It was bound to happen. And I knew it was bound to happen which is why, upon deciding that I would be the one to the bring the cake to The Wedding Date’s birthday dinner, I got in touch with his BFF to see which sort of cake of prefers and decide upon a nice, simple, dark chocolate, courtesy of Dunkin Hines.
I thought about rifling through the book of chocolate recipes my last boyfriend got me to find something a bit more decadent—maybe something made with ginger or orange zest. But I knew better than to attempt a new recipe at 6:00am the day of The Wedding Date’s birthday dinner, especially as I’d be meeting all of his friends for the first time and driving straight from my students’ rehearsal to the restaurant, thereby ensuring that I would A) arrive late and B) get lost along the way.
It’s not that I’m a pessimist; I’m a realist. And even though I love to bake, I know that baking under pressure is a recipe for disaster. You end up doing things like walking all the way to the grocery store only to discover that you’ve forgotten your wallet, then you have to beg the cashier to keep your items at the register, walk back to campus, get your wallet and pray they haven’t restocked everything because you’ve got a mid-term to study for and you can’t afford to spend another hour searching for condensed milk.
Once you’ve finally lugged everything back to campus, you realize that someone has used your saucepan—your only saucepan—and they’ve burned something in it. You grab someone else’s saucepan (which you wouldn’t do ordinarily, but desperate times call for desperate measures…) and finally get down to business, only to discover that this imposter saucepan is cheap and the enamel is melting into the fudge. Not wanting to poison your boyfriend, you have to start over. Which means another trip back to the grocery store.
Additionally, there’s some universal law (I think it’s a law of physics, actually) that says if a girl spends hours making cupcakes/fudge/brownies for a boy she likes, she will inevitably trip during the delivery process, thereby sending said cupcakes/fudge/brownies onto the ground, icing-side down.
Can you blame me for electing to create a simple cake-from-a-box for The Wedding Date?
At any rate, I get up at the crack of dawn, grab the box of Dunkin Hines mix and get down to business. For a boxed mix, it is, actually, a bit fancy (there’s this pouch of “fudge” and dark chocolate chips that must be mixed with water and allowed to thicken, then “spooned” atop the batter and “swirled”) but I get the entire thing in the oven ahead of schedule and head back upstairs to pack my overnight bag.
Forty minutes later, I begin to smell chocolate wafting up the stairs so I race back down to the kitchen to pull the cake out of the oven. It’s… well… a bit wonky looking. The fudge “swirls” have turned rather extraterrestrial and the entire thing looks more like the surface of the moon than a birthday cake.
“You still have to turn it upside down before you ice it,” my mom reminds me. “It will be fine.”
“I don’t know. It looks all… all wobbly.”
“That won’t affect how it tastes,” she assures me. “He’ll love it.”
I’m not so sure—I wanted this cake to be PERFECT—but I put it on the counter to cool and head back upstairs to take a shower. There, I brainstorm all sorts of ways to rectify the situation: I can just slice a little off the top so it will like flat, or I can fill in the wonky bits with extra icing so that it won’t wobble. I might need to make a quick run back to the store to grab some extra icing but I’ll have just enough time to get there and back if I hurry.
When I return to the kitchen, however, I find this:
Message me if you’d like to give the white one a home. I’m just about ready to put him up for adoption (which is exactly what I screamed at the tops of my lungs upon finding The Wedding Date’s cake half-devoured upon the kitchen counter…)