Post # 329 A Cake “Good and Wet!”

January 7, 2015 at 11:26 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post # 329 A Cake “Good and Wet!”

Several years ago, I was going through my cake baking phase.  I told you how the way I would learn a recipe or technique was to pick one and do it to death.  At one point, it was cake.  The first thing my mom taught me to make was a cake and I could put one together from scratch with little fuss.  Then I got lazy and turned to box mixes and for years, that’s where I stayed.  Cake mixes were reliable.  Your cake always turned out the same way, moist and tender, and the same flavor every time.

Then something happened.  I don’t recall what.  Maybe my ex-wife does.  I started making cakes from scratch again.  And not just any old cakes from scratch.  I did all the weight measuring, the sifting, etc., all the things cake mixes do for you.  Along the way, I developed two new recipes of my own that I’ve shared here that create a light and moist cake that is scrumptious.  I got the routine down to a point where I could have a cake in the oven within ten minutes of thinking about it.  Mostly because I kept all the ingredients for cake on hand all the time.  Then I stopped making cakes for a while.  I think I segued into cookies about then, or maybe some other dessert.  Or it could have been homemade pasta or food dehydration.  I’m pretty far ranging in what piques my curiosity.

During my cake heyday, though, I received a request from my sister-in-law.  At the time, she was working as a counselor for a halfway house that took care of adults with special needs.  Some of the clients had families that were very involved and hands on, and some clients did not.  There was one older lady whose birthday was approaching and whose family was the hands off type.  And she wanted a birthday party.  Since the home did not have a budget for parties, my sister-in-law asked me if I’d bake a cake for this woman, and maybe give her a cheap menu of party ideas.

Of course, I ran with the idea and made homemade party favors and decorations.  I built a menu on $10 to feed six people.  Back then, $10 went further than it does now, so they had a great time with crock pot chili. homemade nachos, and punch (non-alcoholic, of course!)  Then I turned to the cake.  She wanted chocolate so I made my original recipe chocolate cake.  Back then, since I was turning cakes out two or three a week (really), I was well stocked with throw away aluminum sheet pans.  I made the chocolate cake, slathered it with thick chocolate fudge frosting, then decorated it with crushed nuts and toasted coconut.  Then I piped out her name in royal glaze, put one sparkler on it, and delivered it at the appointed time.

The look on her face when I brought that in made it totally worth it.  It was all for her and she invited me and my wife to sit down as her guests.  She even tried to blow out the sparkler until we explained it was just for show.  My sister-in-law cut the cake into squares for all the residents and guests but I waited until she took the first bite.  Her face lit up, but she waited until she swallowed before she said “This cake is good and wet!”

I’ve never had higher praise.  You struggle to make sure everything is perfect and then someone gives you the best compliment they can think of.  Every time I think about it, I smile.  My ex-wife, her sister, and I still remark on the joy that lady’s face showed when she said that.

I promised her I’d always make a cake on her birthday, but sadly, I never had to fulfill that promise as she passed away within the next year.

It’s moments like those that make me want to cook.

I got the idea to start this blog when a good friend of mine posted on FB once years ago about her knife set.  Her words basically said, “I spent the weekend figuring out what all those knives in my block set are for.  Did you know each one has a specific use?  Who knew?”  So being me, I wrote back, “I knew.”  I had already moved away from the area by that time we both lamented the fact that I wasn’t there to show her how to cook.

Ding!  Ding!  Ding!  Ding!  Ding!  Ding!

So the idea was born.  And I’ve had a great time doing this.  And once in while, someone tells me “Your cake is good and wet!”


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