- Date: Friday, April 4, 2008 -- 9pm
- Location: Bloomington, IN
- Kitchen: My Apartment
- Dining Companions: Randy, Peter M, Bert, Bruce, Dan, Vigleik, Tony, Ayelet, etc...
- Recipe Rating: D+
You are probably looking at the picture above, seeing the billowy cloud of whipped cream covering delicious strawberries and yummy-looking cake and thinking to yourself, "D+? Really, Teena, maybe you are overreacting. That doesn't look like a D+." You may think that, but you weren't there. It has been a long time since a recipe has made me want to cry as much as this one did. Here's what happened:
It was Friday morning at 8am and I was trying to bust out the desserts for my big important dinner. I started by making the cake for this one. It is a genoise recipe, and genoise is a huge pain in the ass. It's usually worth it though, as it produces a lovely cake, that it perfect for soaking, which I think was the idea here. So I made my genoise, following the recipe in The Book exactly, even when I thought better of it (why was the second half of the flour not sifted over the batter as the first half was? Seemed like a poor choice, but I did what it said). The cakes didn't look terrible when they went into the oven. In fact, they didn't even look terrible when I took them out. But when I flipped them out of the pans, I was in for a surprise. Here's the picture:
Now I know what you are thinking -- this makes two cake disasters in a row! You're starting to think it's my fault, aren't you? And maybe it is, but hear me out on this one...
It might be hard to appreciate how disgusting this was. That layer that I have peeled back on the right cake was a thick layer of solidified butter, completely separated from the cake below it. The cakes were flat, and dense, and truly disgusting. Of course, I had also doubled the recipe, so I had two pans of nastiness rather than just one. I was horrified. They took forever to make and I had used too many eggs to make them again anyway without going to the store. Add to that I was on a very tight schedule to get everything done, and there was just no way to redo it. Just for the record, I would like to insert here that I have made many genoises, and this has NEVER happened. Genoise is notoriously fussy, and I think the recipe in The Book just didn't take enough precautions to make sure it turned out right. So, there I was, with no time to buy eggs and remake this disaster, and certainly having no intention of using what I had already made. So what did I do? I made a cake mix.
Now you are thinking to yourself, "Why do you have cake mix in your cupboard?" For that I have a good explanation. Last year, in Boston, I took a cake decorating class, to which you had to bring a cake every week. We decorated with nasty decorator's frosting, which tastes like shortening, so it seemed silly to ruin a perfectly good cake. So I always made cake from a mix. I had a couple mixes leftover, and since I never really make cake from a mix, I still had them. So I busted them out. It's shameful, I know. But what was I to do? I had no other option.
So I made a cake mix. Man, cake mix is easy! Five minutes later a cake was in the oven. So I proceeded. The three-milk part of this three-milk cake is that once the cake is out of the oven it gets soaked for hours in a combination of coconut milk, whole milk, sweetened condensed milk, and some other stuff (i.e. rum). It sounded good. Indeed the soaking liquid even tasted good. But do you know what you end up with when you soak cake for hours and hours? Soggy cake. Mmmm... Gross. At some stage my cake fell apart, so rather than getting nicely sliced it got dumped in ramekins. The only saving grace of this recipe was that the whole mess got covered in whipped cream and strawberries.
Overall: ick. Ick, ick, ick. In retrospect I shouldn't even have served this. But I did. Luckily most people chose the other dessert option instead (chocolate mousse). This dessert, in addition to being a huge pain in my ass, was a soggy cake mess. My recommendation: avoid it at all costs. It sounds good, but it just isn't.
This recipe isn't online. Sad, huh?