Thursday, July 6, 2017

RX: Calling the Cake Doctor! @LucyBurdette

LUCY BURDETTE: My one and only granddaughter Dorothea celebrated her first birthday this past week. Of course, being the first grandchild, she had two parties. I was honored to be invited to make the cake for the first one (at her other grandma's house.) Since there would be something of a crowd attending, I thought a sheet cake would work better than a two-tiered cake. My first thought was my son-in-law's favorite carrot cake, but I was talked down from that and decided to try something new.

Since this was a new recipe, I tried it the day before the party. Here is the vanilla sheet cake, all puffed up and lovely. Phew!

Here it is half an hour later when it had sunk to half it's height. I was in despair. Make a whole new cake? Sigh. I already had two others to make this week. 

Was there a way to save it? Calling the cake doctor! I decided whipped cream and strawberries from our garden and blueberries might do this job.

RX ingredients

Cup of garden fresh strawberries
2 cups organic whipping cream
Two heaping tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Blueberries for decoration

Wash and hull the strawberries and cut a handful of them in quarters. Slice the others and set aside. Whip the cream in a food processor with the quartered berries until the cream begins to thicken and the berries have given the cream a light pink color. And the sugar and vanilla and whip until stiff.

I cut my beleaguered cake in half lengthwise. Slathered whipped cream on the first half and layered the other half on top. Frosted the cake with the remaining whipped cream, and decorated with sliced berries and blueberries. I tried spelling out Dorothea's name in blueberries, but sadly it was illegible so I opted to fill the whole cake in. Bonus: this fit in nicely with the Fourth of July holiday!

I will not give you the cake recipe as I will never make this one again! I did get some funny comments from the adults: I love how homemade this looks...What's the custard layer in the middle? (failed cake!) But Dorothea didn't care at all--she was too busy coating herself in red icing from her store-bought "smash cake."

Do you have a cake disaster story that you're willing to share? And don't forget to enter our anniversary contest--details on the sidebar!

Lucy Burdette writes the Key West food critic mysteries--find them wherever books are sold! Find her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest--Instagram too...


  1. My sister is the baker in this family. I am sure glad you were able to make that a beautiful bright cake! Although I thought it still looked delicious when it was deflated.

    1. You're very kind Heather:). That shot didn't show the worst of it...

  2. Love the relatives' comments. Someone must have said, "This is . . . interesting." And great save with the decorations. Yes, I had a cake that was a total flop (literally). I even took a picture of it because it was so ugly. At least it wasn't for company.

  3. I made brownies from a box of mix that needed to be used up. I wasn't crazy about that brand of mix so I decided to add a bunch of chocolate chips. The edges were fine but the rest never quite baked through. They were a little gooey but they tasted good. We just ate them with a fork.

  4. When I was a youngun I had the Betty Crocker Boys and Girls Cookbook. I still have it!
    I decided to make only one cake layer and cut the recipe in half. Well, almost. I reduce the dry ingredients but not the liquids. I think you might describe it as a sponge cake...if you were feeling kind and generous.

  5. Cakes that are for a special occasion always seem to fall. Homemade Whipped cream and coconut are my usual fix.

    1. Could not go wrong with whipped cream and coconut Barb! I'd eat that...

  6. Great story, Lucy/Roberta! Happy birthday to the adorable Dorothea (fabulous name). Your cake looks great and I bet it tasted wonderful too. Hugs.

  7. Not a cake failure, but a Brownie failure. I was given a Brownie recipe that was supposed to be "the best". Followed the recipe exactly. After cooling, hubby and I tried them and declared them awful. Our son, young at the time, pulled the pan down into the floor. Our dog came running, sniffed the pan, turned her nose up and walked away! Standing joke in our home; Mom's Brownies are so bad even the dog won't eat them! We know dogs can't have chocolate and would have removed her from them, but her response was priceless.

  8. I think it looks amazing. And the only opinion that mattered was your granddaughters and she seemed to love it. I have had tons of cake fails. That is why every year we get our birthday cakes from our favorite bakery, lol