“You Can’t Top Perfection”
“You Can’t Top Perfection”
We were told the funniest true story last night and we want to share it with you.
We met woman who is extremely talented in culinary food preparation, but who said she could not bake. This statement was immediately corroborated by her co-worker, but we thought, “How bad can it really be? She’s trained in culinary arts.” She then told the following story as evidence of her lack of baking ability.
Her fiancé loves yellow cake with chocolate frosting, so for his birthday last year, she undertook to bake him his favorite cake. She used a box of Duncan Hines yellow cake mix and said she initially made it according to their directions. But evidently, the batter didn’t have enough flavor for her, so she added lots and lots and lots of extra vanilla. It still didn’t have quite enough flavor, so she figured the fiancé likes cinnamon, so she added a bunch of cinnamon. Now there was flavor, but the batter didn’t seem moist enough to her, so she added a STICK of butter. She then proceeded to mix it on high speed with her mixer for about 5 minutes — you know, so that she was sure it would be light and “airy”.
She knew from her culinary training that if you wanted something to be moist, you bake it low and slow; so, she did…she baked it using her oven’s lowest setting and allowed it to bake for well over 2 hours. At that point, she checked it and the cake was still a little “jiggly” in the middle (and she was running out of time before the fiancé was coming over for his birthday party). So, she did what any good cook would do…she turned the heat of the oven up to high and allowed it to bake for 20 minutes longer.
Finally then, the cake had a nice “crust” on the outside. Figuring that the inside of the cake simply had to be done by now, she pulled it out of the hot oven and, really running out of time now, she tossed her hot cake into the freezer, pan and all, to cool it down quickly while she took a shower.
Upon her return, she checked her cake and the top was cool to touch, so she took it out and began to frost it using a can of pre-made chocolate frosting. She quickly learned that though the outside of the cake was crusted and appeared “done”, the inside of the cake was a soggy mess, and the canned frosting was just too darn thick. It kept pulling the cake apart. She took matters into her own hands and she cut the soggy mess in the middle out and tossed it in the trash. Next, she decided to mold & shape and “glue” the cake bits together using the fiancé’s favorite “condiment”, peanut butter. But that darn cake just kept falling apart…so she just kept molding and shaping and gluing it together with more and more peanut butter, and adding frosting on top wherever she could get it to stick.
Completely out of time, she turned her attention toward decorating. Using her fiancé’s favorite candy, Reese’s mini peanut butter cups, in an effort to hide some of the “messy spots” in the frosting, the entire bag of mini peanut butter cups were quickly tossed all over the top of the cake & the sides. She stepped back and surveyed the completed project. In her own words, (and I quote),
“The damn cake looked like it had herpes!”
Needless to say, she has been asked never to bake another cake for the fiancé’s birthday. Her co-workers chimed in at this point in the story and each stated unequivocally, “Oh no. She’s not allowed to bake!”
With the fiance’s birthday looming the day after tomorrow, his request to never bake again has been largely ignored and she has checked out books and looked at YouTube tutorials online like a crazy woman. She still claims to have zero ability to deliver an edible (let alone nice to look at) birthday cake for him.
At this point in the story, we volunteered our help if she wanted it. We discussed that we could prepare his favorite cake for her to “make” for him; a scratch yellow cake (tastier & moister than a box mix), simple frosting, and did she want us to write, “Happy Birthday” on the cake? Stunned and surprised, she looked at us and asked, “You mean you can actually write on cakes too?”
To make it believable that she had made this cake, we opted to go with the cake you see in the pictures…great tasting, from scratch, moist & “buttery” yellow cake with chocolate buttercream filling, frosted very simply with a light peanut butter/buttercream, and decorated with halved peanut butter cups. She can present this to him as the culmination of her year-long quest to improve her baking skills!!!
We provided her only one piece of advice…when asked next year to make this cake for the fiance’s birthday again…so that she doesn’t get busted, she should refuse on the grounds that she simply Can’t Top Perfection!
We hereby dedicate this blog to our new friend, the Divine Miss N, and to everyone anywhere who identifies with her cake-baking experience! Without all of you, WE wouldn’t feel needed!
We love you all!
Ciao for now!
V & K