Date: February 21, 2008
I have two houses - one I own in San Diego and which contains most of my stuff - however much is crawling back with me on trips - and the second home, which I live in since I am working up North in Silicon Valley, and the housing market won't let me sell it anyway. 484 miles apart. Hold that thought.
I can't even re-rent the home down there because the remodel is stalled - until I sell the one up here. Sigh. So I am - occasionally - Schizophrenic!
My older child is hard to shop for. I finally got him to agree to accept a cake for his birthday. A BLUE CAKE with a matchbox car in it. That's what he - at age 32 - asked for. You see, I always made them exotic cakes and they would tell me what they wanted. Usually a big enough cake to feed 32 fellow students at school.
Strawberries in FEBRUARY. Barbie doll? No - Matchbox cars - in the icing! A cake covered in gumdrops and jelly beans. Another covered in candy-canes. Sugar coma on a plate. I fed many a classmate and many a member of the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.
I need to bake a cake. The 5-egg white cake. I have no pans. They are in San Diego.
To prepare, I went to San Diego and got the top 2 pans of a 3-pan wedding cake set. He wanted a small cake. I believed I had a cookbook up here so I left my cookbooks - in San Diego. Ready, set. I think I am ready.
I drove home from work and went to Target
I needed a ball to squeeze between my knees (physical therapy for the back) and I wanted the exercise bands (diet program strength training) and I need the matchbox cars.
I found - after searching - a collection of 10 Matchbox cars that will do.
Because my 32-yr old son wanted a 1-layer BLUE cake with BLUE icing and a matchbox car stuck in it. Why not 10 cars?
I went to the check-out and the woman there says "Oh! Some little guy is going to be happy at your house!"
I leaned over and said - "He's 32!"
I then had to explain how he is dipping into his past.
When she was finished ringing me up, she said, "Have fun with your little guy!" with a big grin on her face.
OK - I bake tomorrow.
Dark chocolate M&Ms are NOT as good as regular by the way.
Delux mixed nuts are cheaper at Target.
And Summer seems to think that because she doesn't like this particular can of cat food from the Fancy Feast pak that she has a right to another one.
I checked all my supplies and set up the counter first thing Saturday morning.
I had run to the supermarket and gotten canned frosting (I know - cheating), and blue food coloring.
The over-sugared (nearly 3 cups of flour - 2 cups of sugar - 5 egg whites - 2 tsp vanilla - 4 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp salt - 2/3 cup of shortening
- 1 1/4 cup of milk - 1/2 tube blue coloring and beat the crap out of it - cake
(it's the Betty Crocker Silver Cake - I THINK it's the recipe I used to make - the other cookbook is in tatters in San Diego) is in the oven (top tiers of the wedding cake pans). I whipped the cake with a LOT of blue food coloring.
Only thing, these are old pans, and, my waxed paper is in San Diego. (As is my big mixer.)
I purchased white icing and it has been whipped blue in its can.
I have white lettering icing and a 3 and a 2 candle and a bunch of matchbox cars
Chuck coming later today ---- ha ha ha (his birthday was last week)
My present from LAST YEAR I am still waiting for - he said he'd check the memory chips in the G5 today and get them. Eventually.
ha ha ha
We shall see! But the cake is in the oven.
Meanwhile - I am about to crawl on the floor and do my physical therapy (Notice I haven't done it yet.).
They think I just need to unkink the spine (from not doing the stretching exercises I had done for 40 years) - after John died I sort of walked out of the gym and crawled under a blanket for 14 months.
However - my sons (both of them) are haunting me to get my act together.
As soon as I get the $%$%^^ taxes done, I have a synopsis due to an agent and a second and third book to HTML for Dacafe to consider.
Then I MUST get the PDF version up for sale.
Rolling along - slowly ----.
I was content and busy.
I haven't made a cake in YEARS - YEARS! and it is an art form.
So ---- the big one layer - only 1/2 the pan deep - blew all over the oven --- it is still "setting". The smaller one - dropped in the middle! MY CAKES NEVER FALL!
It's perfectly fine (it was leftover batter and for me) - didn't overflow - but managed to collapse in the center!!! One minute it was fine, the next - nope!
The big one is still too unset to move. Giving it 7 minute intervals.
