Monday, April 9, 2012

Kitchen Screwups: From Disaster to Delicious!

On Easter Eve (that's the Saturday before Easter) I awoke feeling like I had been hit by a truck. I really didn't want to get out of bed — I was sniffly, achy, and really sleepy. But I had to...we'd promised the Boy that we'd attend an Easter Egg Drop (Eggs dropped from a helicopter, really). It was early, cold, and windy, and I was grumpy. Not a good combination, for sure. Not even the magic of coffee was helping.

After two hours in sub-zero weather (ok, it just felt like that) we came home, I collapsed on the couch and after some loving attention from my boys, I eventually dozed off...all the while mentally tracking the numerous things I needed to get done before Easter.

Besides dyeing eggs, organizing dinner, and making other "child-related preparations," I wanted to make cupcakes for Easter dessert. I had something like this in mind:
Cute, right?

Cute, supplies on hand, easy to do. Or so one would think. (One who was thinking clearly, would think.)

I awoke from my all-day nap, groggy and congested as ever, but decided to get to work. It had to be done now or else it would never get done. 

I melted chocolate and spread it on a cookie sheet to firm. I diligently sifted dry ingredients: flour, salt, baking powder, sugar. Then mixed the wet ingredients: butter, eggs, vanilla, milk. I found my favorite natural paper cupcake liners and used the last of them in my vintage cupcake pans. Vintage might be going too far. I've had them since we got married...25 years. Is that vintage or just old?

I carefully blended the wet and dry together,  following directions exactly. I measured out portions so each liner was 2/3 full. And gently placed them in the preheated oven, spacing them out so they would cook evenly.

Within 2 minutes I knew there was something wrong. I heard sizzles and spatters. Not supposed to happen. Opening the oven I took notice of a few overflowing cups. I know I didn't overfill them. So it wasn't a great big deal, right? Closing the door, I allowed my old friend Denial to take over. They'll finish out fine, let it go. 

Another minute or two...Uh oh, now I started smelling smoke. Smoke?! Opening the door again, I thrust an empty cookie sheet under the bottom rack to catch dripping batter. That should fix it. Denial again. Hmph.

See the smoky haze in the background? It got worse!
I meandered over to the dining room table to watch the Boy dyeing eggs. Husband was taking pictures and suddenly said, "Oh My God, look at that!" Smoke was billowing, yes billowing, from the stove. We scattered across the house throwing open doors and windows (It was 30 degrees outside by that time) and pulling down smoke alarms off the walls. I can't stand it when they blare out "Hey lady, you're burning something!" At least it sounds like that to me. 

Then I opened the oven door to this:
There are no words for this...

So denial didn't work, darn it! I pulled the whole mess out of the oven. Husband joked that I would be getting some brand new cupcake pans. But I was determined that all my effort, failure that it was, would result in something edible.

I peeled every bit of cake I could get out and off those pans and dumped it into a bowl. And stared at the mess of crumbs. Now what? Wracking my brain, I seemed to remember something about mushed up cake being used for cake balls. That's it! I'll make cake balls.

"Husband, could you run down to Rutter's and get a can of cake frosting?" "Really, you're going to buy cake frosting?"(I didn't want to waste real buttercream if this, too, was a failure) So he did run to Rutter's. And bought orange juice, too, for which I was so grateful. My, that man must love me!

While he was at Rutter's I scribbled across the recipe page in my Betty Crocker cookbook, "DO NOT USE!!!" God forbid someone else tried this horrid recipe. Don't they test these things?

I added half a can of frosting to the crumbs and stirred it in well. Then, using my hands, rolled out balls of cake/frosting mixture, plopped them on a cookie sheet and popped them in the fridge to solidify. I removed the previously melted, now firm, chocolate from the fridge, broke it up and melted it once again. Once the cake was firm, using two forks, I dipped it into the chocolate then returned the tray of balls to the fridge.

And finally, I turned my attention to cleaning up the enormous mess: crumbs and chocolate everywhere. Burnt crud on the inside of the oven, all over my pans, all over the floor. Sink filled with gross, soggy cake. Ugh. I scrubbed and swept and scrubbed some more. Then turned on the oven's self cleaning function to finish off anything left in unreachable corners. While the stove was doing it's thing, and keeping the house a toasty temperature, I read over the recipe again. It's a basic yellow cake recipe...supposed to be easy. Where did it go wrong? Oh my, it called for 3 teaspoons of baking powder, not 3 tablespoons. Mea Culpa. And a Happy Easter to All!

And they were edible, too. Disaster fixed.
Happy Easter from the Boy and his mama.


  1. Thanks for the laugh! What quick thinking to turn that oven mess into pretty cake balls! I'm sure the Husband & the Boy didn't mind the store bought frosting. I have to ask... did you get new cupcake pans?!

    1. Alas, no, I didn't get new cupcake pans...yet. I think I'm going to go for mini pans this time. Smaller messes if they overflow!

  2. You are hilarious!!!!! You should have your own TV show for all of us untalented moms and g-moms. Kind of like the Pioneer Woman on the cooking channel. You are so talented and funny and wonderful. Your son is one lucky Boy! Egg drop......good grief. Luckily it wasn't Thanksgiving and those eggs weren't turkeys!
    God bless,

    1. Thank you for the lovely compliment! Yes, the egg drop was a bit strange. Thank goodness they don't do turkey drops! Ewww.


Thanks for the comments!