I’ve been cooking and baking most of my life and catering for the last sixteen years. I still have epic failures!
This weekend I was baking a very special cake for people I love very much. I dove in head first with a brand new recipe for a cake I knew would be simply amazing. One layer was strawberry, one layer lemon, and the third layer was French vanilla. Each layer baked up beautifully. I trimmed them and started the layering process. The strawberry was filled with a fresh strawberry compote. The lemon had a filling of tart lemon curd, and the vanilla had a creamed almond paste.
After placing the top layer, I turned my back to grab my bowl of crumb coat frosting and as I turned back around towards my masterpiece, from the bottom up, each layer had crumbled into pieces from the middle out!
At that moment, I could have crumbled myself. I was crunched for time, utterly disappointed and very frustrated. As I looked at the heaping pile of cake, I reached down and grabbed a handful like a child with a smash cake and I took a bite. It was sinfully delicious. I couldn’t waste one smashed crumb. So I punted.
I grabbed a large baking dish and layered it as best as I could into a trifle. I took my remaining icing and smeared a layer on the top.
It wasn’t the thing of beauty I had dreamed of baking, but I wasn’t going to let my labor of love turn into a complete failure and ruin the spirit of what I was attempting to do.
While I was fixing my mistake, I went back over the recipe in my head and what went wrong. It was just simply too tender of a cake for stacking, especially three full layers with fillings.
My lesson was that I tried, I failed, but I didn’t crumble under my failure. To everyone that ate and enjoyed the trifle, they were none the wiser to my earlier catastrophe. To them, I pulled off another successful dessert. They had no idea it just wasn’t what it seemed.