Monday, June 13, 2011

Even The Best Cooks Have Bad Days!

 I bought a quart of buttermilk to brine some Fried Chicken Tenders.  Not wanting anything to waste, I decided Buttermilk Pound Cake be the perfect recipe to use up that leftover buttermilk.  As you'll see from the recipe post, I was cooking merrily along, got my beautiful pound cake batter into my pan and put it in the oven.  I was using a very old "tube" or "angel food" pan.  I was even thinking to myself that I would talk about that pan in my blog.  How it isn't the prettiest pan I own, it doesn't make a fancy looking cake.  I was going to argue that pan, ugly as it is, was one of my favorite pans to use.  "Old Faithful" you might call it.  I never have to worry about a cake sticking to that pan, or whether it has baked evenly.  I whipped out at least a dozen Merlot Cakes for Christmas gifts with that sucker.  They all came out perfect.  Yes.  That's it, I'll tell all of you how great that pan is. 

And then I smelled something.  And it smelled a little bit burnt.  The cake had only been in the oven for about 10 minutes.  The baking time was over an hour.  I knew my cake was not burning.  My oven was clean, so no yucky bits were burning on the bottom.  Or were they?  I opened the oven door, just in time to see the cake patter dripping, NO POURING, out of the bottom of the pan and baking in blobs all over the bottom of my oven.  I removed the pan from the oven, and quickly poured the batter into a new pan.  Then I turned the oven off and waited for it to cool.  Now my house no longer had the delicious smell of baking cake.  It had that not so delicious smell of burnt crap on the bottom of the oven.  Thank goodness I use a silicone oven liner.  I pulled it out, scraped the cake off and replaced it.  (I might add that cake that was baked on looked pretty good, so I think we have a winner here!)  The remaining batter went back in the oven in a new pan.  I'm thinking it may not be as perfect as the original might have been, but the crisis was averted for the most part. 

In the end, the finished cake tasted delicious.  There wasn't much batter so it wasn't very tall, but it had the density that you look for in a pound cake.  Would I enter it in the State Fair?  No Way.  But I have no problem serving it to my family.  Or my friends for that matter.  I'll be having a slice myself, with a big Diet Coke just as soon as I get off of the computer.  And so what if it didn't come out in Blue Ribbon Form?  If it still tastes good, whipped cream or a good raspberry sauce can mask lots of mistakes.  I'm telling you this story because even good cooks have bad days!  Don't be intimidated.  No matter your level of cooking expertise, we all have occasional blunders in the kitchen. 

Make the best of it if you can. If you can't?  Give the bad cake to the dog, and eat a Ding Dong instead.

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