Last Wednesday, I was very excited to bake a birthday cake for one of my students. I was a little bit nervous about how the cake would turn out, because I was making a vegan substitution for the eggs, but really, I didn't expect any major problems.
Famous last words, right? I still don't really know what happened - whether I didn't let the cake cool enough before I flipped it out of the pan, whether the applesauce was too wet, or what - but it was pretty obvious that I wasn't going to be decorating and serving that catastrophe of a cake to anyone on their birthday.
Worried that trying the same thing again would only create the same result, I went online (only slightly panicked) to search for vegan cake recipes that wouldn't require a multitude of specialty ingredients that I didn't have on hand...and I found this recipe that looked remarkably simple and straightforward.
Granted, it had ingredients like vinegar - but with an overwhelming majority of good reviews, I decided to give it a try.
Now that's how a cake should look! Look at how round and pretty and whole it is!
So I warmed up the chocolate frosting, poured it on (and magically got it to spread only to the edges in all but one spot without spilling over), and decorated it with some fun round sprinkles I found at the store. Birthday cake crisis averted!
(As a side note, I found out later that this tastes really good. The comments in the reviews about a slightly cornbread-y taste or texture are accurate, interestingly enough - but it's very subtle, and I think the taste could be eliminated completely with a bit more flavor added, perhaps with more vanilla extract.)
Then I was stuck with the question of what to do with this plate of crumbled cake. It tasted delicious, so I knew it wasn't going into the trash...but all I could think to do was drizzle frosting over it and serve as-is.
Until a friend from college mentioned in the status I'd posted on Facebook about my dilemma, "Heard that's what you need to make cake pops." Why yes - yes, it is. So it was that, with a quick refresher from this post I found on Thursday, I had a bowl full of cake and frosting being mixed together...
...and ready to make into cake balls (a more accurate term than pops only because I wasn't putting them on sticks). And yes, I used an ice cream scoop. As yummy as the mix looked, it was also a little too gooey for my fingers that night.
A plate and a half of cake balls later, it was time to cover them in frosting...which I definitely made more complicated than it needed to be.
But hey - all of them got frosted. If I do this in the future, though (intentionally, of course), I would definitely take the cake balls out of the fridge in batches, rather than all of them at once. (Once they sat on the counter for even a few minutes, they got mushy and almost too sticky to handle...and yes, I totally realize how awkward that sentence sounds.)
And in the end, I had a tray full of pretty cake balls to share with my colleagues the next day at our staff placement meeting (which starts with lunch and ends two or three hours later). The flavor of the yellow cake was almost non-existent once the cake got mixed with and doused in chocolate frosting; but if the worst I can say about these is that they tasted too much like chocolate, they turned out pretty well, don't you think?!
So the lesson here is that the next time I have a cake disaster, it's okay to post about it on Facebook - because I have awesome friends who will help me find just the right solution.
Where I am: home
What I'm reading: just finished Beautiful Creatures