A Piece of Cake

5 05 2012

Or is it?  Actually, I’ve never found baking cakes to be that easy.  Bread, brownies, cookies, muffins, quick breads, those I can handle without any problems, but for some reason my cakes often end up on the dry side — maybe I leave them in the oven a bit too long?

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Today’s cake was an exception.  Coconut cake was specially requested for the occasion, and my favorite cookbook — Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything — didn’t disappoint.  Even with whole wheat pastry flour and unsweetened flaked coconut, it’s tender and delicious.  But it wasn’t a piece of cake, not to me anyway — three separate recipes including the cake itself, the buttercream frosting, and the vanilla pudding sandwiched in between the layers.  And you know, once you realize exactly how much butter and sugar goes into these things, you can’t help but cut yourself a smaller piece.

But here’s the thing:  Maybe sweet delights like coconut cake SHOULD be hard to make and maybe the process is crucial for making you realize exactly how decadent they are.  Maybe that’s part of what makes a treat special, instead of an everyday occurrence.  When you buy the cake (or the cookies, or the candy, or anything similar), neither the difficulty of the creation nor the decadent truth of its deliciousness is apparent.

So here’s to cake, for being hard to make and bad for you, and oh-so-wonderful!  Thank goodness the rest will keep ’til tomorrow.

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2 responses

16 05 2012
cygnetsmall

I love baking cakes (and anything really) – probably because of the precision and chemistry needed to make it really great. Try this one sometime if you like chocolate: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/beattys-chocolate-cake-recipe/index.html 🙂
(Glad to have found your blog!)

17 05 2012
drinkofwater

Yum, chocolate is my fave — that looks like a good one!

I think I find cakes and similar things frustrating because most recipes are written for white flour and a lot of sugar, and I usually try to adjust the recipe to use at least part whole wheat (if not the whole thing) and either less sugar or some sort of substitute for white sugar. What I make usually ends up pretty good, but let’s face it: not exactly like the “real thing.”

What I think works best whole wheat are things with less of a need to be “fluffy,” like pie crusts or bread or cookies. Cake is definitely harder.

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