Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Baking Ain't For Sissies

What you see here is an angel food cake that started out with great hopes and expectations and ended in utter disaster.

Why, you might ask, is The Slow Cook making angel food cake? Shouldn't he be out tending his garden?

The short of it is, we had a freezer full of frozen egg whites from months of recipes calling mostly for egg yolks. The plan was to convert these whites into angel food cakes that I could deliver to the kids in my "food appreciation" classes as an end-of-year treat.

The first blunder was dumping a four-cup container of egg whites into the blender bowl. Somehow I had it in my head that this constituted one dozen eggs. In fact, four cups (almost) equates to 24 egg whites--something that was clearly indicated on the label my wife had affixed to the container. I soon realized my error when the eggs white under influence of a rapidly beating blender began overflowing the bowl.

After reading the recipe several times and having gotten the procedure more or less fixed in my head, my wife intervened, urging me to measure out the ingredients for both of the two cakes I had in mind, rather than doing them each separately. This is how time is saved in a busy kitchen, she intoned.

Not only did I measure out the dry ingredients for two cakes, I mixed them all together. But by some fiendish trick of physics, two cups of double-sifted cake flour mixed with three cups of granulated sugar does not result in five cups of material. Questioning my own sanity at this point, and after a brief huddle with the baking-expert wife, I decided that I must have forgotten two of the three cups of sugar, so I added two more.

This is how you end up with a sticky, treacly sweet angel food puddle rather than the light, fluffy angel food cake we had in mind. Make that two cakes down the drain.

Kids, I hope you like pound cake from Whole Foods.


The Baklava Queen said...

Is that what you call a fallen angel food cake, Ed? ;-)

Ramona said...

I'm laughing with you, not at you! This reminds me of the time I tried to make a cake that required pudding mix, but needs to be cooked in a crock pot. My crock pot couldn't fit the cake insert, so I baked it in the oven. Your last sentence pretty much summed it up-except it was hollow inside. To this day, I don't know where the inside of that cake went!

Joanna said...

We've all been there ... funny how it always seems to be when there's more than the usual amount of ingredients. Was it useable for something like a trifle? Or just fit for the bin?


Christine said...

I remember making making some yeasted bread that turned into something from a B horror movie and kept crawling inexorably out of the pan and filling the inside of the oven. I was a little afraid to open the door, lest it take over the whole kitchen!

Debbie said...

I love angel food cake so I was excited to read your post. Then I had to chuckle and took comfort in knowing that I am not the only one who has cooking disasters. My kids (who are now adults) still talk about the pizza dough I attempted to make from scratch - let's just say it wasn't pretty. Let's hope I have better luck tonight as I attempt to make our dinner with only local ingredients - this will be an adventure!

Ed Bruske said...

Jennifer, you are such a punster. It looked beautiful coming out of the oven. Even my wife had hopes for the second one. But as soon as we turned it upside-down to cool, it started yielding to gravity. What a mess.

Ramona, I'm glad I could supply a laugh. We cooks can get awfully cocky, a really dramatic failure is due once in a while. But I stree: I am not the baker in the family. And my wife--who is the baker in the family--pretty much stood on the sidelines and watched this one happen. I think she got a good laugh out of it as well.

Joanna, this mess was so horribly sweet, I think the only use for it was as some kind of weapon. And the sides of the cake pans were coated with it. It was pretty horrible--and very sticky.

Debbie, this reminds me more of the tamale dough we tried to make one time. I posted about it last year. But same thing, like a Three Stooges sketch. It just kept rising up and over the top of the mixing bowl.
Christine, that sounds like some powerful yeast. Maybe you should bottle it.