Monday, February 16, 2009

Where Is My Head?

After a couple of days feeling barely functional I have decided that it's important to do anything I need to to keep moving.

I had been afraid that my productivity would suffer if I did things I enjoy (besides work)  I think I found out instead that my productivity grinds to a halt if I don't do things I enjoy (besides work)  

To that end today I worked on a scarf I am knitting as a gift for someone.  I want to have it finished before spring arrives.  I am also baking a Bahama Mamma cake (from "Sticky, Chewy Messy Gooey")  It's in the oven right now.  Yesterday I made chocolate chip cookies for Pete as a Valentine's Day gift.

Yeah, the Valentine's Day gift was a day late but Pete approves.  I had big business in Boston on Valentine's Day.  The important thing was we were together for dinner that night.  Believe me, we've been making up for lost cookie-eating time.

The cake baking endeavor has been a minor adventure.  For example I was running low on vanilla extract.  I noticed this the last time I was marketing and picked up a bottle.  When I went to add the new extract to the teaspoon I was measuring out, much to my alarm it came out viscous and syrupy.  I looked at the bottle and it isn't vanilla extract.  It's Frontier fair trade vanilla flavor, made with glycerine as a solvent instead of alcohol and the same vanilla-derived flavors in vanilla extract.  I only needed a quarter-teaspoon more so I went ahead.  

I understand that they can't call it "extract" because it's alcohol free but I don't know why you would need such a product.  What is the benefit of glycerine over alcohol?  The only thing I can think of is that it would keep every possible form of booze out of the clutches (gullets?) of the family souses.  The product information page on the website is vague.

I've also had problems with the oven temperature and with adding the half-cup of rum the recipe calls for to the glaze too soon.  You can see that alcohol in my vanilla extract is hardly a concern in this case.

In fact, it would have been just as well had I drunk the rum!  I just burned the cake!  I took it out thinking it was done and turned the oven off.  I realized my mistake, turned the oven on again and put the cake back in.  Five minutes later I realized that I'd never turned the oven down to the correct setting after I'd turned it on again.  My cake is very dark brown.  It's thoroughly cooked now.  If I'm lucky I just burned the top (which will be the bottom once it's turned out of the pan)  and I can cut that off.  If I'm unlucky the pan is too thin and the whole surface of the cake is burned and we'll just have to chop off the outside and eat the middle.

I'm not saying "die" on this cake.  Thank God all that's left to do now is soak the thing in rummy syrup.  I don't think I can wreck that too badly.   Unless I spill the syrup all over the carpet (or the dog!) or get the cake nice and rummy syrup-soaked and drop it on the floor.

1 comment:

michaela said...

Sounds like a little self-inflicted pressure demon was at work. The best thing for that demon is always something sweet.

I love the cake, but it seemed to me that it might be hard to get out of the pan. My solution was to NOT take it out. I punched holes in it and poured the syrup on. It came out in big square pieces, (I did NOT use a bundt or spring-sided pan... I used a big square ceramic dish), without breaking.

Who cares what it looks like! Unless of course its a bake-off with Martha Stewart, and I am NOT up for that.

I hope it tastes good! And that will be sure to inspire other activities. Play begets play.