Thursday, May 31, 2012

Fail: Red, White, & Blue - Cake In A Jar (★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆)

Oh, the creative ideas you find on the web.  They're so adorable.  So simple.  

That's pure genius!  Why didn't I think of that myself?

And yet so often I find myself piled high in flour, hair disheveled, cursing the very mind I just idolized...the Betty Homemaker who is incapable of anything but perfection...while I dump yet another "experiment" in the garbage.  

Well, this week I had one of those days.  
Don't let this picture fool you.  This is a fail post remember?

Cake In A Jar.  Sounds intriguing, right?  I found out about this idea after following a trail of Pinterest recipes -- funny how those things work out. 

I couldn't believe I hadn't heard of this sooner.  Suddenly fragile baked goods were portable.
Rainbow Cake. S'more Cake. Lemon Meringue Pie Cake.  All conveniently packaged in their own individual jar.  (Okay that last one I made up, but if you were a real Betty Homemaker you could find a way to whip up a pie/cake combo!)

I had to do it.  And Memorial Day was just the occasion I needed.  

It was all planned out.  The red, white, and blue layers.  The quart sized jars for the gloriously large servings.  And the pièce de résistance...a Marine to send one to.

Oh, the patriotism!  (This same Marine heinously charged me with exploitation and I took great offense.  But that is besides the point.)

I wanted to make each layer a distinct flavor:

Red Layer: Red Velvet Cake
White Layer: Golden Vanilla Cake.
Blue Layer: Blueberry Cake (white cake with strained blueberry pie filling, and blue gel food color)

I must say, the flavors were great.  Especially, the blueberry.  Very unique.  

Alas, that's where the happy part of this post ends...

Little did I know that my trouble actually began weeks before, when I was enticed by the quart sized mason jars at Ace Hardware.  They were so glisten-y and voluptuous.   Who wants a pint, when you can have the pleasure of digging into a mound of delicious cake?  You don't have to finish it...just having the option is reason enough.

These are the things I think about, guys.

Well, I should've thought a little harder.  The recipe I used had instructions for cakes half this size.  I figured I would just cook them longer.


The outside and tops were overcooked before the red velvet layer had even begun to set.

I tried to compensate for this by lowering the temperature and increasing the time on the oven.  After an hour, the kabob skewer I was using to test the cakes came up relatively clean.  It wasn't perfect, but I was so worried about the tops (they were almost crunchy...and overflowing) that I made an executive decision to take them out and hope the very bottom layer would continue to cook a little longer.

As you can deduce from the second picture in this post, it seemed like I had made the right decision.  I assumed the cakes would settle back into the jars as they cooled and I could just slice off what little of the tops were still protruding out.

Thinking of nothing but sunbeams and butterflies, I left for the day.

What I found when I returned were pathetic, deflated versions of the cakes I had made.

Apparently, what I considered "cooked" clearly wasn't.

They could've used at least another half hour in the oven, but at grave risk to the blueberry layer.

Epic Fail.

What little I was able to taste was SUPER moist.  Too moist, if that's a legitimate problem for a cake to have.  The undercooked batter probably didn't help this situation much.  No frosting needed.

It's frustrating that these didn't work out.  They have so much potential.  I know what I can improve upon for the next time, but getting past all this wasted effort and wanting to try again is going to take some time.

Insert situation appropriate idiom here:

  • Don't bite off more than you can chew.
  • If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.
  • Don't cry over spilled milk.
  • Gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins

Feel free to message me with suggestions.


And Happy Memorial Day!  I am so grateful for all the men and women who were willing to give up time with their families, the luxury of an unregulated lifestyle and, ultimately, their lives for me and for you...for us.

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