Today I’m driving to a nearby town to visit one of my good friends, who is currently battling cancer. She loves my blog and she’s always cheering me on, giving me pointers, and sharing her recipes and cookbooks. One might say she’s my biggest fan.
I wanted to bake her something special, so I turned to my new BHG Bridal Cookbook and picked out a recipe for a Cream-Filled Cake Roll.
[Photo source: Better Homes and Gardens]
I want to preface what you are about to read by saying I really did have confidence that I could pull this off. I really, really did. As it turns out, my confidence is no match for my terrible cake-making skills
The Cream-Filled Cake Roll was a series of new firsts for me, starting with the concept of beating eggs until they form soft or stiff peaks. My stepson assisted me with much of last night’s cake-making, so we took turns operating the hand mixer, ooh-ing and ahh-ing as the eggs turned creamy and foamy.
The process of beating the egg yolks and the egg whites (separately) took about half an hour (come on, eggs, I don’t even spend that much time on you in the morning!). We were finally able to fold the yolk mixture into the egg white mixture, followed by folding the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Mmmmm, cake goop.
So far so good, right? I poured the batter into my parchment paper-covered, well-greased pan, and let the oven do its thing. At this moment in time, confidence was still high. No way my 60 minutes of prep time wouldn’t pay off! In the meantime, I made the cream filling by beating together whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla. My stepson and I sliced up fresh raspberries (sampling along the way) and I folded them into the mixture while he washed all of the red juice off of his hands and face.
With the filling done, the next hurdle was to get the cake out of the oven and onto the towel coated with powdered sugar. When the cake came out, I diligently followed the recipe’s instructions to immediately loosen the edges of the cake from the pan. I turned the pan upside down over the towel; at this point, a big slab of cake should have slipped out of the pan’s grasp and landed cleanly on the towel. Since a picture is worth a thousand words:
The “big slab” of cake on the towel was missing chunks, all of which had stuck to the parchment paper. All of its holes made it the Swiss cheese of cakes. Stifling a scream, I pulled myself together: it’s still salvageable, I told myself. I continued to do as the recipe indicated, rolling the towel and the cake into a spiral. Once cooled, then maybe, just maybe, I could still turn this into an edible (albeit ugly) cake.
Again, since a picture is worth a thousand words:
When the time came to unroll the cake and the towel, the cake had stuck to the towel so badly I couldn’t even remove it. Furthermore, it had cracked into a million little pieces while cooling, so it was no longer a holey cake–it was simply a collage of cake scraps. After several unsuccessful attempts to remove chunks of cake from the towel, I dumped everything in the trash can–towel included– and said good riddance.
My stepson asked if I was going to try again, but at 11 o’clock at night, my sanity depended on my surrender. When I told him that I would not be attempting it a second time, he responded: “Well, you could always just bring her some flowers.”
It’s apparent that my cooking has improved ten-fold since I started my blog in March. But when it comes to fancy cakes, I am a LONG…long…longlonglong way from improvement. To the friend for whom this cake was intended, I’m sure you’ll be reading this at some point, and I’m sure you’ll understand that it’s the thought that counts. Going forward, I’ve heard Costco sells some nice desserts…