WHAT happened?

So, Clay’s birthday is today.  And I made a cake.  Sort of.  Please look at the picture and tell me if this isn’t the WORST cake you’ve EVER seen in your life!  WHAT in the world happened?????

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You’re probably thinking that Evelyne got to the cake and shoved her hands inside of it.  Nope.  THIS, dear readers, is what the cake looks like now that I just finished icing it.  Yep.

First of all, this is not my first attempt to bake a cake.  I’ve made many cakes in my life, baked and iced.  They wouldn’t win any prizes or anything, but they were never looked bad.  So understandably I wasn’t assuming that this one particular attempt would have any problems.  I DON’T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED.  I followed the directions on the box.  I cooked for the recommended amount of time and made sure it was done in the middle before taking it out of the oven.  Now I did leave them to cool in the pans rather than immediately flip them out to cool, but would that really cause such problems?  Both round cakes fell apart coming out of the pans, but I pieced them back together and thought, “Hey, no biggie, that’s what icing’s for, right?”  Well, with every stroke of my iced knife, a chunk of cake would rip off.  It was like the cake was too moist, the icing wouldn’t spread, it just stayed in a lump on the knife and the cake ripped every time I touched it.  So I pretty much resorted to using my fingers and dolloping-out the icing to somewhat cover all the bare spots just so there would at least be the taste of icing if not the look.  The final tumble of that big chunk came just as I was finishing….as though the cake was mocking me.

Really, I don’t know what happened!  I followed the directions just like I always do!  It was Pillsbury for pete’s sake!  I’ve done this a million times!!!  I have never in my life seen a cake so utterly impossible to ice!!!  Please, someone tell me what went wrong!!!

*And the worst part is that I’m about to take my gestational diabetes test in a couple of hours and I’m not allowed to eat anything, especially sugar, so I couldn’t lick-off all the chocolate icing that was covering my hands!!!!

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12 responses to “WHAT happened?

  1. Hey! If you dip your knife in warm water before icing, it goes on smooth. Just keep dipping it in water bewteen blobbing out the icing and it won’t tear up the cake. Also, if you make the cakes and freeze them in their pans (ahead of time), thaw them, and then plop them out of the pan, they come 0ut perfectly without breaking apart AND they are really moist!

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  2. Could it be the altitude? Is Seattle in the mountains? (i really don’t know my geography…)

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  3. erica’s right- that does help (both suggestions) flip the cake out after about ten minutes of cooling- i set the timer. what kind of icing are you using? if it’s canned, that could be the problem. not enough stirring? i make an easy buttercream icing (learned in the Wilton cake making classes at Michaels- totally has saved me tons of money in b-day cakes, now that i know how to make my own and decorate them) and the buttercream can be thinned out in order to be able to spread easier. let me know if you want the recipie (you could probably google it) or it could be altitude. ask a neighbor. i’m sure the cake was wonderful tasting. but yeah, it’s pretty ugly! we all have cooking flops. happy birthday to clay!

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  4. That really just made my night. Are you sure you didn’t make up ingredients and throw them in because you didn’t have what you needed. It made me think of how you did that for a brunch or something along those lines. I think you should tell that story again if you have time. I thought it was hilarious.

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  5. Well, I’m happy to report that the cake at least tasted good despite its appearance! I did use a canned icing, and although that’s never been a problem for me before, I wonder if this one was harder because it had itty bitty chocolate chips in it. Too much friction? And I did stir it up, but maybe just not enough. I’ll take your tips next time. =)
    Emily–I’m sure you probably are referring to the time I tried to make a sour cream coffee cake with cottage cheese? While at the same time trying to be healthy by using wheat flour instead of white and half of the recommended sugar? Yep, it was a pretty thick, wheaty, non-sweet mess with a bunch of white chunks in it! Not a hit at the brunch! Haha!

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  6. Ha ha!! I’m laughing so hard right now. I’m not sure you could be any cuter. I was thinking the same thing Kristen said– the altitude. When I spent time in Missoula, we had to play by different cooking rules entirely. Email Laurie, she could help.

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  7. Emily – I am so glad you brought up the cottage cheese cake incident! You beat me to it! Definitely my favorite “Emily Cooking Story”…I am still smiling as I remember cutting into that coffee cake (that smelled great by the way!) and seeing white chunks…hah!!

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  8. I’ll bet it’s the altitude. I screwed up pecan pie at my inlaws in the CA high desert b/c of the altitude. The birthday cake that you made for me this past summer was fabulous. It was pretty AND tasted good.

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  9. Has someone mentioned this already? You probably needed a “crumb layer”. Spread a very thin layer of icing down and don’t worry if there’s crumbs in it a bit, let it “harden” or “dry” or whatever it’s called, then go back and finish icing. You should be able to spread the rest of the frosting without it picking up cake and gettin’ all funky.

    I betcha it still tasted good though. 🙂

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  10. that is the funniest cake i have ever seen. i especially love that i can just about guess what you were saying while you iced it and that you saw it through to…completion. happy birthday, clay. nothing says it better than that cake!

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  11. hi,to th
    I grew up watching my mom bake cakes and I cannot make one, I always end up with a mess…until recently. Bundt cakes are the only kind I can make without them falling apart, I don’t know why. Anyway, I quit using the cooking spray because the cake always stuck to the pan. I started greasing the pan with Crisco and coating it in flour…no more problems.

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  12. sorry for the screw up in the comment I made…I didn’t see it until I hit submit.

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