Adventures in Cooking: The Bundt Cake Debacle

So, after a long day yesterday, I couldn’t face starting to bake the dessert I’d signed up to bring to my work pot lunch. It was already 9pm and I was toast. So, no problem, I’d get up extra early and do it in the morning. You know where this is going, so you might as well start laughing now.

I went to grab the pecans out of the pantry, set them on the counter, and turned around to find some butter in the fridge. By the time I turned back, my counter was moving. Not really moving, but swarming with ants who were pissed that I moved their pecan nest. WTH???? So I chunked a huge bag of ant-flavored pecans down the disposal. Fine. Pulled out the recipe book and found an old recipe for chocolate pound cake with chocolate glaze. YUM, I will just adapt it using gluten free flour! Woohoo! I threw the 2 cups of butter in and whipped em’ good. I looked back at my book for the sugar count, and DAMN it, I only needed ONE cup of butter. No worries, I laughed it off, and I removed half the butter. No harm, no foul as they say. I mixed and measured the rest of the ingredients without incident, threw it in the Bundt pan and realized that I needed a couple things from the store for the glaze. It had to cook for an hour 25, so I dashed off to the grocery at the corner. As I walked back in the door, I was struck hard in the face by the acrid smell of burning chocolate and the sad, disgusted faces of three dogs who now smelled like burning chocolate.

I threw open the oven and through the smoke I saw that my pound cake was actually about a 3.3 pound lava cake, evidently, because it had erupted over the edges of the pan, through two layers of oven racks and had pretty much coated the oven burner thingys like chocolate dipped pretzel sticks…. Burning, and glowing sticks to be more precise. SHIT SHIT SHIT &^%$##@#! I left the oven open and did a stupid, spastic dance thing. That was productive. “Wait! Turn off the oven, they’re about to torch!” Check. “Find a cookie sheet to put under pan.” Check. Crap! I should’ve put it right under the pan so I could lift out the whole mess. Now that the bottom of said cookie sheet was good and coated in chocolate cake batter, I proceeded to slide it under the over flowing, still soupy, cake filled pan. Carefully, I eased the flat sheet under the front edge of the pan, watching helplessly (but not wordlessly) as the molten goo sloshed out of the back edge. The whole pan, in fact, eased back to the rear wall and thumped ever so gently as it stopped. Chocolate sludge cascaded down the back wall of the oven like a mudslide, and blessed me with huge black smoky, burned chocolate steamy facial. Ahhh. I thought, “this is like a really bad sitcom, where’s my laugh track?”

I got a metal spatula and started trying to clear the chocolate from the oven burners. Realizing that my forearms would soon catch fire if I didn’t remove the f*n hot racks that I kept bumping. I had a pot lid in my left hand that I was using to scrape semi-molten chocolate into. Not enough hands. Back to the sink, with one rack and a pot lid. I set the rack down, pot lid handle through the wires to keep the scrapings in (I’m a freaking genius, I think at my little potlid cleverness because god forbid the crumbs fall in the sink) and I went back to carefully lift the cookie sheet of soupy, gooey, chocolate cake to the stove top. It wouldn’t have surprised me, even a little, if the whole thing had slid off into a scalding mess on my bare feet, but surprisingly it did not. Back to the oven, I grabbed the second gooey rack, back to the sink, stacked it. Wait, I needed my pot lid sitting so cleverly between the racks. Without thinking, (obviously) I lifted the top rack. SHIT! HOT! OMG. “Is this seriously happening? Seriously? Right now, in my life? I just want to make a freaking gluten free chocolate pound cake for my friends. Mother Father!”

I went back to the still wide-open oven with a wet and very large kitchen towel folded many times. I finished scraping burned and hardened chocolate into the recovered pot lid. With the big wet kitchen towel, I wiped the VERY hot burner thingys. It made a satisfying sizzle as it burned my kitchen towel and I didn’t give a flying … flip at that point. When I thought I was done with the clean up, I turned the oven on to about 500 to burn off what remained… I opened doors, windows and decided a shower was in order. I really smelled like smoke, and burned chocolate.

I was amazed, and somewhat amused (somewhat is the key word) at how penetrating the smell was, even back in the bedroom! I wondered if I should be allowed to cook. Probably not, truthfully. I used to bake like a boss, what the hell just happened? Did they start making Bundt pans smaller than they used to? I mean, it really was an old recipe… but I swear it quadrupled in that freaking oven. The thoughts were flying through my head like drunken butterflies, they had meandered off down some rabbit hole trying to remember the last thing I did that made the whole house smell, when suddenly I noticed the smoke or was that steam in the shower? I admit, I freaked a little because it smelled strongly of burning chocolate, or maybe it was singed into my golden nose hairs, or was pouring out of my hair, I don’t know, but I opened the door and checked to see if the bedroom was full of smoke, because really, at this point, I expected I’d have to call the fire department.

With my head wrapped in a towel, I ventured back to the kitchen. I opened the oven door to a cloud of smoke. I had no choice, really. I stared long and hard into that offending oven, and finally satisfied that the burning and smoke was back to a minimum, I got the gelatinous cake and cookie sheet and put it back in the oven on fresh clean racks. I set the time for an hour, hoping I could just continue the bake.

Like a nervous hen, I peeked back in and I’ll be damned if it wasn’t overflowing again, over the edge of the cookie sheet and back onto the floor of the oven.

Go Buy Cupcakes

Bundt Cake Turned Lava Cake

I just turned the oven off, got dressed and drove to the local cup-cakery.

They were a big hit at the office.