A Note, On Biting Off More Than You Can Chew.

Over the weekend, I learned a Very Important Lesson™ in time management, crisis control, and making the best out of a kitchen roughly the size of the kitchen on a nuclear submarine.  Actually, I just Googled it, and my kitchen is way smaller than that.

It’s tiny, is what I’m getting at.

I had promised in my very first post that I would be sure to share the attempts that went wrong, and this is one of those.  I had an order for Saturday delivery – 2 dozen Mojito Cupcakes, and 2 smash cakes.  Not an absurd request by any stretch of the imagination!  My plan was to bake the cakes on Friday evening, and have time on Saturday to frost them at my leisure.  Went grocery shopping after work on Friday, got myself a cake leveler – so far, so good.  Had dinner with Fiancébot, came home, did my mise en place and got ready to go to work.

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The optimistic “this will be a GREAT lead-in picture!” shot

Cupcakes went first, because they’re far more labor intensive than a basic white cake.  Led Zeppelin playing (Black Country Woman, a particular fave of mine), things going well – cool, cool, should be an easy night.  I got my first dozen into the oven, patted myself on the back for being so great…and then realized that while I had doubled every other part of the recipe, I forgot to double the eggs.  There, on my counter, were the 2 eggs in question, that I had simply neglected to include.

THERE WAS MUCH PANIC.  The worst kind of panic.  The, “Oh my God why do I even bother baking I am the worst I am unworthy I will never step foot in a kitchen ever again don’t look at me” kind of panic.  They came out of the oven like sad spongy little mistakes, and there was only one solution as I couldn’t well charge for something made wrong.

A moment of silence.
A moment of silence.

That’s right.  Trashed.  There was no saving them, they were too mushy to even dream of supporting frosting on top of them. My darling Fiancébot – Mike, who is not an actual robot – won MVP of Forever by a.) not running horrified from my meltdown and b.) heading out to the grocery store to buy me more mint, limes, and buttermilk.  And some energy drinks, because I had wasted a whole hour and a half with this little fiasco.

Did my mise all over again, remembered the damn eggs, got to the point where it was time to scoop the batter into the cups and realize, in my frantic panic to not forget the eggs, I FORGOT TO DOUBLE THE SUGAR.  OKAY NOW LET’S THROW A FULL ON, EMBARRASS YOUR PARENTS IN THE SHOPPING MALL TANTRUM.  There was no turning back at that point, I had to make do with what I had.  I channeled all of my ancestral baking talent (which is a thing?), tasted the batter, added the sugar right at the 11th hour and hoped for the best – second guessing myself the entire time because OBVIOUSLY I SHOULD NOT BE IN A KITCHEN, JEEZ.

You know what?  They actually turned out awesome.  Not having the full amount of sugar in the cakes actually made the rum and mint stand out a little more, and that’s good for an adult cake.  The glaze and frosting made it even less noticeable, and they were structurally sound enough to support a big ol’ pile of boozy buttercream.

So what’s the point of sharing this colossal screw-up with you all?  Well, to show you that stuff happens.  My Dad is a certified Personal Chef, and even he has had to trash a recipe and start from scratch.  These kinds of things happen, to everyone, and that’s really okay!  It’s up to you if you want to meltdown and give up (me) or get up and try again (also me).  Baking can be hard as hell, it’s just your call how you roll with the punches.

To end this on a positive note, my smash cakes turned out awesome and without any trauma.  White cake, cannoli cream filling (which, OMG YOU GUYS I will definitely make again and post the recipe because it was unreal and I was literally eating the leftovers with a spoon) and a classic vanilla buttercream.  I’ve never decorated a cake before, never torted a cake, never done a crumb coating – and it turned out beautiful.

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2 of the 4 inch (teeny tiny!) rounds I found, torted and separated by that INSANELY GOOD cannoli cream.
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Crumb coating on – I let the cakes sit in the fridge for about 10 minutes to harden up while I mixed my colors and set up my piping bags.
Ta-da! Not bad for a winging it, "I think this is what cakes look like right?" frosting attempt.
Ta-da! Not bad for a winging it, “I think this is what cakes look like right?” frosting attempt.

So, if you decide you want to try a recipe and you end up making something wrong, it’s okay!  Try to laugh about it afterwards, otherwise you’ll drive yourself crazy.

-Nicole

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