped cake.
Well, I might have had an ulterior motive of taking the photo of the rose cake for Instagram to get my likes up; but she doesn’t have to know that.
Look at me all set to bake.
After adding 150 grams of butter and 375 grams of sugar I took a moment to say hello to Cholesterol and Diabetes eyeing me conspiratorially from around the corner. It looked like there was way too much sugar, but what the heck, Pioneer Woman should know what she is doing, right?
After mixing thoroughly with my hand mixer, mine looked crumbly compared to the photo on Pioneer Woman’s website. Not minding that in the least, I moved on to the next step of cracking 5 eggs into the mixture, one at a time, blending it into the batter. After adding four the consistency looked fine so I decided to roll with four eggs.
While adding and assimilating the flour, I realized that my bowl was not the appropriate size for this cake batter and that the surroundings, including me, were being bombarded with flying drops of sugary viscous liquid. Well, too late; I went in with the flour little by little. A part of me died just thinking about the cleaning up I have to do later.
Then I added the Fanta orange, not the sugar free version. Hey Diabetes, here I come and I bring with me my friends to whom this cake will be force fed. Then it was carefully poured into the mould and put into the oven.
The cake was supposed to bake for 70 minutes, but 40 minutes later this happened.
Wonder why nothing is visible in one of the pictures? It is because the whole freaking cake is charred. Look at those rose petals. Beautiful? I would say yes. Palatable? Hell,no.
Off with the heads, said I and went in with a knife cutting off the bottom and top part of the cake leaving a thin pathetic undercooked remains of a cake.
I was saved from a panic attack by a very supportive friend who obviously didn’t think of a burnt, destroyed cake as a crisis situation. Time to improvise, but too bad, my brain decided to go on a holiday to recuperate from this disaster. My friend, whom I will henceforth lovingly call Kronk, thankfully has a good idea about flavours and suggested decorating the cake with orange fillets and sprinkle cinnamon powder on top for contrast.
When I think of it, she is more like Remy than Kronk.
As I did not have any other idea, better or worse, I went on with this idea in a final attempt to “salvage some dignity”.
We ended up with this.
Not so bad, huh.
In all my time I spent together with my perfectionist friend, one very important life lesson I learned was to always have a backup cake. So, tada. Sponge cake with cream cheese frosting topped with blackberries and strawberries.
In the end, my friends said that the cake was good, but that was most certainly them being polite and dishonest, mainly because the cake was way too sweet and also kind of undercooked (underbaked?). They were probably trying to not hurt my feelings. Little did they know that I was dead inside.
The lessons I learned from this experience are:
- 20L grill oven has its limitations. (How stupid should you be to not know that?)
- Get a bigger bowl!
- I grossly overestimated my baking skills. My ego has suffered a blow and come down a notch.
- When baking a Pioneer Woman cake, go easy on the sugar.
- Always call up calm and composed Remy/Kronk friend in case of a panic attack.
Bonus motivational quote as a token of my gratitude to you for reading: