If Julia Child Can Drop a Chicken on Camera

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I woke up Sunday morning with this vision in my head for that day’s project – Mark’s birthday cake . A tradition in our household carried over from when Mark was growing up: angel food cake topped with whipped cream and sprinkled with crushed peppermint candies.

As baked confections go, this is not a complicated pastry, no one is going to win the Meilleur Ouvrir de France competing with it. As long as you remember to buy enough eggs (12 egg whites!) and are ready to take out any aggression crushing hard peppermint candies on your kitchen counter (I used a rolling pin and contained the candies in ziplock bag), it’s a simple but delicious and festive cake. Easy! I’ve done this before many times and have dabbled with more ambitious cakes recipes. No problem! So, maybe I was feeling overly self-confident, or maybe our relaxing weekend had relaxed my brain a little too much, or maybe I shouldn’t have had that beer while mixing the batter, whatever the reason, this was the end result:

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Apparently, Julia Child’s advice to have the “courage of you convictions!” whenever you flip something won’t help you  if you don’t support the center  of a tube pan when it’s upside down, balanced on four upturned glasses – especially if it has a removable bottom. None of your convictions will stop the piping hot center of the pan to slowly detach from the pan and slide downward, taking the cake along with it to land in a messing lump on the kitchen counter, as you watch in frozen horror.

After we had carefully scooped the cake back into the pan – at this point, having the cake cool upside down so that it didn’t lose its shape was moot – Mark assured me that it still looked delicious. I broke off a chunk, put a big dollop of whipped cream, garnished it with more crushed peppermint candies and wished him  a very happy birthday.

It was delicious!

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It’s at times like these when I console myself with the thought that kitchen disasters happen to the best of them: Cleanup in Aisle 4!.

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