Cake Catastrophe


I’ve had a tropical carrot cake recipe marked with a bright pink sticky note in my Pastry Queen cookbook for weeks now.  I bought the ingredients a week ago.  It was time to just buckle down and bake the cake already! I was really excited about this cake so I postponed grading 5th grade math papers and decided that there was no time like the present.  I kinda like carrot cake, but this recipe just sounded so much better than regular old carrot cake.  It has macadamia nuts, cream of coconut, lots of pineapple and is smothered in a coconut cream cheese frosting.  

I needed 3 9-inch cake pans, but I only have two 9-inch pans…I should have seen fate trying to stop me!  I buttered and floured the two 9-inchers and one 8-inch pan.  The batter came together easily and beautifully.  When I filled the cake pans I didn’t think anything was off…the batter in each pan looked fine.  I baked the cakes for 20 minutes then checked on them, and rotated the pans in the oven.  5 minutes later I took the 8-inch cake out as the “tester inserted in the center came out clean.”  10 more mintes (we’re at 35 now, the max time in the recipe) and the cakes looked done on the outside edges and on top, but the tester inserted in the center was covered in batter goo.  5 more minutes…goo…5 more minutes…goo is gone!  45 minutes in all ladies and gentelmen…keep this in mind.

 I’d been letting the 8 inch cake cool, so I decided to take it out of the pan.  It had fallen in the center…crater cake.  Ok.  No problem.  It doesn’t have to be pretty to be tasty.  The other cakes sunk a bit, but not too much.  I take them out of the pans and peel the parchment from the bottoms.  One cake was fine.  The other cake, however, upon removal of the parchment revealed a center of completely uncooked cake batter.  I cannot explain this.  It will forever be a mystery to me.  Obviously I didn’t bake it enough, but the outer edges were on the brink of burning…it just doesn’t add up.  I will not be bringing this cake to share with my wonderful co-workers.  I hate to waste food.  I had to do something.  Of course, some of the cake had to be thrown away, but some could be saved…

I decide to make the best of the situation.  I made a simple cream cheese frosting.  I put the OK cake on a platter.  It had developed quite a deep Manicouagan-like crater by this time, so I filled part of it with frosting, then used pieces of the half-baked cake placed in the center to make it even.  I inverted this onto another platter.  Ta-da!  It looked like a mediocre, even cake layer.  I frosted the cake and was fairly pleased with the looks of it.  

Maybe this cake wasn’t appealing to the eye, but it tasted delicious.  Moist, dense and full of carrot, pineapple and macadmia in every bite.  I like the plain frosting with this cake since the cake itself has so much flavor.  I didn’t try the coconut cream cheese frosting this time.  I think it would have competed too much with the cake.  I will defintitely make this cake again.  To redeem myself and to share its greatness with the world.