HERE’S a question for all you bakers out there. Who do you blame when a cake turns out badly?
The cookbook author? For having the balls to charge $60 for a book that contains a dud recipe?
The shopkeeper? Because, you know, how could she run out of 65g eggs?! Using 55g eggs will adversely affect your batter’s proportion! Doesn’t she know?
Your oven? Because the thermometer is wonky, and you’re too cheapskate to buy a digital thermometer?
Or yourself? For not being careful because you just had a tiff with your husband and you see his face in the batter and you end up overbeating it?
Or your husband? Because, ditto?
I couldn’t decide whom to blame when I made this cake, taken from Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito’s funky new book, Baked: New Frontiers In Baking. It was a cake I had to make because it contains one of my favourite ingredients, malt (Horlicks, that is. I swore off whisky long ago after it made me hug a toilet bowl for one whole night).
Check out the end product above. Looks pretty good on the outside, yes? Well, wait till I show you a photo of it with a slice cut out. The bottom half of each of the three malt cake layers were completely gummy. (I didn’t have the courage to publish that pic, folks. Alas, my skin is thin.)
Gumminess, in my book, is the second most horrifying thing to see in a cake. It ranks just behind a beautifully risen cake sinking the second you open the oven door. (And, perhaps, watching someone at a party wolf down the last slice of strawberry shortcake from Tampopo Deli).
A quick search on the Net revealed that the gumminess was most possibly due to underbaking. But how could it be? The cakes were pulling away from the sides of the pan when I took them out. Shrinkage is a sure sign that a cake is cooked. Right? Riiiiight? (As you can see, friends, just reliving this is hurting me real bad).
So I can’t blame myself. But I can’t blame the authors either. Maybe the cakes really were underbaked?
I had measured the ingredients and followed the instructions carefully, and my husband wasn’t home during the making of this cake. So I can’t blame them either.
*Thunder clap…* Life is hell when you got no one to blame!!!
But if there’s one good thing about this cake, it is the milk chocolate frosting. Oooo yeah. Dare I say it is the best chocolate coating I’ve ever tasted? It is a typical ganache (chocolate and cream) but with chunks of butter whipped in. So the texture is way smoother and silkier than regular ganache. It was absolutely yumm-meh.
Let’s just dwell on that and not think about the debacle that lies within. Mmmmm… I’m feeling better already.