A few days ago, one of my cousins came over to my house (unannounced) to use my kitchen to bake a cake for her friend’s birthday dinner. The dinner was at 8pm and she came over at 5pm. And I looked at her and asked her, “Are you crazy?”
She replied, “I’m using a box mix and a few extra ingredients. Shouldn’t take that long. But I’ll be making the chocolate frosting from scratch”. She took out the box mix, a slab of butter (still cold), sour cream (also cold) and went to my fridge to retrieve four eggs (cold, of course) and then asked if I had baking chocolate. I told her where it was and asked if she needed my help. She said no. I gave it to her anyway, “Darling, you really need to wait for everything to come to room temperature and are you sure that cake mix needs sour cream?” She replied she didn’t have the time and she read somewhere that adding sour cream to a cake mix helps make the cake more moist. This had the makings of a disaster written all over it.
Ten minutes later I come back to see her mixing batter and adding an entire bag of chocolate chips into it. I told myself, let it be. I come back again after ten minutes cos I’m worried about my kitchen. I see two cake pans in the oven baking away and I see my cousin using the mixer to make the frosting. She keeps adding cup after cup of icing sugar (unsifted by the way). She asks me to taste the frosting, I did and told her it was okay. And she adds another two cups of icing sugar…
Eventually the oven ‘tings’, she removes the cakes and without waiting for it too cool, she proceeds to remove the cakes from the tins. And of course, it comes out in pieces! Half the cake is still in the tin and wet! This is when I went into lecture mode, told her to put everything back in the tin, put it in the oven, give it another 25 minutes, once it comes out, put it in the fridge for half hour then remove it from the tin and then you frost it.
I went to take a nap cos I was getting a migraine. I wake up around 8:30pm and see a message on my phone from my cousin – “Didn’t want to wake you, the cake didn’t work out so I left it for you, enjoy!”. Oh joy.
I found the cake in the fridge and told myself this is what happens when amateurs don’t take advice and decide to do things on their own. You can’t simply read a recipe or watch a cooking show and suddenly say “I can do that”. You don’t use cold ingredients. You don’t put cake batter in without lining the tin first. You don’t alter a recipe following your heart’s desires. And above all, you always ask for help when you’re in over your head!
Let this be a lesson to all of you. Leave the baking to the experts. Below is the pic of the disastrous cake my cousin made. I couldn’t cut thru it cos the frosting is as solid as a rock. So I don’t even know what it tastes like, which is probably a good thing. And I have no idea why it’s so lopsided!