Friday, August 22, 2008

Keep Out Of My Kitchen You Crazy Woman!

Read the title of my post again. Here, I will just re-type it for you:

Keep Out Of My Kitchen You Crazy Woman!

This is me talking to....ME!

I don't even know where to begin. Where do I begin? Who am I? What happened?
I think this is an appropriate time to remind you all that I have a degree in Home Economics (or Family and Consumer Sciences Education to be PC). I teach cooking. But on my defense I would also like to share that in college we learned more about the science of cooking than the actual cooking itself.
Well, I really need to begin at the beginning. If you're one of my faithful blog readers you know already that this is a big birthday week at our house. The Prairie Kid turned 3 on Tuesday and The Prairie Daddy's birthday is today. We're having a family birthday party tomorrow. I thought it would be really nice to make a cake (or three or four) for my Prairie Menfolk. And we all like carrot cake, so that is where I started.

I carefully made the batter of a carrot cake yesterday. I decided instead of using a 9x13" pan I would use two round pans and make a layered cake with yummy homemade cream cheese frosting. Now what I didn't do (which is rare for me) is figure out if the two 8" round pans would fit all of the batter for the 9x13" recipe. I didn't even think for one second about this. I just went forth in my cake-making march.

After my lovely pans were placed in the oven, the dishes were done, and the counters clean, I was blissfully sitting at the computer. The Prairie Kid was napping, the house was quiet. Ahh. Bliss. And then it was interrupted by a wafting effluvium of charred particles into my sensitive proboscis (in other words, I smelled something burning!).
I headed to the oven. I opened it. And then I quickly shut it. My carrot cake batter had grown up and over the sides of the pans, dripping all over the rack below and was burning as it maneuvered its way down to the bottom of my oven.
I turned the exhaust fan on, opened the windows and went back to the computer to pretend to be in bliss again.
Then someone came through the front door. It was The Prairie Daddy. I bolted up and went in to show him what I was doing to his birthday cake. I wonder what he was thinking.
I left the cakes in the oven until they were as ready to be taken out as they were gonna get. And I let them cool on a wire rack as if they were perfect and soon ready to be put together to make a lovely, presentable birthday cake. And then I did something that I do instead of getting mad. I grabbed my camera! And here is that lovely "Prairie Mama blog entertainment" for you at my expense:

I realized at this point that my oven was TRASHED. And I am not one to clean my oven. So I decided that it was a good time to set the self-cleaning mode! And when that wrapped up I could try again on the whole carrot cake thing (with a new recipe and a 9x13" pan). I didn't get before self-cleaning pics for you but this is still worth sharing:

What a mess!!!
I decided to go ahead and frost this "cake" for The Prairie Daddy and this is what it turned out to look like...more of a mound than a layer cake.

Do you think my sister's cafe and catering business is ready to hire me as their baker?

I did go ahead with the second try. And this time everything was turning out great. One very important part of the recipe that I took note of was this "Do Not Over Bake." And I had my timer set 5 minutes before the check time so that I wouldn't make this mistake! So, although I was on the phone with a girlfriend when the timer went off, I grabbed my toothpick and checked my cake. And it needed just a bit longer.

I continued my phone conversation and when I finished it and hung up I realized it had been 15 minutes since I checked my cake and I hadn't re-set the timer! OH NO! I went to the oven and opened the door. THANK GOD IT WASN'T BLACK! But it was dried out much, much more than I had planned. And it shrunk down. SHOOT! Will this even be big enough now to feed everyone? I let it cool, wrapped it up and stuck it in the freezer.


Today The Prairie Daddy asked me if I was going to make another cake for tomorrow. "If you go to the barn and get me some more eggs I will have enough to make an angel food cake." So he and The Prairie Kid headed down to the barn. This must mean that The Prairie Daddy wants an angel food cake!

After I got The Prairie Kid down for a nap I was able to head into the kitchen again. I carefully, very, very carefully followed the instructions. I even sifted the cake flour and sugar together 3 times, just like the recipe said. I gently folded the dry ingredients into the stiff-peaked egg batter. I softly smoothed the top of the batter in the 10" tube pan. I put it in the oven and set the timer. I was ready to re-conquer.

And when the timer went off and I wanted to give it 5 more minutes; I shut the oven off and re-set the timer for 5 more minutes.

And it looked perfect. It was time to invert it on a bottle. But the bottle I had was too big at the top. So I headed for another bottle across the kitchen. And...

Can't see it good enough?
Here, let me get closer...

There is my angel food cake...completely obliterated all over floor.

I quit. I give up. I am done. I am not baking another cake for this party tomorrow! I will decorate my dried up, frozen carrot cake and I don't care what it looks's going to the party! And I don't care what it tastes like! It will be better than the crunchy dirt that this angel food cake has impressed into it.

Did you remember that I am a Home Economics teacher by trade? Well, let me humbly say that the only thing resembling my classroom this week in my kitchen is the mess that my 7th grade Life Skills students used to make on their first day in the cooking unit.

1 comment:

diana said...

omg, i'm sorry!! i used to have days like these in the lab and you just have to give up and walk away until you get your mojo back! i'm sure it won't take you long. :)