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Adopting in Ashburn

What began in France moved to Washington, DC and then the suburbs. Let the adventures in Ashburn continue.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Cake-tastrophy

Today was my mother's birthday. So, amongst the other things I did, I made her a birthday cake. Recently, I have been improving with my baking skills (my siblings will not agree to this, but I can make killer fruit, nut, and cake breads from scratch!). So, today I decided I would take on a new cake challenge. I made an ice cream cake.

In theory, making an ice cream cake is pretty easy. You make a cake and in place of the filling in between the two layers, you put ice cream. You should let the ice cream harden between the two layers before decorating, etc so that the cake has time to "bond" with the ice cream and become one solid dessert. This is one theory.

In practice, it is very simple (especially if you let Betty Crocker make the cake part). You bake. You slice ice cream and freeze it in the same shape as the cake. You place the ice cream between the two layers and apply a little frosting to stick it together around the outside. Place the cake in the freezer for 45 minutes to an hour and you are good to go!

It is a good thing I am an impatient cod. I checked on the cake at 5 minutes - very good, some slight drips on the sides, but five minutes is not enough to hard freeze anything in our freezer. I set a timer for 15 minutes and then did all the dishes. I cleaned the counters and got that kitchen sparking - just the way Mom likes it. Then I opened the freezer to grab the cake and add the finishing touches. I had premade a red rose and a yellow flower onto oreo cookies with the icing so I could just place them on the cake and add leaves without giving the cake too much time to melt; very practical I was.

This is about when I saw that my cake had half of it's intended height. The pool of ice cream had seeped out of the cake, down the sides and over the edge of the plates - dripping through the freezer racks and onto the other frozen foods below. It was a fudge ripple nightmare! I took the cake out and started sopping up the freezer. After about three minutes I realized that in addition to the mess in the freezer, I was now going to have a mess on the counter as the remaining frozen elements melted in the room temperature air. (This is like the time I caught on fire but wouldn't drop my plate to remove the sweater beccause I was afraid I would spill the food all over the floor.)

Anyway, if you were a regular reader you would guess that I wound up having to scrap the cake and just call Dad and have him pick up something (follow Lorien's sage advice, young padiwan). Instead, I did the amazing, the incredible, the daring - I tried to salvage it. I scraped off the remaining ice cream, whipped out a fresh can of frosting and filled the middle. I cleaned up the sides, added two candles with corresponding age numbers, placed the cookie flowers on and added a little greenery. Then I put the cake back in the freezer fearing that the cream soaked bottom might disintegrate if left to its own devices on the counter.

In the end I did twice as many dishes, but the cake was pretty darn good. My advice is to either, A.) Not engage in making ice cream cakes until in the presence of someone who has previously succeeded with this type of dairy infused pastry or B.) go for the gusto, but enclose your cake in something like aluminum foil, a cheesecake tin, or just put the ice cream in the center and surround it with cake - anything to prevent it from spilling everywhere.

Mom didn't notice a single mess and wasn't even angry about me basically wasting 3/4s of her fudge ripple ice cream. To make it up to her I had the pizza guy write "Happy Birthday" in black olives on her pizza tonight. A fun birthday cake adventure story told by one of the people on the planet least likely to get a syndicated cooking show on television.

Aside from that, nothing out of the ordinary happened today. But I guess one cake-tastrophy is enough for 24 hours. If too many exciting things happened, I might run out of stories! Until my next adventure ... (Dad's birthday is on Sunday ... should I try again???) Love always, ~Heather

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