September 15, 2011

This is why I don't bake

I've mentioned before that I LOVE to cook, but I'm not much of a baker. I don't like to follow recipes, I don't like to measure ingredients, I like to make substitutions for ingredients, etc--all of which led to many baked goods disasters in my kitchen.

Yesterday, I created what was quite possibly the ugliest cake EVER.

It was Jerry's birthday, and I wasn't planning on making a cake until the last minute. It seems like we're ALWAYS on some sort of diet on our birthdays, so we never have birthday cakes. Well yesterday, I was thinking how sad that is, so I decided to make a cake. I found a recipe in a book for a peanut butter-chocolate cake (sounds right up my alley, no?!) and I had all the ingredients on hand.

I tried really hard to follow the directions and measurements. I baked it in a 9x13 pan, just like the recipe said. However, I tried to invert the cake onto a glass tray thing, and that's when it totally fell apart. So I put all the pieces back together onto the tray, and figured I'd just double the batch of frosting (because what's the harm in THAT?) and cover up the mistakes.

Hahaha, it didn't quite work out that way. (Oh MY! I just uploaded the pics to my computer, and almost died laughing. It looks even worse than I remember):
This is after piecing it back together (before frosting, obviously)

After putting on the peanut butter frosting
I do want to point out, however, that this cake tasted SO GOOD--totally making up for it's fugliness. Jerry laughed when he saw the cake, but when he tasted it, he was in love. The peanut butter frosting was amazing--it tasted just like the center of Mrs. Fields Peanut Butter Dream Bars (not that I know what those taste like, or anything).  And the cake was really moist.

I had a sliver large piece, and sent the rest to work with Jerry this morning (except for two pieces that I sent in the kids' lunches. I'm glad I did that, otherwise I'd be stuffing my face full of chocolate-peanut butter goodness.

The kids were so cute when Jerry came home from work last night. We had his favorite dinner ready, and Eli grabbed a beer out of the fridge for him--Noah and Eli hid behind the door, and when Jerry walked in, they yelled, "Happy birthday!" and Eli gave him the beer. Jerry said it was the best greeting ever.

This morning, with a belly that was probably still full of cake from last night, I had to do a 45-minute tempo run. I knew it was going to be cold today, so I wore my Under Armour Cold Gear pants and a running jacket. I was still a little shocked when I stepped outside and realized just how cold it was! I was hopping up and down at the bus stop.

When the kids got on the bus, I did an easy 1-mile warm-up, then ran comfortably hard for 3 miles (my goal was about a 9:00/mi pace, but I didn't want to focus on the pace so much as feeling like it was hard, but not TOO hard). I didn't look at the Garmin until I was done:
Yesterday, someone asked me what website I use to show these screen shots--I use You don't have to have a Garmin to use it, but I like that I can upload my Garmin info to it.

What is the worst kitchen disaster you've ever had? I think mine has to have involved steel cut oats. For the life of me, I cannot cook steel cut oats without either burning them, boiling them over, or undercooking them. I can cook just about anything else--but steel cut oats just aren't my thing!
Steel cut oats in the microwave

Steel cut oats on the stove
I've since learned to cook them in the slow cooker. But I never think that far ahead!


  1. Never judge a book by its cover or a cake by its ugliness!

  2. Ohhh man. I will have to say the worst kitchen disaster for me has to be Jiffy cornbread from a box. I CANNOT make Jiffy cornbread from a box. It turns out flat and hard EVERY SINGLE TIME. I don't get it! I follow the directions perfectly... and still, flat and hard as a rock. However, if you give me a recipe where I have to make it from scratch, it will turn out perfect every single time. Odd? Yup!

    And despite the visual appearance of that cake, it still LOOKS delicious! Chocolate and peanut butter is such a beautiful combo! :D

  3. I think the cake looked fine once it was frosted - what a great combo - PB & chocolate! Everyone should have a cake (or their favorite dessert - my husband gets a rhubarb pie) on their birthday.

    I love steel cut oats!! On the stove - 1 to 4 ratio - simmer, uncovered for about 1/2 hour. Or I use my small(dip-size) slow cooker - 2 cups water and 1/2 cup oats and let it go all night.

  4. The cake does look good though (post-frosting). I'm the same way, can't be bothered to measure anything, so I'd rather cook than bake.

    Not a disaster, but amusing... when I was younger I didn't understand why you had to use powdered sugar in cake frosting and we were out of it in my house. So I figured, what the hey, sugar is sugar, and so I used granulated sugar to make my frosting. MMmmm ... crunchy frosting!

  5. I am a great baker, but I have to tell ya. Easter morning I made a pineapple cake and when I flipped it out of the pan it did the same thing. It fell apart and some even stayed in the bunny pan. I cut it up and made a layered cake/pudding kind of deal. Sometimes certain pans need a lot more spray or even crisco. Glad it tasted GOOD. Which site did you get the recipe from? It sounds great. My worst baking disaster though is Angel Food Cake. I can't make one. Only cake I can't make. Made one once, flipped the bunt pan, came out looking beautiful then deflated and turned in to like a hard sugar cake. LOL. I couldn't stop laughing. Since then I only buy Wegmans Angel food cake. I cheat!

  6. I have had too many cooking disasters in my kitchen over 41 years of marriage to remember them all. I didn't think your cake looked half bad. I'd have had a piece! But you were smart to just have the ONE piece, then get it out of your house. I bought a big bag of barbecue chips at the local Menard's store this weekend, it's kind of like a Home Depot store, and they carry these Uncle Ray chips that I used to love. What am I talking about? I still love 'em, only I don't eat them now. But hubby wanted a cheap sprinkler and I had a rebate that I could only use at Menard's, so I drove the umpteen miles from my house Sunday afternoon and got him the sprinkler and then I saw the Uncle Ray's Barbecue Chips near the check out. They were quite simply calling my name. I bought a bag, against my better judgment. Tuesday I counted out 15 chips, put them in a plastic container (I didn't want those little chips of very valuable "gold" to get crushed in my lunch bag) and had 150 calories worth of Uncle Ray's for lunch. After dinner Tue. night, son had about half the bag, then later, hubby had a few. Yesterday I sent the rest in hubby's lunch. So I only ate 150 calories worth. I feel victorious. Cause when that stuff is in my house, sometimes I am powerless. I know I brag about being in control and having the power, but it's not always true.

  7. Please post the recipe for this Chocolate PB Cake--it looks Yummy! :-)

  8. i gave you a blog award!!!

  9. I make steel cut oats every day. Try adding a tablespoon of virgin coconut oil in the water as it boils, before putting in the oats. Mine won't burn when I do that, plus you get your healthy fats in. You won't taste it, well, I don;t anyway :) Keep up the good work! Lisa

  10. Baking is my absolute favorite thing to do. the problem is that I love to eat what I bake. I just made banana bread last night- so easy- and last week I made pumpkin zucchini bread (complete with cream cheese frosting!) with the recipe I had suggested to you from LOVE that site! My biggest issue in the kitchen is not killing the meat I make for the second time!

  11. I love the strike through on the words... hahahahaha

  12. I do my steel cuts in the oven. 1 cup steel cuts, 2 cups unsweetened almond/coconut milk or water and 2 cups vanilla almond/coconut milk(sweetened). Cook on 375 for about 70 minutes or until all the water is gone. I always burn mine on the stove, so this works great and they are super delish. Top with a tablespoon of vanilla cake mix and some milk. mmmmmm.


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