Tuesday, January 1, 2013
This, my friends, is the moment you NAILED IT.
We all nail it. At least, those of us who try our hands at this whole "baking" thing do. Baking and frosting and getting everything to come out without falling over--it's hard, damn it! And after a long day at work when you're distracted in between reading recipe steps, and something in your head is telling you that a direction may not sound right but who are you to say (it's not like you're some professional Recipe Writer, after all). It's a recipe for heartache, really.
But I was tired. And dreadfully cranky. And I should have known that something was amiss when I stuck the two chocolate cake pans in the oven thinking "hmmm, that batter looked way too thin." Twenty seconds later I realized I hadn't bothered to add the sugar to the batter, so I quickly yanked both pans out, dumped them back into the mixing bowl, and made quick amends.
When the (now sweetened) cakes had cooled, the recipe instructed me to whip the cream to soft peaks and layer between the halved cake layers. Soft peaks seem really soft, I thought as I sawed through the perfect cakes. And did these really have to be halved? Would this thing stand up to all the soft cream and thin cake?
By layer number two, with the whipped cream spreading like soup, I knew I had a problem. When the last layer crumbled atop the Jenga puzzle of a dreamy layer cake, the cursing and feeble cries commenced. And as I lamely tried splashing whipped cream over the tipped sides, I knew I was completely effed.
For a few minutes, staring at The Blob, I panicked. I was all out of cocoa powder and cream. I'd shaved all the good chocolate. My beautiful cherries were trapped inside the wreckage. Think, Tabitha! For Christ's sake!
Yes, the trifle dish! I dashed to the pantry and grabbed the glass pedestal dish from the top shelf, just as my phone was going off with a response text from my mom: can you turn it into a trifle?
I carefully removed the top layer with a spatula, and reserved it on a separate dinner plate. Then, layer by layer, I began inverting the ruined cake into the big bowl. Like a parfait. Skimmed cream, cherries, cake broken into brownie-sized pieces. Repeated until adding the last layer, carefully, so the chocolate shavings and cream layer tops off the whole deal. Is it as pretty? Not quite. But it tastes the same, and if you tell everyone they're having trifle for dessert, they're none the wiser.
"Trifle!" My mother-in-law said when I brought out the bowl, "now that's way more interesting than cake."