Monday, December 8, 2008

Cake Woes

I cannot bake a decent cake to save my life. This sad fact causes me much stress and frustration. It also brings David a lot of grief, because when I'm stressed and frustrated he is, well... grieved. I have this fantasy of baking a perfectly moist and delicious cake from scratch and decorating it beautifully to boot. This has never, I repeat never happened, but for some reason I stupidly keep trying. I always volunteer myself to make a cake for the birthdays in my family. Thankfully, my family is understanding and they always rave over my cakes even though I know full well they're awful.

Sometimes they turn out really dense and tough. I know this probably means I over beat the batter, so that's my fault. But most of the time they just WON'T COOK! Did I mention I'm always cooking them late at night the day before the party? Yeah, that's what causes David grief. I'm sure it's no fun when your wife is having a melt down and throwing cake around at one in the morning, especially when the deal is she cooks, you clean the kitchen.

I blame the cake failures on my oven. There is just no other explanation. I've tried so many different recipes with no luck. Friday was my mom's birthday and she sweetly babysat for Aubrey on her birthday so David and I could go to a Sunday School Christmas party. So I cooked a birthday lunch for her yesterday. I have a Southern Living cookbook that has this delicious looking cake on the cover. I was looking at the recipe and saw that it started with a cake mix. I thought, "I may not be able to make a cake from scratch, but I can certainly handle a cake mix!" So I decided to try it. I baked the cake Saturday morning, and it was supposed to cook for 32 minutes. Well, it was still pure batter after 32 minutes. I ended up cooking the stupid thing for over an hour. I had things to do on Saturday afternoon, and Saturday night we went out with our friends, David and Rebekkah. I came home late Saturday night all ready to ice that baby and go to bed.

I turned the pans upside down and nothing happened. The cakes would NOT come out. I had greased and floured those pans like crazy so I have no idea why they wouldn't come out! I was getting very stressed so I asked David to get them out of the pans while I went into another room and took some deep breaths. He finally announced that he had gotten them out, and I went into the kitchen and freaked out. The only way I can come up with to describe the way those cakes looked was to compare them to a pile of doo doo. Of course David was looking at the clock wanting to go to bed, and tried to tell me they were salvageable. I went over and touched one and the middle was still raw!! After an hour of baking. How is that even possible!? That was the last straw. I picked the darn cake up and chunked in into the sink. It was a great stress reliever. David was non too thrilled.

So I guess I can't even bake a cake that starts with a mix. I love to bake and have no problems with anything else. I baked a cheesecake from scratch for Thanksgiving and it was wonderful. I can bake brownies, cookies, whatever. Just not cakes! Any ideas about why this may be? I'm so frustrated! I told David that I would never bake another cake again and his response was, "Can I get that in writing?"


Rebecca said...

Actually I think it is your oven. It sounds like you have two common problems 1)the cake is still runny and 2)the cake is coarse if it does cook. It sounds like your oven isn't getting hot enough. You should buy an oven thermometer. Some ovens are off by as much as 75 degrees.

Carrie and David said...

Carrie really is an excellent cook. She's never made a bad meal.

David Howie

The Williams Family said...

I just have to say that I very much appreciate the effort and am so sorry to have stressed you out so much. The brownies we ended up having with that wonderful cream cheese frosting were delicious! The lunch was fabulous and we had a great time. I think I know a little something I can now get you for Christmas so I hope you didn't put it in writing! Love, Mom

Ashley said...

You need to talk to my friend Suzanne...I think you read each other's blogs...she's the cake queen! And it's totally okay...there are some things that I'm just not ready/too lazy to attempt in the kitchen. I understand!!!

KTElltt said...

I rarely bake a cake that starts with a mix -- I only know of two recipes that come out right and are tasty. Maybe we need to have a talk? It really could be the oven -- you should test it. Also, do you sift your flour before you measure it? I recommend King Arthur flour -- it is THE BEST baking flour. Let's look at some recipes together, mkay? OH! I also recommend starting early and trying a recipe you've tried before! :)