The Christmas Cake Disaster Of ’93

No, this isn’t the Christmas cake of ’93, but a cake I made some weeks ago. I do have a confession to make…it’s from a box. Not that there is anything wrong with making a cake from a box mind you. I truly wanted to make one from scratch, but *sigh* I got nervous. My husband has a sweet tooth and he loves cake. So I really wanted to make him one. I went to the grocery store with every intention of picking up the right ingredients to make a lovely cake…..but the flash backs started…I got all sweaty and before I knew it, I was going down the isle where the boxed cakes and cookies were. That little voice in my head all the while whispering…” giiiirl you better grab one of these and start slow because remember the cake incident.” So I grabbed one and headed for the check out, debating if I should call my mom for some baking help.

My Mom is a great baker as was my grandmother. I remember as a kid, I would be in the kitchen watching her as she cooked dinner or was making her homemade pie crust for a delicious dessert. She makes the best pies. My grandmother’s pound cake was legendary. Her homemade fudge was a rich, chocolaty goodness that would make you swoon. There is even a cake recipe from my great-grandmother that is still talked about. So really, you would think I would have inherited the baking gene…..but sadly, no. That gene just said skippidy-do-da-dahling and passed me right by. I did try to make a cake from scratch once.

It was 1993 and I had just started cooking and discovering how much I loved it. My dishes were pretty good too if I do say so myself. So, armed with my Martha Stewart Living magazine, I decided to try to make a spiced Christmas cake I had seen in the magazine. My parents were out of the house so I was going to surprise them….and what a surprise it was, but not in the way I had it pictured in my head. I followed the recipe to the letter. Made the batter and poured it into the baking pans, placed them into the oven, set the timer and waited……

I didn’t have too long to wait until the kitchen started smoking. I opened the oven door and the cake batter had over flowed and ran to the bottom of the oven. In the process of pulling them out, my pot holders caught on fire, I threw the baking pans onto the stove so I could throw the holders into the sink….said baking pans hit my favorite recipe holder and it broke. The fire alarm started going off and there was this ugly black burned spot on the back splash from the oven. I had to open the windows…and it was freezing outside. Right at that very moment my parents walk in. Mom looks around the kitchen and says….”oh…you’ve been baking haven’t you?”

So that was the last of the cake baking for me. I know what you’re thinking, I should just keep trying until I get better at it…. practice makes perfect right?

So back to the present and the boxed cake mix. After warning my dear hubby, I mixed the cake batter….on a side note, cake batter being flung at high speeds by a hand mixer can get into the strangest places….and poured it into the prepared pans. This time I remembered my mom’s warning…”make sure the cake pan is the right size“. So, with a silent prayer, I slid them into the oven. This was it….in 30 to 35 minutes I was either once again going to be defeated by the baking gods or claim victory and dig in to some lemony goodness ( I forgot to mention it was a vanilla lemon cake). I left the kitchen waiting to hear the timer of the oven…..and every now and then sneaking a fearful glance in the oven window to see if it was running over.

After the allotted time I noticed there wasn’t any smoke….Yes! I took out those beautiful looking cake rounds, and with toes crossed…. I couldn’t cross my fingers because they were busy holding the cake pans…. I turned them out onto a cooling rack. Another victory was made because it slid perfectly from the pans and did not stick. I think I even shed a tear or two. After the cooling time, I placed it on the pretty cake stand that I had found in a closet…..not really sure how the cake stand got there and where it came from, but it was pretty and I was going to use it. I proceeded to ice the cake, with a result of a little sugar high from tasting that lemon icing every few minutes…and no, I did not lick the icing from the spatula that I was using. I know there are a few of you out there that might have read that and thought…..eew…and I would have been one of you….just saying.

This was the end result. I do have to say it doesn’t look too bad. The important part is that it tasted great and hubby and I were happy.

I can say, this has given me the confidence to bake a little more. maybe even make one from scratch. As my mom keeps telling me, practice makes perfect. So, maybe you will find more posts of my baking accomplishments…..or mayhem , but I’m rooting for the successful ones.


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