Move Over Mary Poppins!

The real life adventures of one nanny, her husband, child, dogs, house, and whatever else crosses her path.

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Location: MA, United States

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Sunday, November 09, 2008

When Your Carrot Cake Collapses

I meant to post today about Felix's first birthday party. You know, all those pictures of the baby all covered in chocolate frosting, and up his ears in wrapping paper. I still plan to, but today I want to tell the story of my cousin's carrot cake, and how it ended up looking like this:
Half eaten, in a bowl.

I offered to make a cake for my cousin's bridal shower, not really taking into consideration the fact that Felix's birthday was the day before, and obviously, I was going to want to make him a cake too.

A month or so ago, I asked my cousin what kind of cake she wanted. She answered carrot. I said, "Okay!" I baked the cakes a few weeks ago and stowed them in the freezer. This morning, I whipped up the cream cheese frosting, defrosted the cakes, and sliced them for layering. I was merrily stacking, filling and crumb coating the cake when disaster struck!

Half the cake sheared off! It just collapsed.

I shimmed it with extra cake, reinforced it with skewers, and refrigerated it to try to stem the weeping frosting and slumping cake slabs. Alas, the cake was doomed.

Like any overextended mom, I lost my mind. I called my mother, who was also co-hosting the shower, and burst into tears. She's a cool cucumber, my mom, and just offered to pick up something from a local store. She told me to take a deep breath, a shower, and to get myself to the party.

I hung up the phone, and headed upstairs for that shower. I turned around, though, when I realized that I could just up end the cake into a trifle bowl, pack in the remaining cake and frosting, and make the top pretty. Voila! Carrot cake trifle! Voila! Happy cousin!

Upon reflection, I think the structural collapse had to do with the soft, moist consistency of my carrot cake recipe, the thin layers, and the lack of structural integrity inherent in cream cheese frosting, even when it's a 1:2 ratio of butter to cream cheese and made with an Italian meringue base. I will adjust my methods next time. I leave you with this image of my lovely cousin, resplendent in her ribbon and bow finery, pretending to throw the "bouquet."

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