The Cake Takes Control

Sometimes the end result in a baking adventure isn’t how you imagined it would be. Tim’s birthday cake was a perfect example. I set to work on his cake Saturday morning and never sensed that the cake wasn’t in the mood to cooperate. I was trying out a new cake pan I received for Christmas and I had every last detail planned for how the cake would look when completed. I used my most favorite chocolate cake recipe (the Wacky Cake recipe from this book), filled the pan, put it in the oven, and set my timer.

Once the cake came out of the oven, it was a test of my patience waiting for it to cool. I was so eager to assemble the cake… I waited, and waited, went on a bike ride, and waited some more… And then, it was time to remove the cake from the pan. This is when the trouble started. The cake simply refused to release itself. I tapped, knocked, pounded, and even dropped (on the floor, gasp!!!) the pan trying to encourage the cake to come out. Nothing. I let it sit longer on the counter. Nothing. Finally my inner rage took over and I really pounded on the bottom of the pan, I mean really pounded. Exactly half of the cake plopped out and landed on the parchment paper circle I had waiting on the counter. The other half didn’t budge. I ended up gently removing it with a spatula, but some cake remained in the fluted nooks of the pan. Tim took care of that by dipping his fingers in and sweeping wads of cake into his mouth. Birthday greed?!

So, what was supposed to be one round cake with a mousse-filled cavity ended up being half of a two layer cake with a mousse-filled layer in between. Baking failures always upset me and some level of mopiness ensues (I can’t be the only one, right?). The final cake (which is still pretty):


The components: Two layers of chocolate wacky cake with a peanut butter mousse in between, drizzled with chocolate ganache, and topped with granulated agave-sweetened peanuts (the mousse, ganache, and nuts are all test recipes for Celine and Joni’s cookbook).  The cake is delicious regardless of the misfortune along the way. Maybe the cake knew what was best?


Not a photo, but a scanned image of the birthday card I made for Tim. I love elephants (purple ones especially!), and we both love birds, so that was the inspiration behind this particular card.

Tim and I also enjoyed homemade tofu jerky over the weekend:


Smoky Peppered Tofu Jerky – We made this in our food dehydrator (using an adapted recipe from How it All Vegan). Making jerky takes a long time, but the results are worth it. This small batch lasted less than a day.

Lastly, another test recipe for the cookbook:


Homemade tofu mayo! I was never a huge mayo fan before going vegan, but this was so simple to make. I used it in the Tofu Dill Salad Sandwich recipe from Vegan with A Vengeance and it worked beautifully.

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22 thoughts on “The Cake Takes Control

  1. Can you make me a cake for my birthday next year, because Tim’s looks beeeuutiful! I do know what you mean about the post-bake mope. It’s frustrating, even if it all works out in the end.
    That card is so pretty – you’re not just adorable, but talented, too!

  2. That cake made me drool over my keyboard! I hate it when cakes refuse to get out of the pan. I’m glad you cake still turned out so beautiful.
    And you have some amazing card making skills!

  3. naw, you’re not the only one who gets upset & mopes a bit after a baking failure. you shoulda seen me the day i messed up a biiiig batch of pumpkin-peanut butter-chocolate-pecan cookies. it was not a good day. the cake ended up looking so beautiful, despite its lack of cooperation! yay! it’s got me wanting cake for breakfast! i love the card you made for Tim, too – that awesome! hooray for more tofu jerky & some delicious tester mayo. dan & i really need to get a move on finding a dehydrator. (and i love your green plates! they’re too cool!)

  4. Don’t even worry about the baking mishap! A couple weeks ago I was making pumpkin bread and the bread wouldn’t come out of the pan. So I was shaking it and hitting the pan and the whole middle of the bread came out and I was left with a bread “shell” in the pan. I got a good laugh out of that one. That cake looks gorgeous to me!!!

    That card is so adorable, I wish I was artistic =P

  5. oh crap! really? it can’t be true! I get all mopey too when disasters occur. it’s not fair, seeing that you planned way ahead to make him the most beautiful cake, like, evah. but you know where your talent shines? in that despite it having felt like a disaster, it still manages to look like a million bucks. in other words? I’d totally hit it. I mean, eat it.
    and the card, Amy…you’re going to get me started on that “you should open an etsy shop” blah-blah I always give you, aren’t you? dude.

  6. The cake looks beyond delicious, even if it didn’t turn out right! And I’ve definitely slammed a cake pan on the floor before trying to get a cake out–sometimes the pan just needs a talking to (or a thrashing, as it may be!). The tofu looks rad too–wish I had a dehydrator!

  7. that cake looks totally awesome, despite your troubles! i completely understand on the mopy-ness after a baking fiasco though… i’ve pouted over messed up baked goods more than i’d like to admit. at least it wasn’t your fault, it was that persnickety pan, right? ;)

    and since i missed your last post, that restaurant sounds completely wonderful. i’m envying the massive meatball most!

  8. I’m so with you on the poutiness with cakes gone wrong. My red velvet was a victim of the same issue. 2 layers became 4. It happens. Looks like it was delicious though!

  9. Oh, how frustrating! But the cake looks and sounds amazing! I made a wacky cake with PB frosting awhile back that was such a hit, so I know your cake was even more fantastic!

  10. Wait, you call that a failure?? It looks beautiful and delicious to me! Seriously, as long as it’s edible, I wouldn’t say it’s a failure, and if it even tastes good, it’s at least borderline successful!

  11. You wouldn’t know it was a failure from that pic, the cake looks gorgeous and sounds freakin rad.

    I get really mad when I have baking failures. I feel your rage – many a time have I angrily smacked the crap out of the bottom of a baking tin, trying to get my cake to come out and it invariably comes out as a mass of crumbs instead. Also once I spent about 3 hours making and frosting a lovely 3 tier cake for easter and when I got to my parents house, I took it out the box to see that it had split right down the middle. I was so upset I almost cried. luckily I had spare frosting and managed to make it look almost edible. :(

  12. I am quite intrigued by tofu mayo. I refrain from buying any kind of mayonnaise from the supermarket because they usually contain lots of additives, but I’m quite excited about this :)

  13. Love the new blog layout, so spiffy!

    That cake looks outrageous. And I really love the card- elephants are one of the few things I can draw. :)

  14. you’d never even know you had a little mishap with the cake, it looks perfect! i was a little mopey last week because the brownies i made were stuck to the pan. i solved that problem though…i just scraped out the brownie pieces with a fork and ate them :)

  15. Your cake looks so perfect!!! Its not how it looks its the taste.. yummm

    AHH i just checked the ingredients and your right they contain egg whites.. danm it!!!
    Im so lazy…. i just grab it if it says soy free (im allergic to soy)

    BOO time to go throgh them out

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