Malto Mario


The Lady & Sons

1,000 Italian Recipes

Monday, April 24, 2006

So bad.. it's actually funny =)

Two disasters in one week.. I'm on a roll! :D

Disaster Exhibit B

Maybe I'm being punished this week? I mean, I've had my fair share of disasters in the kitchen - but not two in a row before. I guess it was the perfect ending to the week from hell. tee heee

On yesterday's agenda were two new recipes to try. This delightful cake is called Meringue Swirled Chocolate Cake and the recipe comes from a not so shabby cookbook, Betty Crocker's Ultimate Cake Mix Cookbook. I've made a couple cakes from this book a very long time ago and remember them being pretty good. I am to blame for the disaster it turned out to be, but even the taste of this cake wasn't so hot. I mean it totally tasted like a cake from a box. That's usually not so bad for me.. up until a few years ago, that was the only kind of cake I'd make, it's the kind of cake my mom always made so it's not like I'm a bake from scratch kinda gal from way back, yanno? Admittedly, I have not had a boxed cake in quite a while, so maybe my taste buds have been spoiled? Maybe they revolted because I dared to expose them to a boxed cake? I have no idea. All I know is that it was a disaster from beginning of baking time to tasting time.

Everything went well in the making.. the eggs turned beautifully glossy and the stiff peaks were perfect. Spreading the meringue onto the springform pan was easy and I even managed to keep an even coating around the sides. The swirls on top turned out oh so pretty! Suggested baking time was 1 hour 30 minutes. I set my timer for 1 hour 20 minutes as my oven tends to get a little too hot. Bringing me to Bad Lisa No. 1 - I tested with a regular toothpick and it came out clean. I noticed the cake peaking from the meringue didn't quite look done but I didn't give it much thought. So I took it out and was happy.. it was a glorious golden color and it smelled really good! About 45 minutes later I took another look at it and thought, "Wait a minute.. I wonder if that pick even made it through the meringue on top into the cake below?" So I searched in one of my gadget drawers and found some longer bamboo spears and poked one in the middle.. well now.. I had myself a completely undone cake! What's a rather experienced home cook to do? Heat the oven up again and put it back in, of course! Lisa Bad No. 2 - apparently, no, that is not what you should do with a meringue topped (or any cake for that matter?) cake. It took another 30 minutes for the bamboo spear to come out clean and by then my meringue was turning BLACK in spots. As Rachael Ray would say.. "Yum-O!" Bleh. This picture shows how the meringue on top is burnt while the sides are still wet and not cooked through, sticking to the springform when I took the ring off. Nice.
Disaster Exhibit A

Being a firm believer in the religion of "Just cuz it looks bad doesn't mean it won't taste good" I waited until it had cooled completely and cut myself a slice. The first thing that hit me was the burnt meringue. So I peeled it off. The cake was not over done, but very moist, a good sign, yes? But it tasted like a slightly flavored chocolate piece of sponge. I used a Devil's Food cake! The chocolate should have been more pronounced, it always is.. why this one didn't I dunno. Anyway.. total bummer. I wish I had a scanner so I could show the picture in the book.. by comparison, mine looks well.. yeah.. uhh different.

Second new recipe of the night.. Chops with Greens and Parmesan Pasta as a side. Fakk no. I was so not in the mood for another disappointment , even though it was a pretty clean cut recipe that I didn't think I could screw up, I wasn't going to take any chances. So I just seared my chops, threw 'em in the oven for a bit and made some hashbrowns to go with.. hahahahaaaa! Done!
Here's to a better week! *ching*

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