Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Tonight I had one of the two biggest baking disasters of my life (tonight being September 29th when I first wrote this post)

I was making the Upside Down Pear Gingerbread cake from Sticky Chewy Messy Gooey with the last two pears from our tree this year. A combination of things screwed me up:
  1. I used the counter-top convection oven with which I am not entirely familiar
  2. It's 59 degrees in our house because it's still September and Pete and I are damned if we'll turn the heat on yet
  3. I misread the timer
I read in the oven owners' manual that when baking in this oven it's best to crank the temperature up another fifty degrees from the temp suggested in the recipe. That I did. I shouldn't have in this case.

The recipe says to remove the cake when its surface is firm and shiny and pulling away from the sides of the pan. The surface of the cake was all of those things and well browned to boot. Below the surface the cake seemed a bit squishy. I looked at the timer and it said 1:57 so I went ahead and unmolded the cake. I ended up with a bubbling puddle on the plate. The cake was nowhere near done. I looked back at the timer and what it really said was 5:57.

It may not have helped that the ingredients were not exactly "room temperature," assuming room temperature ranges from sixty-two to sixty-five degrees.

I put the cake pan back over the puddle, shoveled the "cake" back in as best I could, and returned it to the oven (at a lower temperature) Here it is, restored to the oven:
Some of the "cake" ended up on the floor. Fay was pretty happy about that.

I ended up cooking the cake for another fifteen minutes since it clearly needed more than six to solidify.

Here's what I got when that fifteen minutes was up:
A miraculously cohesive (if hideous) slab.

A slab that you can get an actual slice out of!

So I guess this is the second biggest baking disaster of my life. The worst was the time I turned the gas oven on to make Pete a birthday cake and forgot to turn the dial back to 350ยบ. I "baked" his cake on broil. That was unsalvageable. Fortunately he didn't want a cake. He doesn't especially like sweets.

I'll have to try this recipe again sometime to see what the textures should really be. Maybe it's prettier when done correctly too. It's a tasty cake even in this state.

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