>A Mother’s Love Knows No Bounds. Or, Betty Crocker has posessed me.

>Mr. Boo has a birthday coming up! Yes indeedy – on January 22, my big hunka man will turn ONE! I can’t believe it, a whole year…amazing.
In honor of the big day, and because the big day brings the first dessert dive of Boo’s young life, I decided I need to bake him a cake.

From scratch.

Problem is, I have no earthly clue how to bake! I rarely, if ever, make baked goods – and if I did – it would be from a box. Well, except for that mug cake, and I even messed that up. Did you know they have microwaveable brownies now? Two steps – remove tray from box, pop in microwave. Oh yea, baby.
I am not sure why I am so dead set on Boo’s cake being from scratch – it just seems like the right thing to do. I can get the freshest best ingredients, I can control the sugar, and I just want to know how to do it. Boo deserves fresh baked Momma love on his birthdays.

So, I have begun to practice. Yes, practice baking abounds in our house. I went out and spent too much on various sizes of baking pans …8 inch, 9 inch, mini cake 4 inch…I bought decorative squeeze icing and fondant and a hand mixer. My husband has gone to the corner grocery about 6 million times to restock me with butter and milk and eggs and powdered sugar. Oh yea, did I mention I am making my own frosting too? Its madness, baking MADNESS.

Baking is HARD. In my humble opinion, recipes are not specific enough dammit. How do I know if I need an 8 inch pan or a 9 inch pan? How do I know how full to fill each pan? If the recipe says milk, is that whole milk or will 2% do? Why do stores only carry Light Buttermilk? (With half the fat of Regular Buttermilk but where the heck IS the Regular Buttermnilk?). How do you not overmix the batter and the flour, when it says to mix til smooth? Why did I not know you need a paddle attachment to cream the butter and sugar??? Yes. I am a mess. Thanks.

Cake Number One:
Yellow cake. Complicated recipe. All the measurements were wonky additions…like Flour – 2 cups, plus 1 Tablespoon, or Sugar – 3 cups plus 1/2 tsp. Is that smidge extra REALLY gonna do anything? Baking sucks so far! I thought I might hurl myself out the window, and it was only the first try.
I used the mini 4 inch pans, cause I thought it would be cute. Alas, I overfilled the pans and they overflowed til burny cakey sludge was coating my oven. (I cried). The middle of the cake was still gooey. So I kept baking it. Oy. Woooo, that thing was dry. I never tasted cake so dry. That is, until Cake Number Three came along. More on that later. Cut off the burny tops and soldiered on.
I made a buttercream frosting with some random internet recipe…it was so sweet my toes curled, and not in a good way. I tried to color the frosting purple, but it turned out a sad grayish color. I experimented with some fondant. Lookie…

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Looks kinda pretty…tastes ok, nothing amazing. I think I can do better.

Cake Number Two:
I used the rest of the Yellow Cake batter, but this time, I did NOT overfill the 4 inchers. So this cake was yummo…pretty moist, vague vanilla flavor. Not bad. Until…the icing. I attempted to make a marshmallow icing that involved a double broiler. I swear I followed the recipe – but it said to whisk until “stiff peaks” formed. I whisked that stinkin’ icing for like 20 minutes and it never went past drip drip stage. Then I ruined it further by trying to color it a lively green, but it was flourescent food coloring and I didn’t know it. True story! I am an affront to all bakers. My husband told me to ditch it, but I thought mayyyybe it would set up as it cooled on the cake. I was dead wrong. We like to call it the Shrek Swamp Cake. Lookie:

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I tried to cammo the ugly with some spray whipped cream. HEEHEE!! Man, its lucky Cake Wrecks doesn’t show amateur cakes, I would be screwed.
Sad. The next shot is after taste testing. So far, number one is in the lead…I mean FAR in the lead…

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and yea, that is my kid’s name, but we’ll still call him Boo Boo here ok? Pretend you didn’t see that.

and yea, that is our back splash test panel..its been sitting there for OVER A YEAR while we try to decide if we like it, and somehow if we do like it, try to find time to install it. Pretend you didn’t see that either.

After a restless sleep with cake batter dreams and crisco nightmares…I started again. Man, I am tenacious.

