Dec 23, 2008

easy a cake

Sunday dinner is a family affair at the Stremel house. My son Zak and I try out new recipes on the rest of the family (we all love to eat). I found a new cookbook called The Texas Cowboy Kitchen, and it's full of tasty and hearty Texas favorites. I chose beef short ribs braised in port, maple mashed sweet potatoes, fresh salad, and Grandma Spear's Dr. Pepper cake for dessert. The short ribs were fall-off-the-bone tasty and the sweet potatoes were good, too. The cake was the beginning of an adventure.

I love to cook, and I'll try anything new and fun, but I normally leave the baking to other family members. This Sunday was the day for me to improve my baking skills. How hard can it be, right? I watch a ton of Food Network. The mixing was easy - butter, Dr. Pepper, cocoa, buttermilk, baking soda, vanilla, eggs, flour and sugar. Pour it all in round cake pans, bake for 20 minutes, check the cakes, and you're done. Wrong. What I didn't know (and didn't bother to ask), is that you're supposed to take the cakes out of the pans when they're still warm. Damn, they were stuck badly. I did manage to get the stuck cakes out of the pans - but it wasn't pretty. I thought frosting and a little powered sugar might cover up the disaster. Wrong. It was still a very ugly cake. The good news – it tasted great, you just had to close your eyes when you ate it. Here's a photo comparison of how the cake is supposed to look and how my cake turned out. Mmmmmm! I need some more practice.

Ugly cake = good blog entry, right? Well, there's more. Much more. As I was laughing and shooting a photo of the ugly cake - I was quickly stopped by a scream from my wife Mickey. She was on the floor watering the Christmas tree when the piney monster decided to take a nose dive – bulbs breaking, Santas flying, ornaments rolling, cat scurrying, TV blaring, and wife screaming – you get the picture. If you have never attempted to "re-stand" a fully decorated tree with your wife and two teenage boys - don't even try. Just run out of the house as fast as you can. We did manage to stay relatively calm - in spite of even more tension caused by me knocking over a huge plant that fell down the carpeted stairwell spreading gallons of dirt and plant debris over the stairs and basement floor. Zak looked down the stairs and said "…that's a lot of dirt, dad." Talk about testing family togetherness - we had reached red on the Homeland Security scale. Once we got the tree standing and stable - my oldest son Alec said "I think I'll go back to my apartment now." Damn skippy - I'd leave, too, if I could.

Oh well - life is a long list of stories strung together. Our ugly cake and falling tree disaster are just a couple more tasty ones for our fun family history. I hope all you have some fun and frantic holiday stories to add to your family history, too.

1 comment:

Bruce L. Snell said...

I wish Carson had been there rolling tape... that would have been a great youtube contribution.

My baking skills are legendary around here. Ask my wife about the birthday cake I made her a few years ago.