Baking Because I Want To
Baking is something I rarely do anymore. In fact, I don't even own proper cake pans anymore. They were lost in the move and I have yet to replace them. However, just because it's not something I do often, doesn't mean I don't look. I tend to browse recipes quite frequently but it's rare that something stays on my radar long enough for me to attempt making it. This Raspberry Mango Cake from Liv for Cake is one such recipe. It sounded perfectly delightful for a hot afternoon. So one hot afternoon after yoga, I went shopping and began.
Of course if it had been easy, it probably wouldn't have made writing about it worth it. But it wasn't easy. First because an ingredient I always have on hand and never run out of, ran out! Sugar - boring, plain, white sugar (can something terribly sweet be considered boring and plain?). In total I needed three and a half cups of it and I only had one and a quarter. Not put off, I ran to the store and grabbed only sugar. Which I think is an impressive feat. It is super hard to walk out of the baking aisle with only one item, let alone the whole store. But I did it and I whipped up five little cakes.
Why five? Because the only cake pans I have happen to have are five little one inch tall, six inch round pans. So that's what I did.
I somehow managed to over bake the outside and under cook the inside. Reminder to myself to next time lower the temperature and bake longer or maybe just stick to all things chocolate... but I'll explain that later.
The cakes were done (or at least were baking) when it was time for the next step, icing! Enter problem number two. My first run to the grocery store was to get the weird ingredients - the freeze-dried raspberries and mango, the whole milk, and liquid egg whites. I mention the ingredients because that is where the mistake came in, eggs. I was buying liquid eggs because separating eggs is not fun and I only needed a part of the egg. So cheating and buying liquid egg whites was suppose to make life easier. Except of course, when you aren't paying attention and just grab the one that says liquid eggs and head home. You pour the sugar into the bowl and start to figure out how to convert 6 large egg whites to cups and realize that the liquid you bought isn't white. It's very, very, yellow. I should have taken a picture. It was yellow and unusable and the only good in the situation is that the mistake was realized before it was poured into the bowl of sugar, the sugar that I made a special run out for! Aghast, the whole thing is thrown into the fridge, and all that was left for me to do was to sit on the couch and angrily text my husband about how stupid the whole situation was.
Now, hopefully if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, you'll also have an awesome husband (or friend... friends work too) who just happens to be on the bus. He kindly offers to save the icing by grabbing the correct eggs from the store on his five minute walk home so you don't have to divide eggs. Moment saved, maybe...
So the eggs have arrived and it's time to make this weird thing called Mango Swiss Meringue Buttercream. This involves a double boiler (which I don't have... though I made due. Should have also taken a picture of that), a candy thermometer (also don't have that, used a meat thermometer), and a lot of hand whisking. 45 minutes later, I have a icing that tastes like bananas. Enter our final problem, freeze-dried mango when made into a powder and mix with meringue tastes like a bad banana. Banana... not a flavor wanted nor expected in this adventure. It's too late to save the icing because being the smart person I am, the icing wasn't divided for two flavors like the recipe said. I only did one, because I figured I had enough raspberry in the cake we didn't need it in the icing.
At this point, the cakes are burnt and the icing tastes funky that the decision is made to just plow on through because it can't get much worse.
Is it considered worse when you finally finish decorating, realize it's been four hours, and taste it just to discover it wasn't worth it? We sat down and each attempted a bit. Or half a bite... and it turns out that neither of us are huge fans of cakes with fruit flavoring. There is a small potential it might have been okay if the cake hadn't been burnt. The raspberry part might have been okay, though it seemed far too strong. But the combinations of mango turning into banana icing and burnt, dry, but still way too moist cake just made the whole thing good for this one little picture and then the garbage can.