This weekend I reached the threshold of my domestic goddessism, and it looked like inside of a Bundt pan.
First, in case you’re new here, a disclaimer: I am the self-proclaimed queen of uncrafty and I rarely bake, so the space we’re talking about is pretty tight already. Claustrophobic. But I set a mean table and we entertain frequently enough that my family knows the lead-in to these situations. Which looks a little like this:
(For the record, Mike could only watch the first 30 seconds of this video before muttering something about PTSD and leaving).
“I want this place looking like Disney on Ice in one minute.” Chris Fleming, you’re my hero.
We hosted a dessert open house for my mom’s 70th birthday Sunday. The day before, when I was dipping dried chunks of fruit in chocolate, envisioning a tasteful display on my Pampered Chef stacked desert plates that normally collect dust and overripe fruit on my counter, Colin was watching me.
“I hope one day we’re doing this for Grandma’s hundredth birthday.”
Isn’t that sweet? Of course, considering I’ll be in my 70s by that time, I dang well better have the afternoon off.
I’m not into cakes, but on occasion I pull out a recipe for Finnish tiger cake, or Tiikerkkakku, that’s easier to bake than to pronounce. Plus it’s more impressive than my normal-dump-a-box-of-something-into-a-pan thing and not too sweet.
But we’re all on one version of a diet or another in this household, so I decided to be clever and cut the obscene amount of butter and eggs in the recipe by half, using applesauce instead.
Which is how I found out what happens when you replace an obscene amount of butter and eggs in a cake recipe with applesauce. You may reduce the number of calories, sure. Maybe you get a little moister cake – a bonus. You also get a cake that’s supposed to taste like chocolate with a hint of orange, but actually tastes like …
Wait for it …
I know. Crazy, right?
If I had wanted applesauce flavor, I would have Googled a recipe for applesauce-flavored cake. I wouldn’t have spent an hour making Tiikerkkakku. I wouldn’t have squeezed juice and grated orange zest and mixed cocoa into half the dough and layered it all in a pan and then shushed everybody for fifty minutes so the thing wouldn’t collapse on itself in the oven. No.
In fact, skip the cake. If I had wanted applesauce, I would have opened an ever-loving jar of it, plugged my nose, unhinged my jaw and shotgunned that crap right in front of the open fridge. Because no one over the age of 18 months and with a full set of teeth otherwise willingly eats a jar of mushed apples.
But applesauce-flavored cake wasn’t even the worst of my baking kerfuffle.
I envisioned a beautiful table set up, the centerpiece for which would be the lovely Tiikerkkakku, a couple pieces carved out and displayed, their layers of chocolate and orange proclaiming my prowess in the kitchen. I set out the tablecloth and washed and stacked the dessert plates in my little stacker thing, and let myself pretended for a moment half the guests that afternoon wouldn’t be adolescents, who would make a mess of anything edible after one pass through the dining room, leaving the place looking like the landscape in a Mad Max movie, but with more crumbs.
I would have taken a picture of my lovely fruit salad and my chocolate covered dried fruit chunks and my Finnish cake and shared it on social media and God and everyone else would know that I am a domestic diva for now and all time, and it wouldn’t even matter if that cake tasted like applesauce.
But Mr. Bundt Pan had other plans.
Don’t tell me all that’s necessary for a successful Bundt extraction is butter and flour. I will come get you and smack you in the gob. That damn pan was so greased, I could have shot it through a keyhole at ten paces, and not only was there a layer of flour on top of that when I was done with it, but on pretty much on every surface in my kitchen as well.
Maybe it was the applesauce, maybe I was supposed to bake the thing longer with the alterations to the recipe, maybe Mercury was in retrograde. I don’t know. This is what I ended up with:
I would like to state for the record that whoever this Bundt clown is, who pioneered the use of his precious pan to destroy the lives of would-be cake bakers for centuries to come, he must have been one sadistic dude, or else he had not one smidgen of a clue how those lovely scalloped and alternately intricately creased and curved edges would hold onto a cake like crazy glue. I would like to look that guy up and clean his clock.
Fortunately for all involved, I had a backup plan – er, husband, who ran to the store for me and loaded up my stacking desert plates with macaroons and lemon bars. Domestic diva status restored. I managed to salvage a few pieces of undamaged Tiikerkkakku to set out on a plate.
Take that Mr. Bundt, you sadistic a-hole.
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