Monday, May 10, 2010

Betty took this one.

My weekend was more or less about a chocolate cake. It was about other things too (Mother's Day is one notable highlight), but really the cake took center-stage. I decided, for Mother's Day, since I was meeting my mom and my MIL for lunch, that I'd make a homemade chocolate cake. Now I love a Betty Crocker cake from a box, but I was craving a moister, richer cake that had some secret ingredients and some honest-to-goodness chocolate.

I'd checked a cookbook out of the library--a book that had gotten some good reviews, even on a baking blog I frequent, so I thought I'd give the chocolate cake with chocolate frosting a shot. First off, the ingredients were decadent: squares and squares of unsweetened chocolate, coffee, sour cream, lotsa vanilla, butter...I was off to a good start.

So Saturday morning I started making it. First off, I realized I didn't have coffee. Second, my baking powder had expired, and finally, my flour had bugs in it--gross! [Insert a trip to the grocery store.] Ingredients in hand, I started on all the little steps of the process. One didn't work exactly as indicated--my egg yolks never turned light yellow, even after beating several extra minutes--but mostly things went well. Once I slid the cakes into the oven, I looked around the kitchen at all the dirty dishes--all the contributors to this chocolate cake, and I thought, score one for Betty Crocker.

Dish washing ensued.

When the cakes came out of the oven, they were quite dense but smelled delicious. I was excited and started right in on the frosting. More little squares of chocolate, butter, sugar, and vanilla--how can you go wrong, right? Frosting done, I smeared it on the cake...the sturdy, shortish, dense little cake, slid it into the fridge as indicated, and gazed around again at the mess in my kitchen. Score two for Betty.

Dish washing encore. After all that, I was simply exhausted and my back ached...and my shoulder ached from folding egg whites into such a dense batter. (I know, I'm a wimp).

We transported the cake to the restaurant, and when it was time to serve, Butters picked up a table knife. It was all he could do to get it through that cake. Seriously. Arm muscles were bulging. Once served up, it was impossible to tell where the cake ended and the frosting began--it looked like one giant piece of fudge. And was just about as dense and rich.

There was a valiant effort made, but finishing a piece was almost impossible. It was very good but simply too much. Cake eating shouldn't demand any sort of effort. It should be a happy, carefee indulgence. This wasn't.

I'm sorry I strayed, Betty.


Elizabeth said...

I had a horrible chocolate cake experience back in April...I'm a box-cake kind of lady these days :)

David Cranmer said...

My 83 year old mom swears by Betty Crocker and I can testify for the last forty years that it has been a success.

Btw you have made me hungry!

Alyson (New England Living) said...

I totally relate! Having the rich, indulgent stuff is just not worth the effort. I'm lazy.

Loved your description of the end result of the cake! So funny!

Barrie said...

My sister insists on making cakes from scratch. I don't like cake well enough to go to all that trouble. Although I will eat hers!!

Marg said...

Lol! I ten dto rely on cake mixes myself. Just so much easier and tastes pretty good most of the time.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I swear by the Cake Doctor Cookbook. The mix begins EVERY recipe and I've yet to find a dud.

Angie and Brian said...

It was loved at this house. I was the only one of the 4 of us who thought it was over-the-top rich.