Culinary Attempts #1

So I make pies. A previous iteration of this blog suggested “Books. Pies. Stories.” which is still not that bad.

Anyhow, I thought I’d bake today. It’s the first day of vacation.

I made a pumpkin pie for a family in my congregation that needs some home-baked goodness. Behold!

Crisco/butter crust and pumpkin pie recipe from Art of the Pie by Kate McDermott–I highly recommend you buy this book because it is incredible.

There was a little wiggle in the middle when I pulled it out, as it should be. It’s orange. There’s one little fissure because I grazed it with a spoon by accident. And the crust is imperfect yet browned–I’m happy.

So I also thought I’d make a checkerboard cake, or try to. I make pies–I’m not a big cake baker. But I looked up a recipe for a vanilla cake, and a chocolate cake, and a buttercream frosting, and here it is:

HAHAHA! Just kidding. Here’s the real disaster:

Yup, ran out of frosting. This is right before I tossed it out.

So I learned a few things in this process–and this is a learning process, I want to bake, and baking is a practice just like a musical instrument, or a fruitful prayer life.

  1. Get recipes for cakes from the same source. I found a guaranteed light and fluffy vanilla cake recipe, that never fails and is like angel cake–and it was! And it could not hold up to being sliced up (more on that in a bit). I found a deep, dark chocolate cake that looked great and also was dense–so there wasn’t a lot of balance. Lesson learned–same source, two recipes.
  2. Let the cakes cool completely. This one should go without much further explanation–I was in a rush for no discernible reason, and I went too fast, and then paid for it.
  3. Make too much frosting, not too little. I thought I should double the recipe, and didn’t. And then I ran out at that little dollop up top. (I should also not sample said frosting as much as I have. I may have had pretzel chips dipped in frosting for lunch. This, after I hit 217 pounds today! I am a complex and lovable human becoming, okay?
  4. Remove the middle ring from the outer ring before cutting the inner ring. Otherwise, the middle ring won’t come out right, and will break, and then there will be pieces crumbling and collapsing and the whole thing’s a chaotic, delicious circus.
  5. Clean up, see what went right and what went wrong, and move on. It’s okay to have a baking fail–it’s great, even, because I did something I’ve never done before. I didn’t do it well, but hey, cake is still cake. I’ll focus on only cakes some day, and not have a pie in the midst. And I’ll definitely focus on pies some day, because I’m so much better at making them.

But behold: you can see a little bit of what was supposed to happen, right? RIGHT?!

There is a clear checkerboard pattern in this autopsy photo!

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