pandemo (pandemo) wrote,

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Emmy's Pandemonium Birthday Cake

How many cooks does it take to make a German Chocolate cake in Minnesota?

Everyone in the house, as it turned out. Emmy came out before lunch, and we ate, then were going to play canasta. She suggested, prompted by Lou, making the cake first.

I have a set order when I plan to cook something with specific ingredients. Since "town" is a 50 mile round trip to grocery stores with a choice, planning ahead is essential for even the most simple recipe. My biggest problem is to be sure I have the requisite seven eggs on hand, so I opened the fridge.

I'd checked last night, seeing a full carton of 18 eggs, but Lou said to check again, as Randy had cooked scones. (Excellent, but DEFINITELY NOT ON MY DIET! I suffered through one anyway the first day here just to be polite, you understand, but when Lou came down with one fresh out of the microwave for herself and one for me, I could only break off and nibble one tiny corner in good conscious. My weight WILL drop! Without the stress of teaching, I WILL control it.)

Five of the 18 eggs were left to bake a cake that takes seven eggs. Lou said not to worry, they had two more cartons of 18 in the downstairs fridge. Persisting in checking, I inquired about the special cake flour.

Lou opened the cabinet where she normally keeps it, but found none. Ran had been doing the cooking since April, so some displacement has naturally occurred. All the flour got lumped together, but before we discovered that, Lou and Emmy went to the store for a can of green beans and cake flour, managing to get out for about 1/5 of what it would have cost me. (On the way home, I hit Hy-Vee for two items and walked out with over $100 worth, most replacing stuff damaged in the fridge melt down.)

I'd brought the chocolate with me. When they returned, we began. I never thought to check the appliance situation! A new industrial strength mixer beat the cake to death. I told Lou that I normally did x and y by hand, but she said I didn't need to any more -- so, the bowl was bp;ted onto the mixer. When time came to remove it, both Emmy and I were needed. I could NOT have done it without her, even if I had known the proper procedure to follow.

The sifter Lou had was a new, improved model that had been used once. It was impossible. In hindsight, it would have been faster/more efficient to return to the store and buy a new one. A SIMPLE, OLD FASHIONED MODEL. (Remind her NOT to ever wash it... Since only dry ingredients are intended to go in it, I have the feeling a trip through the dishwasher may have led to its demise...)

Hats off to Emmy, who is a very creative thinker and problem solver. We ended up emptying two spice jars whose shaker heads were the approximate size, and filled the canisters with tiny portions of the flour mix, banging them on the sides of the mixer, then running it, time after time after time.

Randy favored dumping the flour in as is and taking the lumps. (As it turned out, the batter lumped from overbeating anyway, so hours of arm tiring shaking and pounding could have been omitted, in hindsight...)

A process that began at 1:30, with the promise of a canasta game to follow, actually terminated with the cake in the oven, cooked and cooling by the time Andy and Darcy came to pick her up around 7. She ground the pecans and helped monitor the microwave cooking process, as well. By 7:30, it was finished.

The only good thing was not having to wash every pan in the house afterward, as Ran was running the dish washer nearly constantly during the process, cleaning up from his scone creation earlier in the day.

Originally, we planned to eat Emmy's birthday cake after they finished their birthday dinner at Arby's, but it simply got too late, so the next afternoon, when both parents got off work, they did a quick fly-by for cake and milk/whatever.

Everyone pronounced it good, but having had truely good German Chocolate cakes on many occasions, I recognized that it was tough and flat, with a failed version of the icing I loved best... Someday, (IF I'm ever invited back, I will either bring my sifter from home or buy one on my way through town and do it up right. I've never had it take more than 30 minutes to get the cake into the oven. It was always cleaning the pots and bowls that was time-consuming...)
Tags: cooking, vacation

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