Of course, no venture into domestic happiness is complete without a culinary disaster.
It all started when I decided to make use of my new bundt pan and surprise Mark with a carrot cake. The cake part came out fine. I can handle baking. Eggs, check. Butter, check. Easy peasy.
It all started to go downhill when I started the buttercream. The necessary butter had spent the afternoon softening on the kitchen counter. Since this is July in D.C., "melting" is probably a better description. I whipped the butter, which was at that perfect stage of not-quite-melted-but-definitely-as-soft-as-I-needed.
Standing on the verge of a culinary precipice, I did what every culinary master does in a time of crisis: turned to Google.
Apparently, you can make powdered sugar out of regular sugar by blending it. There was something about proportions down at the bottom of the page, but I didn't bother to read that far. My whipped butter was starting to melt and I needed powdered sugar fast.
I dumped sugar into the blender. A lot of sugar. I was probably overly aggresive, in retrospect. And I hit 'pulse'.
This was about the time that Mark got home from work.
Mark: "Are you making a cake?"
Me, inwardly groaning: "How did you know?"
Mark: "The cake-stand is gone from the dining room table."
Darn engineers and their powers of observation.
Me: "Uh, yeah, sort of. Don't come in here. I need to focus."
Mark promptly came into the kitchen. He's never one ot miss a good show.
By this point, something was definitely very wrong. The sugar at the bottom of the blender was wet. Why was it wet?
I had committed yet another fatal mistake: Failing to Dry Out the Blender Before Using.
Let's recap the situation:
– Whipped Butter melting in mixing bowl
– Hungry Husband walking in door
– Scrumptious Carrot Cake cooling on counter
– Wet Sugar getting wetter by the minute in the blender.
In a moment of panicked folly, I dumped the sugar that was still dry into the mixing bowl, added two tablespoons of milk and a few drops of vanilla, and whipped again. I was in no mood for aesthetics. If the frosting was going to happen, it had to happen fast.
Mark hovered dangerously by the cake.
Mark: "Carrot cake! Can I eat it?"
Me: "No. It's not done."
Mark: "Is it almost ready?"
Me: "If you touch that cake, I won't speak to you for a week."
Mark: "Is that cream-cheese frosting?"
Me: "Um, sort of." (This was about the time that I realized the frosting was too thin. Fortunately, there was a block of cream cheese also softening on the counter. I promptly added it to the mix.)
Mark: "Are you using all of that sugar?"
Me: "Not exactly."
By this time, the texture of the butter-creamish-cream-cheesy-frosting was mildly acceptable. Grainy (because of the sugar), but acceptable. I shoved it into a frosting bag and started to frost like there was never going to be another birthday.
Dear readers, the frosting was SOFT. I mean, it was REALLY REALLY SOFT. Except for the hard grains of sugar generosly spread throughout the concoction.
It melted almost as fast as I could squeeze it out of the bag.
By the end, it looked like a cross between a 3rd-grade art project and a Dr. Seuss tree.
I stared at it. "It looks really ugly."
Mark: "Yeah, it does."
Mark, remembering everything he learned about affirming words in pre-marital counseling: "But it still tastes good!" Thank goodness for husbands who don't care about how pretty food is.
We ate The World's Ugliest Cake despite its bad looks. It made quite a nice dessert. And breakfast.
But I guess I can't open my cake store until I master butter-cream frosting.
Carrot Bundt Cake
Box of Carrot-cake Mix – 1
Eggs – 3
Orange Juice – 1/4 cup
Butter – 6 tbls.
Water – 1 cup
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bundt pan thoroughly with oil or butter.Melt 6 tbls of butter into a small bowl. Combine cake mix, butter, orange juice, and water. Mix gently. Add eggs one at a time. Mix until blended. Pour into bundt pan. Bake for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow it to cool for 5 minutes in the pan. Gently loosen the edges. Release from pan onto cooling rack and allow it to cool completely before frosting.