Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Well, What Do You Think of It? Why, It... It's a Very Unusual Cake, Isn't It?

My dad's favorite cake is called "Tunnel of Fudge Cake." My mother has tried to make it for him on his birthday, but it's a tricky cake, and it never turned out quite right.

Three years ago I decided I would try my hand it. Knowing nothing about the cake I looked over the ingredient's list and decided to leave out the nuts, because my dad doesn't like to mix chocolate with nuts. Only after I made the cake did I learn that the nuts are important to the cake chemistry. The cake wasn't horrible, but it wasn't a tunnel of fudge cake either.

The next year I tried again. This time I underestimated how many nuts were needed, and I only put in one cup instead of two. Once again, I learned that the exact amount of nuts is vital. Once again it was edible, but not a tunnel of fudge cake.

My mom and dad flew out to Sunland today and the plan was to celebrate my dad's birthday today so I decided to try the cake again. I bought a bundt pan. I bought nuts in bulk. I bought organic butter and cage-free eggs. I was so ready for this cake! I read and re-read the recipe. I was meticulous about following it to the letter. Everything looked perfect. I poured it onto the pan and slid it into the oven with my finger's crossed. An hour later the cake came out of the oven looking and smelling amazing. As it was cooling I began to clean up the mess I created. I reached for the bag of flour and stopped cold. A startling realization hit me all at once; I forgot to add flour. I blinked and thought it out in my mind. There was no doubt; I forgot to add the two cups of flour. I forgot to add flour. To a cake. What was I thinking?

As you can imagine, the cake was more pudding than cake. I turned it out into a plate (and remember, it came out of a bundt pan, so it's got hole in the middle) and added the birthday candles. It looked awful. it did not resemble a cake. It resembled a lumpy circle of gooey mess.

But, there was no time to make another cake. My dad carried the plate of not-cake over to the hotel where they are staying. As we walked across the parking lot, three older women started cooing at Ash, who charmed them all immediately. We all packed into the elevator and the women noticed the "Happy Birthday!" candles on the lump of not-cake.

"Is it the baby's birthday?" One of the women asked, assuming the not-cake was made out of baby food.
"No." I groaned. "It's his birthday, I just suck at making cakes."
"You make good babies, though." The other woman replied. I laughed. What a wonderful thing for her to say. And then the three women laughed at the not-cake because it truly did look awful.

It tasted good though. In fact, it tasted amazing. If I had left in in the pan, it would have looked a lot better. Had I made it in a non-bundt pan, it would have looked even better. Huh. Have I just invented a delicious, gluten-free dessert? Because it was really, really delicious. I wonder if I could win some sort of cook-off with my new recipe...

And there is always next year for the tunnel of fudge cake.

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