Saturday, March 10, 2007

FIRST CAKE-Adventures In Cooking

I did a blog about my Mom's jelly roll cake. Then I remembered my first cake. Now that is a memory. LOL. This was in the early 1950's. I was still a girl at home. We lived in a very rural area. MILES to anywhere.
Since I had been taking Home Ec. Class in high school. This one weekend
I asked Mom if I could try a cake. She said, 'well, ok'. Because it would be fairly simple. I would only make one layer so, if it went wrong, the waste would be minimal. Moma and I decided that the dog would like it anyway. My older brother said,' What!? The dog!, no, I'll eat it'. I replied, "Bud, It is my first cake. I can't guarantee the outcome.". He said," Hey it's cake. It shouldn't be that bad, you will have used vanilla and sugar, right?"
"Well yeah".
"Then ok".
What was nice about that, it was a real brother-sister interaction. We didn't have many of those.
So, I started on the cake. The cake was going to be a light chocolate mocha. Mainly because we were out of Hershey's cocoa. And I ended up using the chocolate cocoa mix. The kind used for making hot chocolate. That wasn't a good beginning.
Since I was using a recipe for a two layer cake. I had to divide by half because I was going to only make one layer, it used three eggs. So, how DO you make half an egg? ( You beat it up and measure spoon by spoon. But, that uses up another dish. So. I didn't do that.) I went ahead and used two eggs. So, piffle. Then I had to add a bit more flour to absorb the extra egg.
We always have Crisco shortening, it's vegetable, so it's ok. I think I used just regular flour, instead of cake flour. Mainly, Because cake flour costs more and I did not want to waste it.The texture of the cake was different too, because of the substitutions. Regular flour makes a very substantial cake. But, it tastes better too.
About here, my brother had to go somewhere, but told me not to throw out the cake. So, I just said, um,um.
Well, I continued with the half cake, got it all mixed, then I discovered I had too much batter for the cake tin!?! It was because of the extra egg and flour. Our cake pans were 8". So, now what, Mom said go ahead and try a 9" pie pan. ( excuse me, but I have to laugh here.) Did you ever try baking a cake in pie pan.? I never did again. So, I poured the pale cocoa color dough into the 9" pie pan. And put the cake in the oven to bake. 375 for half hour.
And anxiously awaited the outcome of my first baking endeavor.
Well, when the cake had been in the oven 25-30 mins. I carefully opened the door to check it. (no window ) oops. It fell on the front side. Oh, my. So I closed the door and said to Mom. 'Too soon'. Maybe 5 or mins. more'.
'Are you sure?" asked Mom.
"---'yes, I think so'. I replied
After ten minutes, I opened the oven door again. And poked a straw in the middle of the cake. Came out clean. Well, the cake was finally done. But, it was a sorry looking thing. I tasted it. Bleh!! Milk chocolate cocoa mix does not a good cake make. The taste was out of balance, because even though I had put in the extra flour. I neglected to add a little more sugar too. Mom tasted it. 'Bland'. Besides, it didn't brown and it was lopsided. It was, to me, definitely a 'blegh'.
'Oh, Bud won't want this" , I said. 'it's really rather gross.' So Mom said ok. Out the back door I went. The dog Tony, came running. He had smelled 'cooking'. Well just as I went out the back door, my brother barreled in the front door. 'Where's the cake?'.
"Out', Mom told him, and pointed towards the door.
"Hey!, no! not the dog!", Bud came lunging out the back door, leaped towards me and swept the unfortunate cake out of my hands. He ran back into the house, I heard him grabbing a fork from the drawer. By the time I returned to the kitchen. My brother was ensconced at the table, happily scooping at the cake. No frosting and still quite warm.
"Ok, so, how's the cake?", I asked in a perplexed way, "it's really awful isn't it? You don't have to eat that. Besides the Tony (his dog) is going to feel miffed that he didn't even get to taste it."
"No, it tastes just fine, " my brother replied. '" Besides, I'll go get him a pigeon and he will forget about cake."
Then my Dad spoke and asked, "whatcha got there?"
My Dad had been outside and had came in after the 'cake' was in the oven. So, we told Dad the story. And he was hurt, he didn't get in on 'the' cake. There was a little left. So, Bud gave it to Dad. Poppa was polite, but he did make a face when he tasted it. I said, 'that's ok Pppa. It's my first cake and I made a lot of mistakes.' Bud took the cake back and finished it himself.
I made another cake that night. a sheet cake. White, with White frosting. Dad's favorite. Mom helped me with it and it came out fine.
Oh, yeah,Tony got a campfire toasted pigeon and he was happy too.

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