To wit: as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, my friend G.’s chocolate cake is a thing of sublime yum. Two layers of just-right (not too sweet) cake frosted with milk chocolate buttercream — surely the chocolate goddesses put in overtime when they created this one. “And the recipe is so easy!” she told me.
Right. Sort of. Unless you have the kind of oven that I do — temperamental temperature-wise, inconsistent, and sometimes downright uncooperative. But for this recipe, I was all over it — watching, monitoring, checking. The only things I didn’t do were to buy the oven some flowers and a dry martini, but believe me, if that would have helped, I would have done it.
The timer rings, the cakes are ready — perfection. After a few minutes, they pop out of their pans easily and I leave them to cool while I whip up the frosting. Again, perfection. I frost the bottom layer and carefully turn the top layer upside down and set it in place. There is so much frosting in the bowl that covering the entire cake is, well, a piece of cake. There. Done. Beautiful. Except for one small thing. It was time to move the cake onto a serving plate.
The best way to describe what happened next is to imagine a combination of Lucy Ricardo moving the cake and the scene from Chocolat where the sweets-deprived mayor gorges on the chocolates in Vianne’s shop window, leaving him in a chocolate stupor and the window a complete and utter mess. Sort of like a chocolate explosion.
So I’m lifting the cake carefully using two wide spatulas. But, in true Lucy fashion, when it’s just millimeters from the plate, the bottom layer suddenly breaks in half. The entire cake crashes onto the counter, with a good part of said layer all over the floor and cabinets, leaving chocolate everywhere except where I want it — on the plate. And in this case, there’s no sexy-and-sensitive Johnny Depp (or suave and smooth Ricky Ricardo) to help clean it up and dry my chocolate tears.
The good news? The top layer actually survived and turned out delicious (also, fewer calories). The bad news? Chocolate all over my hands, in my hair, even up my nose (don’t ask).
The moral of the story? A slice of chocolate cake is like a slice of life. The messes make the rewards even sweeter.
© 2014 Claudia Grossman