Monday, January 30, 2012

The Birthday Cake Chronicles

This should really be titled "The Pound Cake Chronicles" since these disasters have only happened whilst I've been making my husband's birthday cake every year--and his birthday cake request is always pound cake, specifically, "The" Pound Cake. And, alas, there's been another culinary tragedy this year, although I've switched up the recipes (gasp! more on that in a minute).

Let me bring you up to speed: the original recipe requires a mere 20 minutes of mixing.... In the early days, I didn't have a mixer, so the hubs and I earned a zillion WW activity points by mixing this baby by hand. Not really a tragedy, but definitely an ordeal.

Fast forward to the simple hand mixer days... and through two or three of those that burned up whilst mixing the cake. One noteworthy incident happened shortly after our daughter was born: the mixer had died just days before on cookies and my engineering husband viewed this as a problem to solve: use the drill with the beaters attached. (Just for the record, it works!)

One time, I'd made a beautiful specimen and we'd gone outside to grill (since the power had just gone out from an ice storm, leaving us in darkness and unable to cook the big birthday dinner--this was on his 30th birthday and we'd had to postpone the party). Anyway, we were outside boiling a pot of noodles on the grill for spaghetti (I told you, I'm married to an engineer--no problem is too great). Upon returning to our warm indoors, we noticed the greatest tragedy to date: a full half of the cake had been consumed by our butter-loving large Rottweiler-lab mix, Carver. He was immediately banished to the frozen wasteland outside whilst I cried my eyes out (it had been a rather trying weekend, and I found out that Monday that I was pregnant--which probably explains both the fatigue and the tears :-) ).

This year, I decided to try a "simple" lemon pound cake that only makes 1 loaf pan's worth--no need for ice cream either. See... it sounds a smidge healthier. After all, you can't make a "light" pound cake because the definition of this cake is the large amounts of butter and eggs called for. But reducing the ice cream and sheer volume of cake-to-be-eaten sounds like a step in the right direction.

The lemon version needs a lemon glaze. You make this lemon glaze while the cake is cooling by simmering lemon juice and sugar in a small pot... which I proceeded to do earlier today. I stepped away from the kitchen while the glaze was heating ... and heard a loud "crack!" Oh no--fearing the worst (and oh, no, it was even worse--I'd feared that the glass cake pan had cracked--that would have been a pain, but easily replaceable), I ran back to the kitchen. AAGGHH.... one of my precious-used-almost-daily-stone-bar-pans was on the stove, and I'd turned on the wrong burner. (sigh) Time to track down a Pampered Chef rep since the pan is now in about 5 pieces.... I'm sure the cake will be yummy--they've always been yummy.

So, stay tuned this time next year--we'll see if January 30th brings me yet another culinary disaster in 2013.

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