Cake Number Three:
I made another yellow cake – but it was a way easier recipe. Actually very simple, I whipped that batter up in like 15 minutes. Then I made chocolate frosting from the recipe on the side of the Hershey’s cocoa tin. It was yummy, very very yummy. Lick the mixer thingies yummy. I thought, hey, maybe the third cake is the charm. Fool!
I used 9 inch cake pans, but I guess I was supposed to use 8 inch cake pans, but I don’t know for sure ’cause of course the recipe didn’t specify. Is there some secret baking school I was supposed to go to when I hit puberty? How do people KNOW this? Why can’t a recipe help a girl out??? The durn layers came out of the oven looking like 9 inch sugar cookies. Dry and thin. I mean DRY. DRIEST CAKE IN THE UNIVERSE! My husband tried a slice and CHOKED ON IT. Literally choked…crumbs spewing from his mouth. He couldn’t even finish it. Whole cake in the trash. Lookie:

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At this point, my emotions are mixed. Part of me feels like a complete failure as a woman, like my grandmother is rolling over in her grave cause I cannot seem to bake a simple cake. The other part of me is PISSED. No concoction of sugar and flour is gonna beat ME… OH NO SIREE. Its ON. BRING IT.

The next day…(yea, its the THIRD freakin’ day of baking) exhaustion has set in…but I am determined, so off we go.

Cake Number Four:
My friend gives me a recipe for banana cake. The recipe is a bit vague, as it has been passed down through her family mostly by word of mouth. For example, no detail on how long to bake it, and at what temperature. I feel a bit queasy, but after about a gajillion Facebook exchanges with her, I think I have it down. The batter is not too hard to make. I get smart and use the 8 inch cake pans. I tried to cheat with Pam Baking Spray with Flour instead of greasing and flouring the pans myself. Yea, they stuck to the pans, so I wont do that again. Otherwise, they bake up like a dream…golden brown and smelling yummo. Fresh bananas go in between the layers too…ooo!
Along with the cake recipe she gives me a less sweet buttercream icing recipe. Very nice, and you can adjust the sugar to your liking. I color it a sunny yellow, well, cause its banana..duh. I experimented with some squeezy icing, so it looks like hell, but I wanted to see what shapes I could do. I also iced it way too soon, so its gloppy and sloppy, but I was anxious to TASTE.

SUCCESS SUCCESS!!!! Oh Sweet VICTORY!! This cake was divine. Moist, fluffy, gooey, ooey…like banana bread only wayyyyy better. This is the winner. I am so proud I feel giddy. This will be my little man’s 1st birthday cake. Only hopefully it will LOOK a hell of a lot prettier…ahem….

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Next time I wont be coloring the icing, I think just cream color looks fresher. I also got a tip to freeze the layers before icing, so the icing goes on smoothly. ANY other tips on decorating would be greatly appreciated. Like, do the layers go dome side up, or domes together? How do you make the icing less lumpy looking? How much icing do you squelch in the middle? HELP HELP!! I know Boo doesn’t care, but we have guests coming, and I don’t want them to be frightened.

I am exhausted. Baking is no joke! But you know what, I think I really like it!! I like it enough that I convinced my husband to buy me the swanky RED Kitchenaid stand mixer!! Cause hand mixers are a pain. My vast knowledge of baking tells me so. Yup. WOOOHOOO!! He must have been fully hopped up on sugar when he agreed, ’cause that thing is flippity flopping EXPENSIVE and I have baked 4 cakes in 37 years. But ohhhh its so pretty, so shiny, and ohhhh it makes me want to bake things. So if anyone happens to read this, send recipes!!

I will post pics of Boo Boo on his birthday…I am so happy that he will swan dive into a cake made for him with love by his very own Momma.
Bite Me, Donna Reed!
Kitchenaid Stand Mixer Pictures, Images and Photos

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17 Responses to “>A Mother’s Love Knows No Bounds. Or, Betty Crocker has posessed me.”


  1. 1 Jamie January 13, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    >Your cakes look great!! Especially for a first-timer!! I love to bake, but it does take time to get it right. I’m impressed by your decor — that is where I fail as a baker.You’ll love the KitchenAid. It is so worth it!

