A Little Cake with my Icing
Runny icing, but m-m-m-m good.
I used to be Queen
A friend of mine in her sixties said to me once, “Now that my kids have all grown up and moved away, I don’t make big meals and I always eat my dessert first.” I took that to heart. That was years ago. Luckily for me, I read Hubpages and I came across a hub about a good book I needed to read. I shall soon look up the name of the hub. The book is called The Insulin-Resistance Diet and it’s written by Cheryle Hart and Mary Kay Grossman. I am enjoying the book. I do have a few bad habits to slay before I finish the book and put all my new knowledge into practice. One of my bad habits is – besides eating my dessert before my dinner – is to eat a small piece of cake with a huge amount of icing. Having only had a small piece of cake, I can then easily have another immediately.
I can bake a reasonably good cake if I focus on what I’m doing when I bake the cake, cool the cake, place the cake on a kitchen plate and then ice the cake.
My mother can bake the most fabulous cakes; three layers, four layers, fancily dressed in swirls of icing and topped with flowers and lettering – whatever the occasion calls for. I have never taken the time to learn the art of baking any cake that is more than two layers and I’m not sure I have the required patience and ability even if I were to try very hard to do my best. My daughter has inherited baker's genes from my mother. It is always a treat to eat one of my daughter’s lovely home-baked cakes.
What I lack in creativity when it comes to cake-building, I amply make up for in practicality. Case in point: the chocolate bundt cake I prepared yesterday which you can see in the photograph. I forgot to let the butter soften up enough, so I put six tablespoons of butter in a small dish and placed it in the microwave for ten seconds. I scooped the softened butter onto my mound of icing sugar in my big mixing bowl. I added milk; way, way too much. It's true, in the 1970's, '80s and '90s, I used to be the Queen of Focusing on Details such as the moment when the milk is sprinkling and dripping into the mixing bowl. Not any more, but oh well.
Next, while preparing this cake, I didn’t concentrate on how long I had beaten the icing ingredients, so there were a few lumps left in it. But my mouth was watering by then for my piece of cake with icing, so I decided that a few lumps didn’t matter. (A few dozen lumps mattered even less.) I did forget to add the vanilla. But I was very practical, you see, because I knew the icing would be fattening, so I had cut the zero-trans-fat-oil needed for the cake to one-third of the required amount when I was mixing the cake’s ingredients.
Just a Wee Bit Too Much Milk
I added approximately seven tablespoons too much milk when I was pouring the milk into the bowl, so I realized that the icing would be runny. I’ve done this before and it’s easily adjusted – to some degree – by adding another cup of icing sugar. And by the way, I always stir the icing sugar into the mixture softly with a spoon before I beat the heck out of it with the machine or else there is icing sugar flying, powdery-fine, all around the kitchen.
Now, for the crowning piece of information as to my practical methods: I use a bundt pan to bake the cake so that when I make my icing a little too thin, I can pour it all over the cake and then let the icing fall into the middle until it is almost one-inch deep. If by happenstance, I have made the icing just the normal consistency, a bundt cake is most practical because if you cut a wedge from the outside to the inside – wide to narrow – as you see in the photograph, you get more icing than if you just cut a two-inch piece of a standard two-layer cake, straight across. The whole secret to good cake-making – to my mind – is to get enough icing on and around the cake. That is the point of eating the cake, isn’t it – to get to the icing?
I have learned from the book, The Insulin-Resistance Diet , something I forgot I had practiced for approximately 25 years and that was linking and balancing my foods in correct proportions of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. So, for instance, before I eat 30 grams of carbohydrates in the cake -- and I forget how many fat grams for this equation, I need to eat 14 grams of protein which I can do by eating one-half cup of low-fat cottage cheese before I choose my fork and dig into my cake.
I know and understand the etiquette of eating cake with the proper dessert plate, the proper utensil and the proper dabbing of one’s mouth with the serviette or napkin. If I’m at home alone with my cat, I rarely use the proper fork as it is inadequate for the task of lifting and preserving every gram of icing until it reaches my mouth. My cat truly doesn't seem to mind.
I can’t count the number of times I have hinted to my daughter and to my husband that I would really like one of those glass or crystal cake platters for Christmas or as a birthday present. You know the kind – with the fragile glass stem holding up the platter so that the perfectly-made cake is lovely in its presentation. I don’t know why I’m the only woman my age who doesn’t own one.
(Yes, I'm kidding.)
© 2011 Pamela Dapples