Recently I was invited to a barbecue and tasked with bringing a potato salad and a dessert. After I manifested the potato salad, I realized the clock had run faster than I had. So I made the management decision to buy a cake. Maestro, a little back ground music here. I am an only child and thus ‘good girl’ is stamped on my forehead. Good girls always always bring homemade food to barbecues and potlucks.
Listen up, Girl—I use the term girl in the loosest sense of Mr. Webster’s definition. It is nigh time to enjoy your ‘bad girl’ side, like not reading the whole book and skipping to the end or in this case buying a cake in a grocery store bakery. Well dang ya all, that store bought cake was the hit of the barbecue. It was a moist yellow cake which I normally consider pretty boring, beautifully iced with caramel frosting. Boy howdy was that a caramel frosting worth packing a pound on the tush. I am going to take a minute here to rhapsodize about its distinctive, incredible, deeply caramel flavor. Immediately I knew if I could replicate that frosting, I would become the popular party person I had always yearned to be.
So when a friend’s birthday arrived, I had my golden door of opportunity. I decided upon Paula Deen’s recipe for the frosting. She’s one of the Divas, right. Then my’ bad girl’ entered through the side door and convinced me to use a devil’s food chocolate cake mix provided by Betty Crocker. Dear Readers, have you all recoiled in horror? OMG, a cake mix! Should I plead my case that I don’t have a cherished chocolate cake recipe nesting in my recipe box? Short of time? How about I normally bake coffee cake and heavier cakes like oatmeal and carrot? I like pie better than cake and thus I don’t know any better? Any of those excuses work? I think at this point it’s best to just suck it up and take it like woman. You already are intuiting the end of this tale, where I am properly punished.
As it baked, smells of chocolate cake wafted through the air igniting salivating anticipation. The cakes popped out of my new cake pans without kicking, screaming and clinging to the sides. Although I had fiddled with Ms Betty Crocker and added a cup of chocolate chips, I followed Paula’s recipe exactly. As I iced the cake, I realized I needed some serious how to lessons, but all in all I felt rather jaunty about my endeavor.
With pride I presented a large slice of cake to my friend. As he tasted it, I beamed and waited for my compliment.
Instead he asked, what happened? What do you mean what happened?
I took a bite. We are talking dry here. Plus if I my eyes were closed, I would have never guessed it was chocolate until I ran into a random chocolate chip. I recovered. Toast is dry. It’s merely a conveyance for the jam. In this case the cake itself is unimportant; the caramel frosting is the dragon slayer. I tasted it. On the good side, it was sweet and had a nice consistency. On the down side, it didn’t taste like caramel at all and the sweetness was cloying and overdone. Titanic Disaster and on a birthday cake to boot! I could say more, but the comments of the birthday ‘boy’ summed it up. Walking away from the table after valiantly finishing the cake slice he said, “The cake feels like a depth charge lying in my stomach waiting to happen.” Then he burped prompting a second comment, “Gag a maggot that was the too sweet frosting” and wandered into the next room. No he is not an abusive husband or a younger brother. He WAS a friend.
As you have probably guessed, the cake is not resting at the bottom of the garbage can, whether in peace I do not know, but definitely in pieces.