Friday, December 3, 2010

Rainbow Cake: my lesson in baking cakes

A few months ago, a good friend of mine moved. It wasn't a cross-country move, just an hour or so away, but far enough that seeing him for a quick lunch wasn't an option anymore. We will name him Darth Bird. He'll probably never read this, but I think he'd appreciate that name. I was worried about him moving; he's been one of my closest friends since high school, and after recently losing another close friend, I was concerned about not seeing him as often.

Luckily, Darth Bird thought ahead, and got me as well as four other birds involved in a game with him before he moved. The game is still on-going, and we aim to play every other weekend. So once a month we drive down to his apartment, and he generally cooks us something.

The first time we did, he made an amazing homemade lasagna. The only part of it that was store bought was the noodles, and it was quite awesome.

If you read the title of this post, you are probably wondering what on earth this has to do with rainbow cakes. Well, I decided to make a rainbow cake for his apartment, figuring that a cake was a perfect thing to bring to a dinner gathering, and that the directions that I found over at Omnomicon were so simple it'd be hard to mess up.

Well, I was mostly right about that. I have a lot of learning about baking to do.

I opted out of the diet version, despite being on one, because I figured no one else was. The whole 'double the batter' thing was also rather confusing, but I got it all sorted out. And dirtied a lot of bowls in the process.

Mama Bird helped, and did a lot of the color mixing. 'That's nowhere near blue enough! You need more blue! Here, let me do it!' That sounds like a pretty accurate transcript, and we had a lot of fun. We're very sarcastic to each other, but it's okay because we like each other. She is the best Mama Bird.

I took a lot of pictures of the process, because it was fun, and amusing. This was the batter before it went in the oven, but right after this is where everything went wrong.

You see, I was impatient with the cake. I needed to get it iced and ready to go. I did not give myself adequate time to prepare it. So it came out of the oven, and I tried to pull it from its little pans. One split in half, and the other just lost some off the top. Then I tried to ice it while it was still warm, and we lost more. Beyond 'we lost more,' it started completely falling apart. I got so upset I almost didn't bring the cake, until Mama Bird told me I was being an idiot and made me. It had many toothpicks stuck in it, holding it together. As I pulled the lid off the container, I was actually embarrassed, and all over again wished I hadn't brought it. The sight that greeted me was the cake, split wide open, hardly sticking on its tray. I (almost) tearfully presented it to my friends.

And did my friends care that it was falling apart?

No. They still ate most of it. Our tongues were purple for the rest of the evening. And I learned a few crucial things about baking: wait to remove your cake, wait to ice your cake, and just really, be patient. My friends also taught me that "If it tastes like cake, we are going to eat it."

It's been a few months since Darth Bird moved, and we still see each other frequently. In fact, I'm going to go see him in about twenty minutes, so I should really stop typing and go brush my hair. But it's nice to know that some friendships aren't so easily ended.

Today's lessons learned:
  • My friends will probably eat anything.
  • Food coloring definitely has a flavor.

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