It’s about that time of year when it is no longer unbearable to turn the oven on and I get cozy with a cup of tea and the sweet lilting cadence of Mary Berry on the Great British Baking Show. After watching so many rising doughs and hot water crusts, I have to start experimenting with my own rudimentary baking skills.
The recipe today is called A Man’s Cake. You know for celebratory occasions when honoring an ornery man who lives too strenuously to accept an indulgent frippery such as cake. The recipe was in the box at my great-grandma Irene’s place in Mystic, South Dakota. It appears as follows:
As you can see, I had to fill in some of the blanks.
Questions I Have Off the Bat:
- What temperature does this bake at?
- For how long?
- What kind of pan does this bake in?
- Do you frost this cake?
- Why does it have just the yolks mixed in? Do you add the whites later?
- Irene – who do you think you are? Mary Berry? This is not a technical challenge! (Or is it…)
Some skimming through the Joy of Cooking led me to set the oven to pre-heat at 350 degrees F. Also, my mother told me to so I did.
I decided on a standard cake pan. My mother suggested I use two since it will rise.
Thing is, it didn’t. Rise that is. Which is perplexing because 2 teaspoons baking powder seems like an awful lot. So… maybe I shouldn’t have added those egg whites after all?? For those of you with baking expertise, please set your mind to this recipe and help me figure out where it went wrong!
Points when I may have gone wrong…
When I mixed the batter, I put everything together in one operation. Trouble is, I didn’t read the end of that sentence on the recipe so I put literally everything in together in one operation. But I figured that the baking powder would make that not a big deal.
Also, I decided that this was an excellent opportunity to try out my new manual handheld mixer. In my excitement to record its performance, I wonder if I may have over-mixed the batter.
My mother and I agreed that it needed two cake pans. However, the batter was just enough to fill the bottom of each pan. I wonder if that had anything to do with the final, underwhelming result?
The Final, Underwhelming Result
The final cake was dense and close-textured and dry dry dry! In order to make it more palatable (and because seriously, what is the point of cake without frosting?) I put together a coffee-flavored buttercream that is delicious. I think it needed to be whipped longer though.
Baking extraordinaire of the internet: what went wrong? How do I fix my cake so that my man will appreciate it? After all, isn’t male approval the penultimate achievement of making A Man’s Cake?