That's It: Part II

comments: 60


Well, okay. I feel so bad that I left you hanging. I don't know what was funnier, scrubbing cake off the baking sheet or reading the comments from everyone who thought these were Whoopie Pies (they did look like WPs, though those rings of what look like white filling are actually the little metal cake pans, or the parts of the pans that aren't covered with molten chocolate). I'm sad to say that looking at the finished cakes was just as funny, since they didn't really get any better looking, though I tried, oh I tried. I really did try. I laughed out loud, alone, so many times while doing this, so at least I amused myself.

So, I was just trying to bake little cakes like the ones I did for Valentine's Day last year and the dinner party ones with the pink flowers and the birthday one (now I'm just showing off, cause that one was beautiful, I'm sorry, but it was). So I mean, I had it. I did used to have it. I had to go back and look just to make sure. Was I [pause] too sexy for my shirt? I think so. Hubris. Got lazy. While you are all so nice to blame the oven temperature, the recipe, the humidity, the baking soda, or the [insert name of blameable cause other than myself here] for me, I'm chagrined to say this one was entirely Operator Error. I just filled the pans way too full; apparently, though I took the time to make cake batter entirely from scratch, I could not really be bothered to stop for 1/4 second and think about how much batter I should put in the pans.

Turns out, not too much. This batter, when finished, is totally liquid, the consistency of Swedish pancake batter. But it . . . rises. So the cakes totally blobbed out in the oven and gooed all over my nice beautiful baking sheet. I was standing and looking at them through the oven-door window with my mouth actually hanging open as they were bubbling over, oozing like lava. That was a sad moment. I decided to let it go, and hope the part in the pans still cooked. But thank goodness for the nice baking sheet, otherwise . . . well, at least I got that part right.


The finished stacks are these wobbly, pock-marked, frowsy little towers of sponge and cream. I think they are embarrassed for themselves, actually. They looked just like the ones I made in my Easy-Bake Oven when I was nine. But Andy was right: They are delicious. So it was all fine — just too much batter of a too-sticky cake in a 4" round tin. The recipe, Hershey's Deep Dark Chocolate Cake, is one I've used many times, and it is the best chocolate cake, if you like them dense and sticky, as I do. But it's so moist that it's not a great candidate for further lateral slicing, like I did with the Stacks of Hearts and Clouds (drier); this one's sticky even when it's coming out of the pan. It's insanely delicious, though, so don't let me stop you. Don't let my problems stop you. Just, put it in the right size pans. I see now that this — wrong pan-size — is a recurring theme in my baking badness. So, after I surgically removed these from their pans and cut off all their weird edges, I added a layer of raspberry jam. Frosted them with this (with a little jam added):

Cloudburst Frosting

4 T. flour
1 c. whole milk
1 c. butter
1 t. almond extract
2 c. sifted confectioners sugar

In small pan, whisk together flour and milk. Simmer until thick over low heat. Remove from heat and let cool completely but NOT in refrigerator. Cream together butter and almond; add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add flour mixture and beat until fluffy. The frosting will appear to separate, but just keep beating on high until it whips up into smooth, fluffy clouds.

Slapped a doily under them, sprinkled on some powdered sugar, and just dug in, quick. Not a problem. Nope [munch munch], no problems now. I wish you were here so you could have some and then maybe you'd forgive me for being such a doofus. Nevertheless, I'm sticking to smocking and savories for a while. Seriously. That's it.


As long as they are tasty is all that really matters!

Well at least they still tasted lovely, and all was not completely lost. I never seem to have good luck with made-from-scratch cakes - they're just too dense and not rich enough compared to what everyone I bake for likes (which would be boxed cake mixes).

Alicia - you have to make a parody poster for yourself to keep laughing about your baking goof - I look forward to seeing what you do with this :) You're awesome! I'm telling you, make those peanut butter cups and it will all be good again.

