Saturday, June 26, 2010

When a good cake goes bad

This is a mud cake I made for my partner Andrew's 23rd birthday. I had woken that morning with a plan to make him breakfast in bed, grab his present from the shops and bake him a lovely double milk chocolate mud cake. That plan promptly fell apart when I woke up with a screaming head ache, fever and a runny nose. Lucky for me, my best friend Caitlin had previously arranged to come over and help me make the cake. She found me wrapped up on the couch and sprung into action heading to McDonald's to buy us breakfast, well, by that time it was lunch. After a lifesaving breakfast of cheese burgers, chips, coke and chicken nuggets, we began to make the cake.
Without reading the recipe, I thought it was going to be a pinch, how wrong I was. Never underestimate a mud cake recipe. Firstly, the chocolate needs to be melted and stirred carefully, then cooled before being added to other dry ingredients, a time consuming activity one should never attempt when unwell. Secondly, as mentioned before, mud cakes take a considerable amount of time to cook, this one took an hour and a half.
I also stuck with my original plan to make white and milk chocolate curls for decoration on top.
I forgot just how annoying they were to make. The first time I tried scraping the chocolate off the glass cutting board, it was too soft, so I put it in the fridge, but then, too hard, the chocolate crumbled. After leaving it for a bit, I tried again, but without much more success. The next disaster was the icing, the cream separated despite the recipe saying it wouldn't, so I added about five over-flowing cups of icing sugar (unsifted) because at this point i was about to crack it. The icing didn't thicken, it dripped, so I poured it over the cake which I placed on a drying rack over the sink so the excess would drip off. I carefully placed the half crumbled curls on top, and then got ready to go to Andrew's parents place for dinner. When I returned, I found the curls had started to slide off the sides of the cake. I carefully pushed my left hand under and my right hand under holding a knife to support it as well. I slowly lifted it up and moved it towards a plate and *SPLAT!* The cake broke into four large pieces, each piece falling pretty side down in various places on the bench and stove.
After spending around five hours, measuring, melting, mixing, sifting, whisking and baking, *splat!* I yelled "Noooooooooooooo!!!" Then stood in shock with my mouth open, Andrew came in and asked what happened but I didn't answer. Next I broke down crying and ran to the bathroom with my arms flailing (imagine ET running with chocolate all over his hands).
After twenty minutes of solid sobbing we headed off to his parents. In the end Andrew mashed it all back together and together with some friends we ended eating it all up .
It tasted pretty good.
So I learnt a few things from that disastrous culinary experience.
1: Try not to attempt cooking when sick.
2: Always wait until the cake it completely cooled before attempting to move a cake :(
3: Laugh.
I hope you enjoy. Love Jem.


Erin said...

The way you have written that made me laugh Jem. It sounds really really yummy though. Mud cake is my FAVOURITE!

Anonymous said...

Hey Jem,
Thanks for sharing your experience with the mudcake, it's a shame it didn't turn out the way you wanted. Have you attempted it again since? Can you share the recipe with us also? I'd be keen to have a go at it too :)

Thanks chicky


Anonymous said...

Loved the story! Although the cake looks a little disastrous, its made of chocolate and no matter what it looks like if its made of chocolate then it is sure to taste good!

Jem Jems Food Blog said...

Thanks girls :)
Your comments mean the world to me.

Taryn said...

If only I'd seen this yesterday, before I attempted to make a two tiered mud cake (bottom dark and top white) for my aunties 40th birthday celebration that night. Took a lot longer than the recipe said, and trying to cook them both at the same time meant the first one has sunken a little in the middle. I kept opening the oven every 15m because it's time was supposed to be up and I was worried it would get burnt! Little did I know they were such sensitive cakes (never made before, never will again!!!)

Ended up having to leave with the second one still uncooked, came back and tried to finish it off and then took it out of the pan and splat also. No note on the stupid recipe about this possibility!!!

Now I have one semi-ok looking cake, one big mess & no idea what to do :( Worst thing is it cost me $60- 80 to buy all these ingredients, and my aunty doesn't get her amazing 40th birthday cake like I thought she would :(