Monday, January 03, 2011

30 by 30, #18: Bake a cake from scratch

In case you aren't familiar with the 30 by 30 Project, here is the original post, with the big fat list.

Thanks to the invention of the cake mix, any 13-year-old with a sweet tooth can whip up a chocolate cake, and pop open a can of frosting to go with it, if she so desires. I was just such a 13-year-old, and thus I have been baking cakes for a long time. Cake mix cakes. Sweet, fairly tasty, and easy. My life was transformed when I discovered The Cake Mix Doctor. My cakes went from regular-from-the-box to delicious-moist-to-die-for. I was pretty happy with my discovery, especially since these new cakes were in no way difficult. Make a cake mix cake, add a few ingredients, voila!

But as I was creating my 30 by 30 list, I came to the conclusion that I don't recall having ever baked a cake from scratch. (Maybe I have, maybe I haven't, my long-term memory apparently sucks.) So I decided now was the time. Since "Create a new recipe" was on the list too, I figured that baking a cake from scratch might help me in that area as well.

I searched and searched for a recipe (really, I just asked my friend Al for one), and decided on a chocolate cake. Christmas Eve, we had the missionaries over for dinner, so we needed a dessert. And I thought to myself, "Why don't we bake a birthday cake for Jesus? What a fun idea!" It was the perfect opportunity to bake the cake.

The results? Well, take a look (at a picture taken the next day, because, of course, I forgot to take a picture before we ate it):

It was absolutely delicious! So moist, and the frosting was my favorite part I think. Sweet and smooth and buttery. I was glad to have made it. Compared to a straight box cake? Oh, about 20 times better. 200 times better. Much preferred. Compared to a Cake Mix Doctor cake? Oh, probably about the same. Both are fabulous.

I think the most surprising part of this whole endeavor was that baking a cake from scratch is almost no different from baking a cake from a box. Scratch cakes require you to measure out the flour and sugar and all that stuff. And then, it's almost exactly the same. I was shocked at how easy it really is.

Will I make a "from scratch" cake again? Well, sure. I am definitely not going to shy away from it, now that I know how simple it is. And especially that recipe, it was really quite good. But, will I eschew all cake mixes? No. Nothing wrong with making someone else measure the ingredients for you. Especially if you doctor it up.

Random side note: I was worried we'd run out of cocoa for the frosting, so I sent poor Clark to the grocery store on Christmas Eve, and then it turned out we had just barely enough, so I felt bad that I'd made him go get it, but he was out doing shopping anyway (Christmas shopping, on Christmas Eve) so I didn't feel too bad.


Kay Hinton said...

What? No recipe?

Celeste said...

ooh That looks delicious! I have never heard of the cake mix doctor but I'm definitely going to check it out! Mmmmmmm. Did I mention that I'm STARVING right now. I need to stop thinking about food (and chocolate) and go to bed!

alisquire said...

Good work! It looks beautiful. My weakness with baking is always presentation, but looks like you did a swell job!

Emilie said...

my mouth is watering.

hey you guys wanna get together this weekend? oh wait...hope MI is treating you well!