Thursday, March 4, 2010

Practice Makes Perfect?

Whoever said "practice makes perfect" clearly hasn't tasted my apple spice cake.

On Sunday afternoon, I practiced the recipe before Saturday's dinner party.

I'm usually a chocolate gal, but I was inspired by a dinner menu recommended by The Joy of Cooking, which suggested beef stew with apple spice cake for dessert. It sounded very grown-up (and also homey and comforting in cold weather), so I figured I'd give it a try.

Since I had all of the other ingredients, Avo was a doll and ran out to get me some tart green apples and some buttermilk.

Ruby helped whisk together the flour (I used a combination of all-purpose and whole-wheat), light brown sugar, baking soda, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground nutmeg and salt while we waited for Avo to return with the missing ingredients.

NOTE: I'm too lazy to type in the whole recipe, but if you're interested, it's on page 933 of the 1997 edition of The Joy of Cooking.

Avo sauntered in to deliver the goods just in time. We proceeded to stir in the buttermilk and vanilla (I decided to skip the optional rum or brandy) and then mix in the chopped apples (I omitted the chopped walnuts or pecans).

We poured it in the pan and popped it in the oven (which had been pre-heated to 350 degrees). I set the timer and waited.

Ten minutes passed and I suddenly realized I forgot something...something important.
I double-checked the recipe and, yep, indeed, I did forget something important. In my haste, I neglected to mix in the 1/2 cup vegetable oil with the buttermilk and vanilla.

Since Avo had already taken off for the gym and I was too embarrassed to call my mom to ask her what to do, I made a bold decision on my own. I took the cake out of the oven. Even though it was already getting firm, I mixed in some canola oil.

When it was finished about a half hour later, the cake looked, well, greasy.

"It's very moist!" said Avo. Instead, he could have easily said, "What is this greasy thing pretending to be a cake?"

Nobody minded once we served it with some vanilla ice cream. And now I'll be sure not to repeat the same mistake on Saturday night. Hopefully, practice will indeed make perfect.

1 comment:

Bernie Bernstein said...

It's Me, Mom - Word of advice. Before putting your batter into your baking pan, re-read the instructions to make sure everything is added. Also a good idea to put all your ingredients on the counter and move each one aside after it's added. If something is left you'll know you didn't add it.

P.S. from Dad - Follow Julia's best advice and always have a glass of wine when cooking.