Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Adventures In the Kitchen With The Makeshift Chefs

Here's a memoir from the weekend:

When you get a craving for NYC's Magnolia Bakery's
Red Velvet Cake and can't get to New York in a pinch, you sometimes gotta make due with what you have. Such was the case with my friends G, J, and C who would give up sleep for this cake as they looooove it so much. My friend G was held a charity event this past weekend and asked J, who flew in from San Francisco to attend, to please bake a Red Velvet Cake using Magnolia Bakery's recipe for her dinner party.

Well, J was staying with G's sister C, and I was to go over to C's house in Gardena that afternoon to help J & C bake the cake. This was going to be a cinch, or so I thought.

You see, there was a bit of a communication breakdown between my girls. J thought C had a kitchen full of the best kitchen supplies. C thought J had thought about everything before attempting to bake the cake. It was, after all, her recipe. I for sure was not about to drive my ass back downtown to grab my cooking paraphenalia.

Portions were measured solely by estimation as C did not own any real measuring spoons. We used regular place-setting tea and tablespoons as a guide.

-Does this look right to you?
-Uh, I dunno. I guess.

C did not own a proper stand- or hand- mixer. Nor did she have any deep and sturdy mixing bowls. She did however, have some small to medium size mixing bowls and one of those Braun hand blenders. You know, the one that kind of looks like a vibrator? So there we were, mixing cake batter that looked like bloody murder in a too-small bowl with a Vons bag around it as a splashguard using a vibrator with a whisk attachment.

Flash forward to baking time. C did not own an oven thermometer either, so somehow the 350 degree oven temperature wasn't exactly 350 degrees. It was probably more like 400. Undoubtedly, the 3 cake layers came out a little charred around the edges and bottoms. Total Cajun style. To make matters worse, J burned her finger trying to get the pans out of the oven.

While the cake was cooling, we attempted to make the frosting, from a recipe J brought, also courtesy of the Magnolia Bakery cookbook. This was the most bullshit recipe for icing I have ever seen in my life. It took over an hour to make. Cook the flour and milk over medium low heat. Then let it sit for half hour to cool. Beat in the butter and sugar for 3 minutes then add the milk mixture and beat again for a total of 6 minutes. (It was more like 10 with the vibrator mixer) Then cover and refrigerate for (and I quote) "exactly 15 minutes, no more no less." What kind of fucking icing is this?

In the end, it all came together, our ghetto cake. We trimmed the layers of all the crusty burnt edges and frosted it, patching up all the uneven areas with icing.

Anyone Want Some Cake Crusts?

You know, it cost my friends almost 30 bucks to buy the ingredients (of course now they have leftover ingredients to make more) and it took us almost four hours to make this cake. Next time, I'm forcing them to just go and buy one. It'll be cheaper and faster. But we did have fun and some hella good laughs making it, and it actually got some good reviews at G's charity dinner (see Saturday's post
for a pic of the finished product!), so I guess it wasn't so bad. I guess you can ghetto-rig a cake and still have it come out pretty edible.


MEalCentric said...

"So there we were, mixing cake batter that looked like bloody murder in a too-small bowl with a Vons bag around it as a splashguard using a vibrator with a whisk attachment"--I am still laughing

dwg said...

can't vouch for the quality, but there's a new cupcake place on little santa monica, called "sprinkles." i'm sure it's no magnolia (which, incidentally, i used to live around the corner from) but as you say, sometimes you have to make do with what's there.

RobRL626 said...

Alright, that's truly a ghetto Red Velvet Cake (using a Von's grocery bag for a splash guard on your bowl especially too funny)

All fun aside, I'd advise next time give a call to Bake N Broil in Long Beach. They have some honest to goodness homebaked cakes that you can order in advance, including Red Velvet. You will also find some good American Home Cookin' there in a casual neighboorhood style place.

Bake and Broil-3697 Atlantic Ave. Long Beach, CA 90807 Phone: (562)595-0396