An apple cake with half the recipe batter left out . . . the baked remainders landing on the floor. Double dumb mistakes.
That’s not the way I envisioned marking my 300th blog post.
To mark this milestone, grandson Curtis and I planned to make an apple cake together, perfect for feasting two days before Christmas 2015. He likes to be in the kitchen and remembered our success with a spiced pork recipe a few weeks earlier.
The ingredients were laid out, I placed cups and spoons on the counter, the tube pan at the ready.
Curtis and I both donned aprons (his flowery, mine denim) and got to work. He helped core and dice the apples, careful to curl his fingers away from the knife blade. We both chatted happily over the hum of the mixer, adding apples, nuts, cinnamon, and vanilla to the mix.
What Happened Next
When the batter was ready, I poured the mixture into the tube pan and set the timer on my iPhone to a “check-me” time. Then Curtis and I sang Christmas carols around the piano, a first for just the two of us.
I heard the ping, ran to the kitchen, switched on the oven light and gasped. The cake had risen to only half of the height I had expected. Then my eye caught a glimpse of a bag on the counter with half of the mix inside. Sadly, I’d failed to fold it into the batter. That could account for the low rise. Still, the cake looked edible as I pulled it out of the oven, rounded and fragrant, and placed it on a rack to cool.
Just when I tilted the tube pan, the whole thing went SPLAT. Half of the cake flopped into the sink and the other half plopped onto the floor.
There were moments of silence. 10 . . . 20 . . . 30 seconds?
Then Curtis quietly asks, “Nana, where do you keep your broom and dustpan?”
Here is the space for the cleanup photo:
(Imagine broom and dustpan)
After the Dust Settled
We ate a few morsels that fell into the sink. They were actually quite tasty. Then I asked Curtis what he had learned from the experience. Of course, I expected a snarky remark about his addle-brained grandma.
Instead, he began recalling bits of advice I gave him over the mixing bowl:
- Drizzle a little lemon juice over the apples to keep them from turning brown.
- Use a toothpick to test for cake “done-ness” even if you use a timer.
- Insert a toothpick between pan and its lid on the stove to keep a simmering mixture from boiling over (his Great Grandma Longenecker’s trick).
- When you remove a pot from a hot burner, put a teakettle with a small amount of cool water over the burner to absorb the heat, especially during hot weather.
Was he just being kind?
What I Learned
- “It’s not that bad,” one of Curtis’ own sayings when things go awry.
- Even baking disasters can taste good. (The result was a passable apple “cobbler” even if it didn’t have the consistency of cake.)
- “Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful,” another wise saying making the rounds these days.
Curt and I played Scrabble afterwards. He won, but not by much!
The Apple Cake Recipe, donated by my friend Bonnie Evans
1 yellow cake mix (All of it!)
2 cups chopped/diced apples
1 cup chopped walnuts
I teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
brown sugar for sprinkling on top of cake
Blend oil and eggs into cake mix as directed. Add vanilla & cinnamon. Then add apples & nuts. Pour into tube pan and sprinkle brown sugar on the top. Bake at 350 degrees until done. Pour icing over top of the cake.
Melt 1cup brown sugar, 1 stick of butter and ½ tsp. vanilla. Stir until dissolved. Pour over top of cake.
A Miracle – Ahh!
Out of the blue, the very next day at breakfast my long time friend Wanda Rogers Long presented me with a perfectly baked apple cake – glittering in cellophane and topped with a red bow!
All’s well that ends well . . .
Several weeks later I baked the same cake with better results for my husband Cliff’s January birthday . . .
Most everyone has a similar story whether it’s a mishap in the kitchen or someplace else. Here’s where you can tell yours.
Was there a happy ending to your story – Yes? No?
Coming next: Comparison Shopper Finds His Valentine