Did You Ever Bake a Cake by Accident?

Nana’s cake in foreground, ganache cake behind

So it was getting late, and I had baked a “Nana’s Cake” which is a simple yellow cake. One of the kids wrote the recipe on a big gray piece of cardboard many years ago, and we have that version hanging on the wall in the kitchen just for cake emergencies. My daughter’s team had won their indoor soccer game and it seemed cause for a mild celebration; thus the cake.

I called to my daughter to get out the “Joy of Cooking” and look up an icing recipe that didn’t require unsweetened chocolate as we were all out. She began searching through listings in the index and reading aloud mis-pronunciations of “Marzipan” and “genoise” (or somesuch) and then she got to “ganache” which, mispronounced sounded like a kind of icing. I absent-mindedly encouraged her to look at that recipe. She did and when I got to it a few minutes later, I just started assembling the ingredients carefully paying attention to not mixing the sugar in with the tiny bit of flour. I did remark to myself, “Hm, that’s odd that this icing recipe calls for a half cup of flour.” But I soldiered on through the rest of the directions,  wondering about the 5 eggs also, but reassuring myself that they get warmed, so that must make sense as an icing recipe. It wasn’t actually till I got to “spread evenly in the baking pans” that I suddenly realized that  I w as not making frosting for the original cake; rather, I was baking a second cake. A much fancier cake than the first. We melted some chocolate chips, added vanilla extract and called it a day on the first cake.

Yet another day (and into the night) of “doing it the hard way! But then we did have two cakes to choose from…..There are moments when the “hard way” pans out.

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