I ate a lot of cake today.
I don’t know exactly how much, but probably at least the equivalent of three pieces…maybe four. It started at breakfast (after a sensible bowl of Raisin Bran laden with sugar covered raisins)…slicing off teensy slivers of cake and eating them. Directly from the serving plate…since I didn’t want to add any more dirty dishes to my disgruntled dishwasher’s sky-high pile.
It’s hard to feel guilty when you’re eating tiny pieces of cake – even if you’re eating a thousand tiny pieces. And frankly, I found this cake so delicious, that I could have probably eaten even more. But, I should probably pretend to have a modicum of self-control. Now that I’m well into my thirties.
Especially since I don’t really want my kids recalling, in twenty years or so, how mom would just sit at the table and stuff herself full of cake while they watched. Waiting for a crumb to drop on the floor.
How did I end up stuffing my face with cake? Well, it started with inviting friends to dinner. I had a turkey in my freezer, so I went back to the November issue of Bon Appetit in an effort to figure out what to make. I decided to stick with the turkey and stuffing recipe I’d made for ‘actual’ Thanksgiving because they were tasty and easy. Which left me in need of a side dish. And dessert.
Well, I flipped through the dessert section and my eyes settled on the recipe for Pumpkin Spice Cake with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting. ‘It looked good to me’ as my oldest might say. But I’ve gotten kind of lazy about layer cakes, because I rarely have success with them. As I go to flip the cakes out of their pans onto a cooling rack, inevitably a good chunk of cake will stick to the bottom of the pan. Or the cake will break. Or the layers will be ridiculously uneven and lopsided. And globs of frosting will settle in all the wrong places. It always tastes fine – but isn’t necessarily something I want to present to people who aren’t related to me.
So, I briefly contemplated making cupcakes instead, but at the last minute, decided not to. As my other half has pointed out (way) too many times…a muffin tin is much more cumbersome to wash than two round cake pans. And, personally I like having two layers of frosting….not just one.
So I made the cake and actually remembered to take it out of the oven. I released the cakes from the pans and they were perfect. Not a crumb out of place. Call me a cynic, but something had to go wrong. I made the caramel and managed not to scorch the sugar into a black sticky mess. And the cream cheese and butter were actually at room temperature so there were no weird ‘clumps’ in my frosting.
Certain I had to have made a mistake, I mentally reviewed the cake recipe…had I omitted a crucial ingredient. Like sugar? No. BUT..the recipe hadn’t called for any salt, which I thought was odd. Maybe there’d been a misprint and I was the idiot who didn’t figure it out and now I made a salt-less cake that would taste like cardboard.
But, when I sampled a sliver cut off the top to make frosting easier. It tasted just fine to me. In fact, it tasted good. The Hen shoved whole clumps of sliver in his mouth at a time. He liked it too.
So I stopped worrying about what might be wrong and frosted it. I had some extra caramel left, so I even made swirly designs on the top.
When our guests had left, I asked Jason excitedly: ‘what did you think of the cake?’
‘It was good enough.’
Of course. He was going to play the ‘I don’t like pumpkin’ card, I could tell. Which is a fine and reasonable excuse, except he consumes entire loaves of pumpkin bread with little problem. And did I mention the burnt caramel cream cheese frosting?
‘I liked the frosting.’
‘Ugh, never mind,’ I put an end to his pitiful attempts at feigning excitement about my cake.
‘I will eat another piece tomorrow,’ he helpfully added.