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Friday, March 03, 2006

Someone finally brought my cake in from the rain

I’m no cake baker – mostly I’m known for my edible, yet frightening, cake-tastrophes. Like last year’s infamous ho-ho cake, complete with globs of melted marshmallow lurking within (NOT as good as it sounds), or my attempt at grandma’s “famous” Dump Cake (I should’ve taken a cue from the name of this one), or the more recent pineapple upside-down brick. But these failures do not stop me from trying, oh no. There’s something about baking a cake that is so ... exciting – the mixing, whipping, frosting, the satisfying mess it makes out of my kitchen, and the hope that This Time It Will Be Different.

I’m happy to say that This Time It Was. Ben’s birthday cake this year is – not awful! In fact, it’s pretty good. Why? I used a cake mix. And I didn’t try anything fancy. And I bought – GASP – actual cake pans. I have finally learned the secret of baking:

1. Limited improvisation
2. Following of directions
3. The right tools

No recipe here (after all, it’s a mix, with a standard cream cheese-type frosting), so I just thought I’d share this breakthrough with you. The only thing I can take credit for is smearing a little raspberry jam on each layer, which was a good addition.

So thanks, Betty Crocker, you sly fox. I will ignore your artificial flavorings and hydrogenated oils JUST THIS ONCE because you make me feel ... like a natural woman baker.


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