I love baking. I’ve made some of the most delicious cupcakes and fun looking cakes. It’s something I enjoy doing.
Today was the day I met my baking nemesis. The asshole cake.
My little nephew just turned 4 and his birthday party was this afternoon. A couple weeks ago my sister and I were talking about the party and the fact that Anthony was really into Iron Man at the moment. She said that he told her he wanted an Iron Man cake but she told him no way. See, while my sister is talented in many ways she’s never been that awesome in the cake-decorating department. In fact, one could say some of her cakes belong on a cakewreck type site.
I mean, I’m not saying that, just saying someone could say it.
Anyway, I felt bad that my sweet little nephew might be disappointed that he couldn’t have his Iron Man cake so I volunteered to make it for her. Baking is generally fun for me and then Anthony would be happy.
My plan was a white cake, white frosting and strawberry filling in the middle. It should have been delicious.
I probably should have given myself a little more time to make the cake. As in, I should have made it the day before the party, not the day of. I’m kind of the queen of procrastination. For me however I felt like I had plenty of time. I had all morning to bake the cake, let it cool and then decorate it before we had to leave the house at around 2pm. We started at 10am. What could go wrong?
The first problem came when we realized we didn’t have two of the right sized pans to bake the cake in. That sent Joel on a frantic run to the store two pick up another pan. You can’t really do layers without two cakes. Obviously.
Once that was taken care of I thought we would have fairly smooth sailing. I mixed up the cakes, sprayed the pan and got ready to place them in the oven.
I used a hand mixer to mix the cake batter and stuck it under water to rinse off the beaters before I set it down. I didn’t want any drips. I’m not sure how it came about exactly. One second I remember thinking rinsing the beaters while the machine was still plugged in might be a good idea. I was wondering how shock proof the thing was. Since my mind was occupied I don’t remember if I purposely or accidently suddenly turned it on.
All I know is one instant my left hand was rubbing the edge of the metal to get the last of the cake mix off and the next instant it was sucked in between the two beaters.
It felt like I’d slammed my hand in a metal door. I frantically turned the machine off as my ring finger went completely numb. I pulled my hand out and immediately ran to my bed. For some reason my bedroom seemed like the safest place to be away from that devil mixer. Joel heard the noise from the other room and came running.
By the time he got in there I knew there was no permanent damage. I could tell nothing was broken even though it hurt like hell. It took a minute to convince Joel I was ok. Me lying on the bed clutching my hand while curled up in a ball with tears streaming down my face probably wasn’t too convincing on the, “no really I’m fine” front.
I recovered after not too much longer and was able to get the cakes in the oven. I did however allow Joel to finish cleaning up my mess. I wasn’t about to go near that evil thing again.
Once the cakes were done and cooled I was excited to get decorating. I have a fancy cake carrier so I flipped the cake over onto it to start the first layer. However, when I pulled the pan up I was greeted with the sight of empty space rather than a beautifully browned cake. I tried again, lift, nothing.
I tried banging on the bottom. Still, nothing. I grabbed a knife and eased it along the edges. Those didn’t seem to be stuck at all. I know I greased the pan… weird.
Then, suddenly I felt the cake give. Finally! I lifted the pan again and instead of a whole beautiful cake to my dismay I saw the corner hanging from the pan by a thread. As if in slow motion I watched it plop down, leaving the rest of the cake stuck just as tightly as ever to the pan.
I thought I could perhaps still make it work. After all, it was going to be frosted; I’d just use some of it as a sort of mortar to reconnect it. I tried to ease the rest out but… well, long story short, this is what the two cakes ended up looking like.
Through the whole process, crumbles of cake had pretty much gotten everywhere. All over my table, chairs and floor. I stared in an ever growing rage at the pile of cake crumbs that lay before me and then I did the only logical thing.
I lost it. I mean LOST. IT.
I threw that stupid effing cake all over the living room. I may have screamed names at it. I may also have then stormed out of the room and hid in my room.
Joel was conveniently absent for most of this. Trust me, it was kind of scary and more than a little ridiculous. Joel knows me so well. He let me blow off steam and take my rage out on the cake. Once it had been a safe amount of time he peeped into the bedroom and offered to go to the store to buy a blank cake. He convinced me it would look just as nice, taste just fine and Anthony is 4. He’ll barely know the difference.
He was right. I drew Iron Man on the top of a Jewel Osco cake and Anthony gasped and oohed and aaahed over how neat it looked.
It definitely wasn’t what I’d planned and it didn’t live up to my perfect standards but the party wasn’t ruined. Anthony was a happy birthday boy and in the end that’s what matters.
It’ll be a long time before I volunteer to do any baking though that’s for sure. My hands and carpet can’t handle it.