Great save Alicia. I remember trying to dip pieces of fruit, strawberries and thin glace orange wedges in that chocolate that sets, but it wouldn't set. I had some juicy white-fleshed peaches in the kitchen, fresh off the tree. My daughter was five at the time. We each tucked a teatowel in as a bib, dipped the dribbly peach pieces into the warm dribbly chocolate sauce and, well...dribbled I guess!Soft peach and warm chocolate all down the front of us. It was absolutely delicious and pure giggly heaven.A messy and unforgetable foodie experience that we still laugh about.We would have been a total chocolate pig-out mess if someone called in.Go the resurrected failures!

Much better looking than the sorry pan of brownies I managed to make between sneezes for my husband's birthday today!!! And then we watched "Babette's Feast" and I felt really bad for him. I'm not saying normally I have any kind of talent in the kitchen, but right now your cake is looking better than anything happening during my sorry cold!!! MY poor husband! Send some to Pennsylvania!!!

Mmmm. They DID look like whoopee pies in that first pic! I gotta tell you, speaking of Grandmother's recipes. (awhile back) Hershey's Deep Dark Chocolate Cake sounds suspiciously like her chocolate cake dark, moist and sticky. And absolutely delicious.I've been looking my whole life for this recipe. Can't wait to try it.

Hey! They look fine! Yum.

I feel so silly. I thought they were whoopie pies too. After further analysis that pan would have been a 2-3 day soaker.

they look so yummy and sweet. remember what winston churchill said,

"Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never--in nothing, great or small, large or petty--never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy."

Hope you're having a great weekend!
I guess next time you can line your baking sheet with some tinfoil! Then if something spills over, cleanup will be a snap!
Like they say, if you bring an umbrella with you then for sure it won't rain! Tinfoil has always been my umbrella in baking!

I just came upon your post and cracked up. It reminded me of my own baking adventures. Usually, I do well - but I also have had experiences like yours.

I remember the times when I have looked in my oven window, in horror, as the batter flows over the pan in a continuous stream (with NO pan beneath). I always feel so helpless and dumb because I know I made some mistake with the ingredients.

The good news is that your goodies turned out delicious.

i'd still eat this! :)

there was actually a cute little bakery i went to that made these praline cakes that were purposely sloppy and wobbly looking. they were my well as the fave of everyone else - they were their best sellers!

towers of sponge and cream? bring it on!! i think i can just see your face as you watched the chocolate volcanoes erupt...
in the end, taste is everything and you were successful in that, take heart dearie :)

Alicia, I've awarded your family the You Make My Day award as best supporting characters in a blog!

(yummy looking cake too! That frosting is calling my name...)

Isn't time for a Clover fix?

i started to wonder if the recipe you were going to refer to for your chocolate cake was ddcc, and i had to comment once i saw that indeed you had used that one. it's totally the best chocolate cake recipe on the planet, and i've been using it for about 15 years. my husband won't eat any other chocolate cake because i've ruined his taste buds! way to persist to a glorious, mouthwatering end!

Well I made that cake you made last night and I must say, it is probably one of the best cakes I have ever eaten. It is so moist!!!!!! I made the buttercream frosting to go with it. I am going to share this with my little sister, she will LOVE this recipe. This is such a simple recipe and if you have the ingredients on hand it is the way to go. YUM!!!:)

I have that same face on a lot in my kitchen, teehee! These just look too yummy to me! Thanks for the recipe!!! You amaze me, even your messups turn out gorgeous!

I shouldn't have opened this page. I now am fixated on yummy chocolate goodness. Must. Have. NOW!

Oh the Cloudburst Frosting -- My best friend from PA makes this type of frosting, she calls it 'Cooked Icing' and I think its the best but try as I might have never been able to get it right. I've followed her recipe several times and mine always is lumpy. I am going to have to
try yours and see if I can do better!

Chris Howard says: February 25, 2008 at 06:21 AM

I have bad baking karma too. /hug

Ohhh YUM! I can't say that I'm much of a cook but I can eat alright! :) Thanks for sharing with us!

I love things to be pretty, but with cake .. it's the delicious that matters most! :)

I agree that really is the best chocolate cake ever!

I adore how you can slap a doily under just about anything and save the day! And I'm very glad that your cake still tasted great!

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at