My grandmother turned 82 on Wednesday. Here's her birthday cake:
Unfortunately, with all the food I made in the last few days, that's the only picture I was able to take outside. The rest were taken at the dinner table (and some things weren't photographed at all), so take a good look at that picture. The rest are going to be crap.
The cake is just the Apricot Glazed Almond Cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World made into a cake, decorated with marzipan letters and dried appricots dipped in chocolate and almonds. It is tasty and moist and not too sweet, and the preserves inside make your mouth say "Why hello there!" and it's pretty damn near perfect. My whole family loved it, especially my grandmother, who normally takes two bites of cake and says she's had enough but actually ate a whole piece of this thing (and took some home with her; she normally hates leftovers. This is historic).
Now that we have the important stuff out of the way, it's story time. Because if I've made a cake, you can be pretty sure there's a story involved. Probably one involving some kind of destruction.
Once upon a time (AKA last Wednesday, AKA Grandma's birthday, AKA day before Thanksgiving), I took the day off to cook. As an added bonus, in order to keep myself (and my friends) entertained (and distracted), I set up a webcam in my kitchen and broadcast my wacky shenanigans live to the whole Internet.
This cake was the very first thing I made, bright and early Wednesday morning. Everything went fine until it was time to decorate. I toasted and chopped my almonds, melted my chocolate, dipped my apricots and everything was fine. Then I popped the top of my can of marzipan to discover it was...Chocolate Schmear. What the crap is Chocolate Schmear? I didn't know, didn't want to know and just wanted it the fuck out of my kitchen. There was much swearing and stomping around, until I remembered I keep an emergency tube of marzipan on hand (when the world comes to an end, I'll be ready to bake. Will you?), grabbed it and made with the decorating. The marzipan letters were great in theory. In practice...not so much. I couldn't get the marzipan out of the damn cookie cutters without poking it with something, which is why all the letters are nicked and strange.
But let's be honest. That's hardly up to my usual standard of cake tragedy. Something else had to go wrong, right? Much to the amusement of my friends quietly watching from their offices, it did.
When the cake was done, I got out my Official Food Photography Table and showed it to whoever was still watching, before taking it outside to take pictures. Somehow, the table slipped out of my hands and INTO THE CAKE. Suddenly, my beautiful cake said "HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRAND*CRATER*"! After the obligatory freakout, I picked the crushed letters out of the cake, moved the rest of them over, made a new "MA", picked one of the apricots off the side of the cake, used it to cover the crater, then redistributed the apricots so it wouldn't be so obvious one was missing. Viola!
In retrospect, I'm pretty pissed at myself for not taking a picture of the cake with the visible crater. I need to get better at documenting my failures.
I usually share the story of how my cakes go wrong while we're eating them, but I didn't this time. Now the whole Internet knows what happened to the cake, but my family is none the wiser. Let's try to keep this between the 7382193719037812738 of us, OK?
And we'll all live happily ever after, the end.
PS: Chocolate Schmear tastes like ass.