Thursday, July 9, 2009

Blackberry cake, anyone?

I asked myself this afternoon, "Did Betty Crocker ever have a day like this?" I picked more blackberries today and thought to myself that a blackberry cake would be a nice change. So, I made a few phone calls, browsed a few cookbooks, and scanned the internet looking for a recipe that looked good. Looking back now, I wish I would have just frozen these berries for another day like I had with the second batch I picked. (A note to add here..."Betty Crocker" is just a name chosen, not an actual lady. Sad, but true.)
It's actually rather comical, my afternoon baking session...I wish I had an excuse of interruptions or not feeling well or anything, but I don't. I picked two recipes to try - one from a cookbook and one from the internet. I had four heaping cups of berries, so I had enough for both in case I liked one better than the other. Free berries, so why not try something new, right?
Everything was going well with the internet "Blackberry Coffee Cake" recipe until...I second guessed myself on the type of pan to bake it in. The recipe called for a "tube pan". This to me is an angel food cake pan...and this was even confirmed as I scouted the internet on my options. I hesitated so many times before pouring my batter into the angel food cake pan (which happens to be two pieces) as opposed to a bundt pan (one piece tube pan). Yeah, the batter stayed in the pan for about two minutes and then proceeded to ooze out into the oven and burn on the bottom of the oven. Thankfully, the smoke alarm didn't go off. The smell was atrocious and so unnecessary if I would not have second guessed my first instinct on the bundt pan. So, I grabbed the angel food pan's oozing mess out of the oven and looked for a place to sit it until I could get the oven cleaned and the batter into my bundt pan. I decided to sit it on top of the bundt pan since the batter was headed there next anyway. Great idea until I realized too late that I was supposed to have sprayed the bundt pan with Pam before the batter went in so it wouldn't stick. It only got better from here...
Finally, the cake batter was in the bundt pan...not as neat and pretty as the first time, but in and contained. Getting the cake out would be faced after the baking was finished...if I could get it out anyway. Meanwhile, I had started on my second cake, "A Berry Cake" while the first cake was trying to escape it's baking pan. Had all the ingredients in and realized that this recipe was apparently mistyped for there were no liquids listed aside from an egg and the crushed berries. Hardly enough liquid to make a cake batter consistency...more like playdough consistency. So, having been baking for years now I go out on a limb and add pretty typical ingredients to make it more batter like...oil and milk. Got it to what seemed normal and poured this batter into a prepared cake pan complete with Pam and said a prayer that it would set up like a cake. Along the way, I tasted the batter...and one thought came to mind...nutmeg. Nutmeg and I have this history and it was almost repeated again this time around. Let me just say, a little nutmeg goes a long, long way. Love it, but it has a lot of punch in a little pinch. In the oven it went...nutmeg, prayer and all.
The two cakes were finally sitting side by side in the still smoking/smelling oven and all I could do is chuckle at my last hour's adventure. It was sure going to be a surprise to see what ended up coming out of the oven in the end. Both ended up being done at the same time amazingly enough. The blackberry coffee cake looked good...the berry cake looked like cake at least.
It took about three tries, but the coffee cake finally came out of the un-Pam-ed bundt pan with only minor damages. The berry cake looked good...smelled and tasted like nutmeg. Aside from having the seeds in it no one would ever know there were blackberries in it.
Needless to say, it was not a typical Betty Crocker baking day for me...nothing seemed to go right but I did end up with two cakes that are edible and with ice cream they will be even better.
Next time, I'll stick with my cobbler recipe.

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