Monday, August 31, 2009

Blueberry Boy Bait: Success, then Failure


I'm not sure you understand. I'm sure she'll correct me, but I can't remember ever seeing my mom make a cake from scratch, ever. If you remember your childhoods, most of our moms made funfetti cakes. So for me, this was a HUUUUUUGE accomplishment.

I made Smitten Kitchen's Blueberry Boy Bait recipe. Apparently, the original recipe was created by a teenage girl in the 50s for the Pillsbury Baking contest. She said she named the cake for its special powers.

I'm the kind of person who like for things to look just like the picture. And when my brown sugar was coming out in these cookie-sized clumps, I immediately got stressed. Is it wrong that my brown sugar is rock hard? I'm guessing yes, but I'm not sure what to do about it.

The recipe was by far the most complicated mixing I've done thus far. In one bowl, I combined flour, baking powder and salt. In another, I combined brown sugar, granulated sugar and TWO STICKS OF BUTTER. Omigod, so much butter.

When I went to make this cake, I realized I only had one stick and I had to go out at 9:45 p.m. to my nearby Target to buy more. To answer your inevitable question: Yes, the check-out lady DID judge me.

I was supposed to mix the butter and sugars with my hand-mixer on medium-high speed. Funny, but all that mush slows it down quite a bit.

This is the part of baking that always stressed me out. The idea that I will NEVER get batter or dough out of that mess. But thankfully, adding eggs always saves the day.

After adding the eggs, I poured a third of the flour mixture and half of a cup of whole milk and mixed.

Once that first bit of flour and milk mixed in, I added the rest of each and mixed until it looked ready to go. Then I folded in half a cup of blueberries.

Once the batter was safely spread in my greased pan, I sprinkled more blueberries on top and the element that makes this cake magical: sugar and cinnamon! I popped it into the oven at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes and TA DA:

MY VERY FIRST HOMEMADE CAKE! Doesn't it look pretty? And edible?

But my joy, it was short-lived. Because this cake was destined for a pot-luck event and I needed to get it into a portable container. And here's where my "newly domesticated" title reared its ugly head: I had NO IDEA how to get that cake into my container.

In most cases, you would flip upside down. But with this cake, the cinnamon sugar needed to be on top. I held the pan up and loosened the sides. I wiggled it, tried to ease it out with my hands, but realized quickly that wouldn't work. So I picked up the pan and tried to slide the cake, like a sheet, into the waiting glass container. And because the laws of physics were working against me, look what happened:


My first thought (after my sentiment stated above) was, "Well, of course." So I had to take my very first homemade cake to this potluck event, where it had to compete with a berry torte and a strawberry cheesecake, and let me tell you, it lost. Some people took slices, but I mean...c'mon. This was obviously the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree of cakes.

Thankfully, it tastes delicious, so I'll be nibbling away at it for breakfast for the next few days. So this will be the first thing I've made that I will deem an epic success AND a tragic failure.

And Sean told me that, had I made this cake for him before the engagement, he would have been persuaded to marry me. So single ladies, best get baking!


Joe said...

So uh, I take it you didn't grease the pan?

Amber said...

of course i greased the pan! This was gravity's fault.

Amanda said...

My recommendation would be to either bake in the glass dish or take the other dish to the party. Who is going to hate on the dish anyway?

Amber said...

Amanda, in hindsight, both of your suggestions are genius and too simple for my complicated mind to come up with.

gina-mom said...

to answer your question: brown sugar very often forms hard clumps... try microwaving in the package for 10 seconds, usually works... as for transfering to another pan: it's tricky but you can loosen the sides carefully with a knife, flip unto a plate, and then cover with the container you wish and flip it into that... voila, right side up in the wished for container

Amber said...

many, many people have told me the flipping trick but since it had a topping of sugar and blueberries, i was concerned the topping would be ruined.

Paige said...

Oh Ambers, this cake was destined for breakage the second you decided to transfer pans... lol. I don't think I've EVER successfully transferred an 8x12 (or some such size) cake, or brownie, or ANYTHING to another vessel. I agree with Amanda, and your hindsight... nobody's going to hate on a metal pan when there's tasty cake to be had! :)