Lessons from a Ruined Cake

Published by Lydia Richmond on

Birthdays are big around here, but this year has been odd for our three littles. Both Flash and Diva have had to have their birthdays with just the six of us (plus grandparents who happen to live right next door). Thankfully, many of our friends and family were willing to send birthday cards to make it feel like they were right here with us! Flash opted for a frozen chocolate pie which made things easy on me. Diva asked for a doll cake — something I’d done for Sassy Pants what feels like a million years ago — and I quickly agreed. Oh boy, did I learn a lot from this year’s experience and a horribly ruined cake.

Because of the whole coronavirus shut down, we’ve been only picking up our groceries. Before everything went in to lock-down mode, I did do some shopping and tried to think ahead. I knew three of our kids would likely be affected for their birthdays.

I was certain I had a box cake in the pantry. So, of course, I waited until the day of Diva’s birthday to check. I was wrong.

With no box cake mix, I thought, “This will work just fine if I make a scratch cake!” I went to the ol’ Pinterest and found a simple vanilla cake recipe. Made it, felt like Martha Stewart, put it in the oven. I even had enough left so that I could pour the remainder of the batter in to a cake pan. This would be perfect to make the cake tall enough for our tall doll (and I wouldn’t have to cut her off at the waist!).

About an hour before dinner, I realized that the cake wasn’t cooking like I expected. Because I was using a batter bowl, I noticed that it was shaking — like jello — when I checked on it. I figured that wasn’t too big of a deal.

I took the extra cake out and let it cool. When I tried to flip it out onto the cooling rack, it stuck. Like, not just a little, but a whole dang bunch. I’d prepped the pan. I’d done all the things correctly. Still, it was totally stuck.

After I tried to help the cake OUT a little bit more, it just fell apart. To say I was angry is an understatement. I might have tossed a few kitchen utensils around the kitchen. Somehow, I kept myself together and just left the cake on the counter. If nothing else, it could be a sampler.

In fact, Sassy Pants and I tried a couple of bites, and it was pretty darn good. We had high hopes for the batter bowl cake that was still jiggling in the oven.

Finally, the batter bowl cake was finished! I took it out and let it cool. Then, I flipped it over to get it out of the batter bowl in preparation for icing. And that’s when I realized: it was not cooked all the way through.

It was a batter bowl of hot magma, and the cake was ruined.

I yelled at Math Man and begged him to go buy a cake that would suffice for the birthday song. He hurried to the local store and grabbed a frozen cake, some ice pops, and some ice cream sandwiches. We made do with the frozen vanilla cake – we had to sing, after all! Diva was just fine with it, and she completely understood that there had been a mistake with her doll cake.

After I calmed down a bit, Math Man and I realized we had strawberries. We had strawberries and an amazingly tasty broken cake on the counter. We could totally indulge in some strawberry shortcake.

We put whipped cream on our shopping list, and he cut the cooked edges of the magma cake off to add to the bowls.

What resulted was a delicious dessert complete with our favorite Patterson Farm strawberries. So good!

In addition to the whipped cream, we also added a box cake to our shopping list so I could make up for the hot magma mistake. Diva was extremely excited to choose the doll who would go in to our cake, and I was so proud of myself for creating a cake that would actually stay together and was cooked through.

Alas, without that extra cake for the bottom, the cake was too short for her chosen doll. We went with a Polly Pocket instead. This made for one goofy looking dress, but Diva simply did not care. She was most impressed with my decorating ability and using the “spludges” tool. Ha.

The biggest lesson? Kids just want cake, and I need to learn to make lemonade out of lemons. Or strawberry shortcake out of ruined cake.


This month’s Blog with Friends theme is Eat What You Want Day. Check out what my bloggy friends have to share!

Sweet and Salty Bars from Karen at Baking in a Tornado

Bacon for the Win from Dawn at Spatulas on Parade

Eat Around the Word from Tamara at Part-Time Working Hockey Mom

Youthful Comfort from PJ at A ‘lil Hoohaa

Recipe for the Perfect Homemade Card from Melissa at Heartfelt Sentiments


3 Comments

Karen BakingInATornado · May 11, 2020 at 10:52 am

Not only do kids just want cakes, but mistakes can not only be delicious, but make the best funny memories. That’s quite a lot of wins.

Tamara · May 11, 2020 at 11:20 am

Oh man, I feel for you. You had the best intentions and wanted to make that cute doll cake, and everything fell apart. Good thing the “cake edges” with strawberries and cream were delicious PLUS you ended up making a cute Polly Pocket.
One thing is for sure though: this birthday will be an unforgettable one!

Dawn aka Spatulas On Parade · May 11, 2020 at 4:35 pm

We all want cake. During the “safer at home” the first two weeks I must have baked 4 batches of cookies, thankfully I ran out of supplies LOL. Cake is cake, we go through all sorts of ordeals when kids are just kids. Give them a cupcake, sprinkles and a balloon to bat around, they’re good.

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