Have to cool it - then cut it flat anyway (I always love that because the top is very good - almost like a sugar cookie)
Yes - I remember this cake.
Fortunately, I had put a liner in the oven. No fire.
Because I swear enough for a cupcake has run out of the big cake pan!
I forgot - I usually made a cupcake on the side to keep such overflows from happening! Oh well - As long as the kitchen doesn't catch fire!
OK - I ran to check the beast - IT FELL TOO!!!
And then it did not come out of the pan clean!!!!
I moved it eventually - it fell apart - literally - in my hands! Not break - disintegrate!
I have a mound of overly-sweet blue cake.
(Tastes good - looks like hell - great for a pudding-cake - broken cake with cooked pudding dumped over it - serve with cool Whip. My mother made this often ---- supposed to be a way to use up stale cake. She said it was a way to have enough desert for everyone - because it wasn't dinner without a high-calorie desert!)
I am making another cake!
I am determined.
Chuck said to keep him posted - they are playing a game on-line - we are checking via cell phone.
If this one explodes ----
This new cake is a whipped and folded in egg white cake. OK - think about this. Ever had to whip egg whites with a baby hand-held mixer? Because - my big mixer is in San Diego. And then FOLD IN stiff egg whites into BLUE cake batter! What was I thinking!
Tastes better then the other one (of course I lick the beaters!)
Anyway - last attempt!
Chuck thinks I left something out but I was very, very careful and I checked - nope.
It never felt "right" while I was making it - it is not my fool-proof recipe
I will find that one!!!!
This one felt "right". (Cooks tell you something "feels" - because we've made enough of it to "know".)
I have a lot of yolks to put in 3-4 egg wraps (with turkey pepperoni and Ricotta cheese - 0 trans fat tortillas - some whole wheat ) - makes a nice lunch thing for work.
The large one still finishing in the oven - the little one out - cooled and inverted and solid.
So - I have a blue cake!
If the big one comes out --- I will have the big one - if not - I at least have the little one.
The cakes tried to fall - I had a long talk with them.
I was DETERMINED!
The sun is out - I am hosing sidewalks - I also need to get on the floor and do my exercises.
The large one wasn't as perfect as the little one.
I didn't make MY icing which I make thin first (hard coat) and then thicker (decoration)- this would have held the crumbs in place.
I still didn't have wax paper (in San Diego) so the bottom stuck coming out (of course it did) - shortening and flour be dammed - the PAM I used on the first cake with sugar and flour didn't work either.
I ice them upside down.
OK - I didn't have a good cake plate (that's in San Diego) So I put the larger cake in a blue pie pan and iced it there
(yuck - not a good idea - hard to do the sides, use your fingers).
And I iced the little one (much better).
I cleaned up and washed the cars and dried them - 8 on the big cake and 2 on the small one (the VW bug and the bomb squad). Actually - turns out - I can;t count today either.
Now I tried to decorate - after beating the icing into submission of sorts (definitely not my home-made icing!)
- I stuck the cars in place - covers a wealth of sins.
OK - now for the candles - well - no - they spent all their time falling over and messing up the cake. So I finally stuck them on the sides - extra icing didn't help (not mine so soft and squishy) and I have no toothpicks (they are ALSO in San Diego).
I went to write on the cake with the tube of white icing I bought - ooops - no nozzles (sold separately) because --
All together now -
the nozzles are in San Diego!
Notice that I cannot count-------
I give the F--- up! I emailed during this whole trying day to relatives up to 3000 miles way. Why suffer alone?
While cleaning up after the boys had come and gone (the cake was great - he took the bigger one in its pie plate and absconded. No singing. I once sang to him over the phone and he had me on speaker at work - the whole front desk crew at CISCO was entertained. I can't sing.
Anyway, the water wasn't draining so I looked at the sink - looked like 4 black olives in the water.
I haven't had any up here - only in San Diego.
It was the 10th car! A beach-buggy Dune Buggy army Jeep Matchbox car! I rescued it. I am keeping it.
Chuck assures me he hasn't lit any of the new matchbox cars on fire - yet - or drowned them in gasoline.
That little detail is another story.
My son tastes the creation ---- said it was good. I am exhausted. I am going back to San Diego and finding the $%^&*& right recipe.