Friday, February 15, 2008
Let Them Eat Cake
When a magazine arrived in the mail last week with this recipe*, I knew I’d have to try it. Lent is not a time to be making luscious desserts, but I thought I’d waive all that, just for Valentine’s day. I have neither a houseful of ravenous children as I once did, nor even a husband at the moment, but my father-in-law, as previously documented in these pages, has a highly developed appreciation for such delicacies. And there’s always neighbours and friends. Righto! No further excuses needed!
Soften the cream cheese and the butter, bring the eggs to room temperature. Melt the preserves. Puree the raspberries. Measure the sugar, sour cream and flour. Pound the cookies for the crust. I was all business. I love to bake!
Baked the crust, and cooled it while I mixed the batter. Wrapped the springform pan in foil, poured the batter in, set it all in a water bath, popped it in the oven, and triumphantly set the timer.
Turned to the task of cleaning up my mess, only to find a stick of butter cowering behind a bowl, instead of being in the oven, in the batter, where it belonged, for crying out loud!
Drat! Blast! And worse! What to do??
I lifted the pan out of the oven and stared glumly at the pink lusciousness, so nicely nestled therein. G-r-o-a-n. Nothing for it but to dig it all out, beat the butter into submission, then slowly add spoonfuls of the batter and hope they’d blend together.
As I ever so carefully spooned the batter out of the pan, I noticed that water was leaking in at the bottom! More incantations. Careful mopping of the offending liquid. What to do now? Set the pan on a plain cookie sheet and put the pan of water on the bottom shelf. Problem solved. Spooned the somewhat lumpier mixture back into the pan, put it all back in the oven and asked the Holy Ghost to please let it come out right. It was out of my hands now.
This kind of scatterbrainedness is not without precedent. When I was growing up the McD family lived across the road from us. Every neighbourhood has their version of the McDs. While Mr. McD was at work, Mrs McD was off God-knows-where, doing God-knows-what, leaving the children to run wild. Two teenage daughters were probably supposed to be minding the younger ones, but they were more interested in boys, and busy running wild themselves.
Eve McD was my age [about nine or ten], and though I knew my mother preferred me not to play at their house, when Eve suggested, one aimless afternoon, that we could make a cake, the temptation was too great. We foraged around the McD kitchen until we had assembled all the likely ingredients----flour, sugar, eggs, vanilla and anything else we could remember having seen our mothers put in cakes. We were pretty proud of ourselves! Soon we had a very respectable looking batter. We found a cake pan, greased it as we’d seen our mothers do, turned on the oven and popped our cake in.
Soon the McD house was full of the wonderful aroma of baking. After ten or fifteen minutes we peeked impatiently in to see how things were progressing, since that aroma was making us drool. Our eyes bulged in disbelief! The pan was full of what looked like melted butter. Appalled that we might NOT be eating cake soon, we looked at each other in bewilderment and tried to remember what we had done……We’d beaten the butter with the egg beaters until it was creamy….We’d poured in some sugar [it was all guesswork]… We’d nervously broken in some eggs, and picked out the bits of shell that fell in……..but…….had we ever put in the flour? Aha! No Holmes, we hadn't! There it was, untouched, on the table. Not to worry. We could add it now. Out came the pan. In went the flour. A little judicious stirring, and before you could blink, our concoction was back in the oven.
We both agreed it was the most delicious cake we’d ever eaten!
And my cheesecake? SCRUMPTIOUS! Proving that even the DAFT can bake….
*From the February/March issue of Cooking Pleasures.