I Baked An Ugly Cake: @#$%&*!
My husband told me that the other night I sat up in my sleep and blurted out, "I wanna make a cake!" and then promptly rolled over and returned to my slumber. I have no recollection of this. However, I believe him because yesterday my schedule was wide open and that's all I really wanted to do. So around 12pm I finally gave into the craving and set off to the local market to hunt down all the gluten-free ingredients I needed. I have never baked a cake before...unless you count fun-fetti that comes in a box.
But not only did I want to bake a cake...I wanted it to look like the ones below:
Surely I could easily enter the bliss of cake making and/or styling like the very talented women above. I do not mean to make light of their talent...because they are honestly masters of creating beauty. However, for some reason I thought..."Sure! This will be easy. I'll put on some Ella Fitzgerald and a polka dot apron and I will June Cleaver this shit up!". If my mom or mother in law are reading, please excuse the language.
After wandering the grocery aisles like the "The Walking Dead" searching for xantham gum, I finally returned home ready to embark on the grand culinary experience. I announced to my husband (who is bed ridden at the moment with a thrown out back) that I was going to make him an amazing cake. He smiled in apprehensive approval...and looked a little bit afraid.
Ella Fitzgerald music on. Check.
Ingredients laid out creatively and "styled" at a bird's eye view for photo opts. Check.
Polka dot apron in place. Check.
Rustic antique cake stand awaiting. Check.
"I am going to rock this! Beautiful vintage inspired cake with locally made organic ingredients here I come!" I thought to myself.
Turns out, gluten free flour mixes are amazingly complicated. Also, I'm not very well aquainted with a sifter. Let's just say there were lots of flour "poofs" stretching up to our kitchen ceiling. Guess what else...I'm terrible at cracking eggs. Another finding, eating the cake batter along the way...BAD idea. That will give you a pretty epic stomach ache. Oh, another confession? I look like a jackass in a polka dot apron....but it was worth a shot ;) It's also very hard to take pictures of things WHILE you are cooking.
The whole experience resembled a cliche' cooking diaster scene from a romantic comedy. Only it was real.
Yet, despite all these discoveries I kept my focus...all the while desperately taking photos with egg and sugar covered hands for the sake of the "DIY" experience I had planned for my blog. Because everyone "styles" their mixing spoons and indgredients in such a way that is worthy of Real Simple Magazine right? And we ALL have airy white walls and lace doilies delicately folded in the corners of our kitchens. Sure we do, right next to our vintage copy of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Well, actually I got my copy at Costco....when the movie came out. I'm actually not sure if it's a picture of Julia Child on the back or Meryl Streep. No matter! Onward and upward!
I managed to get the consistencies correct after a stressful experience triple checking the gluten free recipe...and when I pulled the cakes out of the oven...they looked pretty good. "Awesome...my camera may be ruined and covered in butter...but at least these cakes look sweet" said I to my stressed out self.
Now it came time to make the frosting. I was determined to color the frosting a delicate mint green, because then it would match my blog banner. Yes, you read that correctly. It wouldn't taste very good if it didn't MATCH my JARFLY blog, after all. Heck, who cares if it tasted good! I just wanted it to LOOK good. So to work I went...carefully testing drops of food coloring in water (which doesn't really help unless you are dying easter eggs).
Long story short, I mixed the frosting wrong and forgot to add the butter. Then I realized I was out of butter. Back to the store I went. When I came home, I realized I was short on powdered sugar. After a slight mental breakdown...my husband hobbled to the store and came back with more powdered sugar. With which I managed to finally get the proper consistency with.
Two green drops of food coloring later...BAM. Minty green frosting. YAY! Now I just need to frost the cake and put it on the 1940's cake stand. Easy enough.
I sort of forgot that unless you let the cake totally cool...the frosting kind of melts everywhere. I also managed to place the cakes on top of each other upside down...making a fairly hefty crease in the middle...on which the frosting just rolled off of. In summary...my frosted cake looked like it had been puked on. And the lovely vintage cake stand was COVERED and I mean COVERED in frosting. Top to bottom. It looked like a complete nightmare.
By this time it was 9pm and I had completely lost my natural light to even take a photo. Of the alien cake.
So I threw it in the fridge...sat down on the kitchen floor....and cried. Yes. I cried over a cake. "How will I ever gain 3,000 unique visitors a month to JARFLY if I can't bake a gluten-free vintage mint cake and style it like Martha Stewart!" I wailed at the heavens, "And for the love how long can my camera possibly sit with dried egg on it before it ceases to work!"
This was all so very sad since I even had a "Happy Birthday" banner looking-cake topper thingy to similuate an actual birthday decor idea. I taped the hell out of it and figured I could photoshop the imperfections. I even figured I could photoshop the whole darn cake!
This morning I got up extra early to see if I could salvage the over-frosted monster in the fridge. I managed to scrape it to a point where it looked kinda okay (see above)...but I forgot that my husband and I had snuck two big pieces late the night before...so there was a chunk missing from the back. I decided this problem could be fixed by throwing a flower on top of the cake. Plop. Missing pieces "camouflaged".
But here's how I felt looking at the cake...which had literally taken up my ENTIRE Tuesday.
I came to realize that not only was this whole experience pretty ridiculous....but that of course I set myself up for failure from the get-go. I wanted to look like other people....I was modeling myself after them. The fact is...I WANT to be a "design blog"...the kind that inspires people to want to bake a cake...like the blogs listed at the beginning of my post do for me. Truth be told...if I'm to accomplish this, I'll need to do it my own unique way. Of course, this is wrapped up in being myself. It also has a lot to do with patience.
I did notice one thing...I had more fun writing this post about my mis-adventures in the kitchen than I've had writing posts in months.
Maybe I'll never reach that goal of being a widely known design blog...because just maybe...that's not really what I'm good at. Or perhaps I'm very good at it. All of that is unfolding. But I'll tell you one thing...that green monster cake I created?
It tasted darn good....terrible frosting and all. I know because I'm currently eating it, as I type this.
I guess I better go put my living room back together. I moved all the furniture around just to get that perfect white wall to take the photo above in front of. Ha...have a great week everyone. IF you can relate to this...I would LOVE to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.