I am officially cursed: I am incapable of baking a pretty cake for my husband's birthday.
Last year, I tried baking him a German chocolate cake. (It's his favorite). What I created tasted like a German chocolate cake, but it did not look like a German chocolate cake. When I was frosting the "cake," it collapsed on itself and turned into a pile of crumbs. Tasty crumbs, but not something you would ever think to call a "cake."
This year, I vetoed the German chocolate cake and opted for a simple chocolate cake with a chocolate ganache frosting. And like its predecessor, the "cake" was absolutely delicious - moist with a chocolately flavor that was rich but not too rich. But visually?
It was a bake-aster.
Let's take a look at the cake from another angle so you can appeciate just how tragic it is.
The cake layers would not come out of their pans. I carefully ran a knife around the cakes' edges. Then, I cautiously inverted the cakes and ... nothing. I ran a knife around the cakes' edges again, this time more aggressively. Again, I inverted the cakes and ... nothing.
I left the pans upside down, assuming the cakes would eventually succumb to gravity. Impatient, I thwacked the pans like Animal playing the drums. Finally, after about twenty minutes of hanging upside down, one of the cakes fell from its pan. The other two bitches refused to budged.
Meanwhile, the ganache had turned into a block of inedible mess. I had put the ganache in the fridge to cool off - the recipe said I could! - but then forgot about it. By the time Nathan rescued the ganache from the fridge, it had turned into a solid mass of chocolate. We set the ganache on the table, pretending it might soften and turn back into frosting. [Insert hysterical laughter here]. It did not.
Fortunately, I had purchased an emergency container of Betty Crocker frosting at the grocery store.
Unfortunately, two of my three layers were still welded to the cake pans. What the eff? I had meticulously buttered the pans, laid down a layer of wax paper on their bottoms, and buttered the wax layer. I have made many cakes with these very pans, and all of those cake layers were happy to spring from the pans at the slightest of urgings.
But the chocolate layers? Not going anywhere. So, I cut out a big wedge of cake, slapped it on top of the one layer that I had manage to coax from the pan, and constructed a dessert that looks like something Frank Gehry would bake.
Although an eyesore, the chocolate cake and store-bought frosting were delicious, and the birthday boy was very happy. I survived the bake-aster, with my sense of humor intact.
But next year, I'm baking Nathan a birthday pie.