  2. 2 Average Girl In Average World January 13, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    >It’s all good! Atleast you tried. He will appreciate your efforts when he is older.

  3. 3 Photogrl January 15, 2009 at 1:32 am

    >You are too funny πŸ™‚ The banana cake looks yummy! As for cake and/or baking tips…try to even out the layers, by trimming off the “domes” with a knife so they are flat. And icing, place the icing in the middle, then spread towards the outside, adding more if needed. You can also change the consistancy of the frosting to spread better by adding a tsp. of milk at a time while, beating it. I think the mixer is going to help a lot.

  4. 4 eden January 21, 2009 at 6:39 am

    >You just gave me the first belly laugh in freakin’ AGES … the “sorry, kid” writing on that cake. Oh my mofo God too funny. You are SO funny. I wish you lived in my town. We could do pump class together HA.xoxoxoxoxoxoPs. I would LOVE the recipe for that banana cake. I have been looking for a good banana cake recipe for years. Shit you not.

  5. 5 In Due Time January 21, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    >Recipe, please! :-)Cut the “dome” part to make them even by laying the knife on the upside of the pan and slicing across.

  6. 6 littleangelkisses January 21, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    >WOW, that’s a LOT of baking! Sounds like you did a great job. I love to cook, but baking…not so much!Can’t wait to see pics of Boo Boo!

  7. 7 MammaMia of APA fame January 21, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    >LMAO @ “sorry kid!”!!I love the cakes Kate! Your blog’s a riot, I need to check in here more often. πŸ™‚

  8. 8 Soralis January 22, 2009 at 7:23 am

    >That’s a lot of cake! Enjoy your little fella’s birthday!ICLW

  9. 9 WiseGuy January 22, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    >Happy Birthday Boo-Boo!The headr of your blog is lovely…Boo Boo is handsome indeed!And the cake…mmmmmmm Sorry Kid! :)ICLW.

  10. 10 Karen January 23, 2009 at 5:50 am

    >This cracked me up! I love how in the pictures the icing gets more sloppy as the cake tastes better. We have a KitchenAid, too, and it is definitely worth the $ I would say the same about a Dyson vacuum πŸ™‚

  11. 11 Michelle January 24, 2009 at 12:07 am

    >Wow I think you did a great job!

  12. 12 Vanessa January 24, 2009 at 1:04 am

    >The Last cakes insides look delicious. I would definetly be interested in that recipie. Happy ICLW!

  13. 13 Vanessa January 24, 2009 at 1:05 am

    >and Happy Birthday to your little man!

  14. 14 Cassandra January 24, 2009 at 8:36 am

    >Hope Boo had a great birthday!My tips are too late for this year, but for future reference:I either put the domes all face-down, or if they’re too rounded I trim them with a serrated knife so that the surface is more flat (then eat the scraps). There’s a trick to baking so that the domes don’t develop but I’ve never gotten it right so I won’t tell it to you. Lumps in icing: depends on what the lumps are from. Butter? Sugar? Different remedies for different problems. Next time you get lumpy icing, taste what’s inside the lumps and let me know and I can give you more suggestions.Happy ICLW!

  15. 15 notsofertilemyrtle January 25, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    >I loved your post! I laughed the whole time I was reading it. I am an amateur baker myself, starting just before hubby bought me one of those expensive KitchenAid mixers about four years ago. I’ve had too many cake failures to count — and icing is my WORST skill ever! Thanks for a hilarious look at your life. I’ll be checking back (oh, and your “Boo-Boo” is just beautiful. Congrats to you and a happy belated birthday!)Happy ICLW!

  16. 16 ~Jess January 27, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    >I think they all look great!The kitchen-aid is definitely awesome. I love mine and would love the bigger model (mines the mid-size).I hope your little one had an awesome birthday

  17. 17 Kristin January 28, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    >Overfill the pans and then cut the layers flat with a large knife (use the edges of the pan to guide the knife). They cool faster and give you a lovely flat surface to put together. Also, put on a very thin layer of frosting first and allow it to set and cool. Then do your real frosting/decorating. The thin layer keeps crumbs from getting in the decorated layer of frosting.Good luck.ICLW


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