An Epic Cake Baking Disaster

An Epic Cake Baking Disaster

My friend Jeff wrote this very funny story about his one attempt at baking a cake.  I think it is safe to say he learned a lesson about baking.

Tips to help you avoid Cake Baking Failures.

A Baking Nightmare

Recently, while sitting in my chair drinking the last of my breakfast coffee, an idea staggered into my mind. I should confess most thoughts are quite lonesome once they enter my mind, however this one had a nagging component to it.

Experience has taught me I must never ever succumb to these unusual intruders. Whenever I entertain any of them, I’m the one getting charred.  This time was different. Do not ask me how it was different, or how I understood it was different, it simply was. Obviously, recalling I might have been wrong.

The thought that popped up:  I need to bake a cake right now.

I’m sure you are thinking that I would be an idiot to do this.  After all, I don’t know how to bake. When this presented itself to me, I had the same thought.  The more I pondered this, the more wonderfully delicious and entirely possible it sounded. How can anything go wrong?  I am a smart person, how hard is it to bake a cake?  The next part of this process was to figure out what kind of cake ought to I bake.  After a long period of thought (probably 3 seconds), I settled on a lemon sponge cake with some kind of citrus frosting.  This was going to be great and I was ready to make my amazing cake.

Mistake #1-I Ignored The Recipe

Tucked away in a hard to reach location in the kitchen is my better half’s Betty Crocker Cookbook. I don’t know how long she has had this book, it’s been in our kitchen area for as long as I can remember and it’s dusty. Maybe she has used it but I couldn’t tell you when.  I took the book, flopped down in my best thinking chair and cracked it open. Have you ever read a cookbook?  Where are you supposed to start?  From what I could tell it did not have any structure or even common sense in its presentation. After staring at a few pages for a while I decided to just jump in and bake the cake.  Who needs a recipe with complicated instructions to bake a simple cake?

As I returned the book back in its dusty, hidden spot, I thought about the few things I already knew about baking.  I didn’t need a road map or confusing recipe from someone else, even if that someone else was Betty Crocker. This is what separates females from males.  Women want a great deal of instruction and will follow them to the letter.  Males enjoy the liberty of doing their own thing.  I knew precisely what I wanted; a lemon sponge cake, with a citrus frosting.  What could be easier?

KitchenAid Artisan Mixer


Grabbing my trusty KitchenAid stand mixer with its big  bowl, I assembled all the components I required; flour, sugar, eggs, milk and baking powder. Everybody understands you cannot bake without baking powder.  I don’t know anything about baking powder outside of some knowledge that bakers are always talking about it. I put everything in the big mixing  bowl. The only thing I wasn’t rather sure of was the procedure, but how hard could that be anyway? Betty Crocker pointed out a cup of this and a cup of that, but never ever specified in what order these ingredients should added.  Also, we have a lot of cups in our house, which one is Betty talking about?

I went to the cupboard and took a look at all the cups. There were all kinds and sizes of cups and I did not have a clue as to which one I should use.  I grabbed a big coffee cup and decided that this cup will do just fine.  I threw 6 or 8 cups of flour into the mixing bowl, I can’t remember how many cups because I got distracted. Then I split a dozen eggs and put that into the blending bowl also. Putting a quart of milk into the mixing bowl, I whipped everything into a good batter.

Mistake #2-I Ignored The Cookbook

I had decided that this was to be lemon sponge cake but I was unable to find any lemon in the kitchen cabinets. In a panic I opened the fridge and discovered a quart of lemonade.  Seemed like I was saved, I had found my lemon.  I put my creation into the biggest cake pan that we had.  Before I put my into the oven, I remember the baking powder. I couldn’t remember if I had actually added any to the batter.  Will a cake bake properly if it doesn’t include baking powder?

Thinking I would play it safe I put the cake pan down.  I got the baking powder and liberally sprinkled it on top of my batter. I have no idea what baking powder does but to play it safe I put a decent amount on my cake to guarantee perfect results.  Into the oven the cake went, and I wisely turned the temperature to 450 degrees.  It dawned on me that this was a huge cake so I cranked the temperature level to 650.

The larger the cake the hotter the oven made perfect sense to me.

Now all I needed to do was await my cake to bake. As I was waiting, I heard rumblings coming from the oven.  I wasn’t too worried, I just assumed those were common noises when an excellent cake is baking.  I think I dropped off to sleep, because the next thing I knew there was an odd odor permeating the air. It smelled a little smoky and a bit harsh.  In my fog I realized that the smell meant that my cake was done baking.

Cake Baking Disasters

What I took out of the oven did not look like any cake I had actually ever seen. It appeared like a charred pancake, two times the size of the cake pan, with some type of disease on the surface.  No amount of peanut butter icing in the world could camouflage this catastrophe.  It was about this time I started reassessing the idea of reading instructions. Perhaps directions have a function after all.

To live right without getting scorched you need the right directions.  Follow the recipe!