Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Sleeping baby

Birthday Cake

Or How Not To Make An Chocolate Lovers Angel Food Cake....

Today was Tim's birthday party. I was going to be totally organized and get everything this weekend, bake the cake in advance, and basically have everything ready way earlier than needed. That was, until life got in the way. Life tends to do that a lot in our house...

I never got the birthday party supplies bought during the weekend. Or on Monday. Or the cake baked. Or any other birthday party preparations done. Fast forward to Tuesday afternoon, around 5pm, still nothing done. Which logically lead to the decision to take the kids to the swimming pool... Hey, everything hadn't been done anyway, a few more hours of procrastination were not going to make much of a difference :-) And I really really really wanted to give them some swimming pool fun before they close for the summer, I think that will happen next week.

The kids had a blast at the swimming pool. And I discovered that Jane can swim front crawl, only she can't breathe :-) So she will swim 10 or 20 seconds of front crawl, and then has to stop, and stand up and breathe, and get the water out of her eyes. But I was totally amazed that she could swim front crawl at all. I guess the three weeks of daily swimming lessons are paying off.
Erik was so happy that he finally got to swim too. Had to watch his siblings for three weeks, while he couldn't swim at all. Even although it wasn't convenient timing, I am still glad I took them!

Since we were out of the house anyway, and because I was feeling brave, I decided to hit the supermarket after the swimming. Mind you, it was 7:30pm by now, and they hadn't had a real dinner yet, but I was starting to get desperate about ever getting the birthday party things. We got almost all that we needed, and we only had one big fight between Kate and Erik, apart from that, they behaved pretty well.

Of course, it meant we were home late, but at least we had bought most of the stuff now, and the boys were able to make the goody bags. We ate a very late dinner and I was going to bake the cake at night.

Life kept getting in the way though, and I was tired and Sylvia was cranky, so I ended up not baking the cake... I had been able to borrow an angel food pan from a friend earlier that day, because I don't even possess any! So that was one less item to stress about, at least I did have the pan. What I was still missing though, was a mixer... Remember how my mil broke my mixer and just put it back? I had thrown it out, but never gotten around to replacing it yet, because usually I use my big stand mixer. That one isn't as effective at whipping up eggwhites as it is at kneading bread dough, so I wanted a new small mixer.

Was too tired to go out and get one, but I did separate the 16 eggs that the recipe called for. Only had to do one extra egg when I messed up things. Now I just need to think of something to make out of 16 egg yolks and one white :-)

Went to bed, trying not to think about everything that still needed to happen. Slept fine anyway :-) Got up and mixed up most of the cake, but still needed a mixer. No problem, we have a nearby supermarket which would have one for sure... It didn't. Ended up having to drive to Kmart to get the stupid mixer. More time that I couldn't spend baking. I did pick up a tea kettle while at kmart though, not an electric one for now. Still have to decide whether I am willing to try one of those again, after last week's fire.

Finally I could whip up the egg whites, in between making breakfast for all. Apart from dropping a spoon upside down in the batter, that part went ok. Until I had to fill the cake pan. It looked like a lot of batter for the cake pan (the one the recipe told me to use!), but I was sure that it wouldn't rise much in the oven anyway, since there was so much air in it already. Boy, was I wrong.

Not only did it rise a lot, but it rose so much that it spilled all over the sides of the pan and dripped on my baking stone... Which made those pieces get nice and cooked and charred... And made the kitchen smell, ummm, well, let's say interesting... And because it rose so lot, I think it baked slower too. So it wasn't ready in the 40 minutes they claimed it would take. Nor was it ready 15 minutes later. It was more than ready in another 15 minutes, including black peaks...

Did I mention that baking angel food cakes is not going to be my favorite pastime?

Realized that I didn't have enough of the birthday candle holders, those little ones that protect the cake from the candle. Briefly considered making a third supermarket trip, but instead called my friend and begged her to bring some when she came to the party. She is a good enough friend that she saved my butt by doing that, phew! Usually I would just put in the candles without holders, but Tim had been freaking out about the wax that would be on the cake, and since it was his birthday...

Took the cake out, cut off most of the blackness, and put it upside down to cool in the basement, hoping that that would speed up the cooling process. By now the party was going to start in half an hour though, so no way it was going to be finished before it started... So much for being super organized. In between all that cake baking, we got the floors picked up and vacuumed, and the bath room kind of clean. The island cleared off, so we could put food on there. Apart from the cake, we were pretty much ready.

Guests arrived, and a good time was had by all. I was wondering whether the cake would get out of the pan easily or not. Of course, it did NOT get out easily... Well, at least it broke in only two pieces, but it just looked very raggedly... Haven't baked such an ugly cake in a long time! Amazing how I managed to mess it all up.

I melted chocolate chips, so that Timmy could decorate with chocolate lines and such. Made the hole in the bag too much, so those were extremely fat lines, not at all like the delicate lines in the photograph which we were trying to emulate. Well, at least that meant more chocolate on the cake, but still..

After all that, Tim took two bites and declared that he didn't really like this kind of cake, and he would just eat ice cream.

Did I mention that I don't like baking angelfood cakes? They don't seem to be my strength LOL.

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