Sunday, December 9, 2007

my failed gumdrop cake

A bit bummed this morning or the best laid plans .... or

planned non-leisure activity + estimated time allowed/needed + unforeseen snags & difficulties x the actual time allowed/needed (which is usually twice as long as estimated) + potential failure factor = disappointment & discouragement = bummed

Holiday Baking Part 1 was a dismal failure. I've included photos of the gumdrop adventure but I will be posting no recipes as this sounded good on paper, but did not nearly meet with my high standards, not as a gumdrop cake gift anyway. You hear these baking types talk about the size of the crumb when referring to cakes. Hey, I'm no baker, but the crumb on this cake, was way big, way bad. I wanted it to be like the fine crumb of really good pound cake, that combined with the little slices of colour from the gumdrops becoming like a stained glass slice of cake, perhaps this is not possible. I remember pound cake at my grandmother Blanche's at Christmas that was smooth and dense and buttery, with a fine, fine crumb and frosted with marzipan which back then I was too young to get. I know what a real pound cake should be like. And as you can see, my oven or my pan caused the cake to brown too much on the outside - leaving a hard and crunchy crust like outer edge - bad. If you examine closely the middle, batter, photo I would hazard a guess that the recipe needed more liquid but as a I said I'm no baker...obviously.

The divinity fudge turned out to be a putrid pale pink divinity soup and all the little green & red maraschino cherry bits sunk to the bottom of the bowl. Green and red mixed together make brown or bad. I have a candy thermometer so I have no excuse except my lack of experience combined with a big ol' whack of impatience, because by this time my finely oiled schedule was all shot to hell. I dribbled a little syrup into a glass of cold water and hey that looked to me like a hard-ish ball, choosing to ignore the temperature reading on my candy thermometer, and deciding instead to declare it broken (?), I began slowly adding the stream of hot syrup to my high peaks of egg whites and ... nothing happened. Not what's supposed to happen. It's supposed to be thick, whipped meringue like pure whiteness that you can blob onto a sheet of waxed paper in little kisses of sugary light white. My plan was to add finely chopped red & green cherries giving these kisses of whipped sugar that festive touch. Should I attempt this recipe again (not) I would thoroughly drain/dry the cherries on a piece of paper towel and not add the combined red + green = brown cherry juice.

So ... I did not get to tackle my tools, paint & supplies cupboard, by 3:30 I was still cleaning up the kitchen and laundry room and it was time for les chiens and I to head back to the beach for our afternoon walk. I did make pizza and it was delicious and I tried for the third time (it has great reviews) to watch The Children of Men and just could not get into it - so said goodnight and retreated to the nest where I had one of those - awake half the night trying to come up with really big and bad things to worry about sleeps.

Thank goodness I awake each morning repaired and undefeated and rarin' to go all over again.

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