Ok, guys… I’ve been MIA from blogland for too long now, but there’s nothing more obnoxious in a blog that reading boring reasons that there haven’t been any posts, so I’ll spare you. In sum, I’m lazy and it’s sunny finally. That, and my part-time employment has allowed me numerous hours that I’ve been devoting to craftiness instead of foodiness. I did, recently, attempt to make a cake, though. I say attempt because even though it turned out DELICIOUS, it also turned out sadly void of the grandeur I had expected. Why? Well… turns out that you can’t just pick up a frosting tip for $1.89 at the craft store and churn one of these puppies out.
But that didn’t stop me from trying! Last week, amidst planning C’s surprise party, I realized that my pal Hannah had a birthday as well and she needed a host, so I offered up our house last Monday for the party. I’d never actually baked a cake from scratch before, and I turned to the trusty How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman for a recipe. Making cakes from a box is idiot-proof and relatively good tasting, though it mostly tastes like sugar. Making cakes from scratch, however, is insanely time consuming, and the end result tastes like an explosion of butter and sugar and eggs. They’re two different animals, but obviously I prefer scratch cakes.
Despite my CONSTANT VIGILANCE and DUTIFUL ROTATION of the cakes, they still turned out different shades of gold thanks to my totally outdated and somewhat evil oven.
But regardless, they rose evenly, were dense enough while still fluffy, and tasted like a butter fairy and 10,000 of her magical butter babies were cooked right into the pan. Mmmm… babies. Making the buttercream was easy enough, even with only one whisk in the electric mixer (the other literally burst in two since my mixer’s slowest speed is BOLT DOWN YOUR TABLES AND SECURE YOUR VALUABLES- TORNADO IS IN FULL FORCE). I thought Hannah seemed like a bright yellow rose kinda girl, so I mashed all the frosting into a bag with the frosting tip poking through and gave it my all. Well… let’s go ahead and blame the hot weather that day (not my total inexperience or impatience)- the buttercream roses looked like whirlpools of shame and despair, decidedly NOT ROSES. I was too downtrodden to take a photo. Instead, I scraped the icing off the cake and gave it another go with sort of a frilly-lacey/ unintentionally baby shower-esque icing job. Oh, well.
But Hannah seemed pleased and the cake was a hit, probably since everyone was too drunk to notice that it looked like the easter bunny cremated a bunch of Peeps for the frosting. Whatever.
For C’s birthday I had every intention of making another scratch cake with scratch frosting and impressing the pants off him, but that was an epic fail. Not the pants part, the cake part HEY YO. Just kidding. No, planning a surprise party for someone you live with proved to be VERY CHALLENGING INDEED and I made up numerous fake friend-dates when in reality I was running errands to get his stuff taken care of and/or utilizing my absent friend’s kitchen to make enchiladas.
It was the night before his party and I was frantically huffing through the aisles of CostCutter clutching my hand basket packed with party supplies, probably weighing a hefty 18 pounds by then (I refuse to use push carts for absolutely no clear reason)… and right as I started to break a sweat I plopped down in the baking aisle. I had an hour and 45 minutes before I was expected home, and I had to finish shopping, drive to my friend’s house, haul three loads of cookware/groceries into her home (she’s not really kitchen-equipped) and bust out some chicken thigh enchiladas and a cake. Not to mention I had to clean up, wrap everything, haul everything back down to my car and leave a detailed list of instructions to my second friend who was going to pick up the food from the house I was cooking at. So there I was in the baking aisle, and I thought, okay, I’ll by the box mix. BUT GODDAMNIT I WILL MAKE THE FROSTING. But the frosting was just sitting there, right next to the cake mix. It was like… Saaaaaaaaally… I only cost TWO DOLLARS! You’re crazy to pass me up! And I was like, BY GOD, THE FROSTING IS RIGHT! So I bought it, dyed it a zesty lime green and called it done. Again, it went over without a hitch, because at some time in the evening of the party, C was like “Is this from scratch?” and I was like, “……….no. Sorry.” But I don’t think he even heard my response because there were a million happy faces in our house and they all wanted to give him drinks and presents, so there were some good distractions. Plus I tried to cover it up with unnecessary cake decorations, which also seemed to work.
So, moral of the story is this, I suppose: CAKE IS ALWAYS GOOD. Regardless of how hard you try or don’t try. No one’s gonna argue with the fact you made ’em a cake. So there.