Pinterest is one of my favorite things! It is a smorgasbord of ideas and inspiration. I pin way more projects than I attempt but I do try many of them and my ratio of pins to attempts is much lower in the area of cooking.
I don’t mind cooking and most of the foods I make are pretty enjoyable to eat, but I’d much rather spend my time building or refinishing furniture or on some other DIY project. But there are some recipes that I hope for an opportunity to try. And so was the case with this decadent Williams-Sonoma Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake shared by Monica of Lick the Bowl Good.
(picture courtesy of Monica via lickthebowlgood.blogspot.com)
I work at a church and we have an annual Christmas party with our staff, elders, and all our spouses. Typically we are a pretty casual bunch and if we happen to be sharing a meal together at some other time of year it is probably BBQ or tacos. (It is Texas after all!) But the Christmas party is different, though not formal by any means, it is special and our food reflects that. So I got out the bundt pan!
Actually, I borrowed a bundt pan, because I don’t bake…often. And when I do it is usually in a cast iron skillet. This brings me to the first thing I learned in this endeavor:
- USE THE RIGHT EQUIPMENT: If you read Monica’s post you realize this is a FIVE POUND CAKE! What?! The WS bundt pan used has a 15-cup capacity. That is not your average bundt pan, which I didn’t realize until trying to borrow one. I gratefully borrowed a smaller one, figuring it didn’t really matter.
So, I have all my ingredients and supplies (more or less), time to bake. I followed all of the directions, poured the batter into the pan, and baked it. The pan was really full. I mean really full, as in, there was probably some geometric theorem that could have been proven by how full I got that pan.
The cake is done and it’s time to get moving. I am not fast in the kitchen. I know this and yet I rarely seem to factor this in when budgeting my time for cooking. The time to depart for the party was quickly approaching. I didn’t realize how long I needed to let the cake cool both in and out of the pan before icing it. I decided to take a short cut and just invert the cake after a few minutes out of the oven. Lesson number two:
- FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS: There is a reason a direction or step is included. This doesn’t mean don’t ever modify but only if you have experience and know what you are doing. Which is debatable with me in the kitchen.
I also didn’t wait the full hour before attempting to lift off the pan, refer back to lesson #2.
Now I have a cake that has fallen apart and a party to get to. I did take the opportunity to taste the cake…oh my goodness, was it good!
As a side note, when it comes to my failures, I am not a roll with the punches kind of girl. I am way more Chicken Little…the sky is falling.
Since the failure was not in the actual recipe of the cake but my execution, my husband Jay suggests serving it as finger food. I snap back that is NOT an option. ( It wasn’t one of my finer moments.) He then suggests picking something up from the bakery of our local grocery store. I admit defeat and agree. Enter lesson number 3:
- BE ADAPTABLE: Sometimes things don’t work the way we want them to or think they will. Go to plan B. Don’t let a setback make you give up.
Unwilling at that point to throw the cake away I dumped the pieces of cake in a large zipper food bag and headed out the door with a pretty tray in hand. After picking up some bite size brownies that are always delicious from this bakery, Jay drove us to the party while I artfully arranged them on the plate. It may not be homemade but it could at least look good!
No one really cared that I didn’t bring what I intended. They just wanted Jay and I to be there and a yummy and sweet dessert. Those things were accomplished. And even if I had shown up with no dessert they would have still loved me. This leads to lesson number four:
- GO EASY ON YOURSELF: I am usually my biggest critic. I hate to fail, but the reality is that failure is a part of success. It is easy to be so fearful of failure you never try anything. That’s even worse than failure. And through practice you get better and better.
The next day, when emotions weren’t running quite so high an idea struck. I knew what to do with that mess of a cake. Make a trifle out of it. And that’s just what I did. And last but not least lesson number five:
- DON’T GIVE UP: Never quit. You may have to change direction. You might even have to go back to the beginning and start again, either with the same plan or something new. Just don’t give up.
Ultimately the cake was a success. Just not the way I intended it. I have seen that same theme repeated over and over in my life. It is one of the things I hope my sons have learned from Jay and I. Dream big, make plans and put them into action. But don’t give up when things seem to have fallen apart.