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Sunday, February 8, 2015

A Beautiful Failure

I bet you thought I was gone! Nope, as I said before I don't plan on taking any more two year hiatuses. Unfortunately, my New Year was tough. I ended up sick a good portion of January and then I was busy with life and all its busy-ness. But it sure feels good to type a blog again.

Now without further ado...

On yesterday I made one of the most beautiful cakes I've baked in my life: a moist, rich, sweet, pineapple upside-down cake. All from scratch of course

See how pretty it looks

And here's a close up

Now do you see the problem?

When I went to flip the cake out of the pan and onto a platter, it slipped and landed on the island instead. I ended up with sticky glaze everywhere! Keep in mind that with a pineapple upside-down cake you have only a short window to flip it, otherwise the glaze hardens and you have a cake that is impossible to invert. Now I had a cake that was slowly welding itself to my island.

I tried to shimmy wax paper underneath of it. No good. I tried using my hands. Nope. Fell apart. Completely.  I had another baking failure on my hands.

So I should back up and explain my baking process so that you can better understand my devastation. With any new recipe I spend a lot of time planning. I scour youtube for the best videos and techniques, I read several recipes, I collect information from food blogs, and then I determine if the product is something I can reasonably make. Do I have the ingredients home? Do I need a specialty ingredient/pan/baking tray. This is time consuming, but I do not consider it laborious because I enjoy baking. Then I find a recipe I think I can work with and make it to exact specifications--I mean I'm anal about this sort of thing. After tasting the final product, I decide if I want to continue to use this recipe or add my own touches to it, or start from scratch. I went through my process with this cake. Researching, reading recipe reviews etc. I went to two groceries stores looking for canned pineapples  (first one was out) and two stores looking for maraschino cherries. Then I spent 2 hours prepping and baking a cake. All to have it slip from my grasp and land inches away from the platter and onto my counter top.  It was a very beautiful failure :-( I wanted to beat holes in the wall with my fists. Then I took a step back.

In the end, it really wasn't that important. So I screw up a cake. Not like I can't make it again--and next time I can make a better one because I know what I'm doing. I cleaned up my mess, did the best I could with the remaining cake, and went on to baking peanut butter cookies.

In life we have to prioritize. We have to decide which things are worth getting upset about and which things to shrug our shoulders and move on about. In a world filled with student loans, ever-present plumbing issues*, and demanding jobs, is it really worth crying over spilled cake?

 Peanut butter cookies.

The pineapple upside-down cake wasn't my first baking disaster and it will not be my last--especially because I am still learning to bake. Like my cake, we are all beautiful failures. Some of us are in the process of having our sticky mess removed, or having ourselves scraped back together. We sometimes end up in places we never wanted to be or in spaces we were never intended for.....

Recognize failure, Determine what you need to do to change. And then move on. The peanut butter cookies were delicious, by the way.

Happy 2015 Everybody!!!! See you next week.

*I should dedicate a blog to this topic as I always seem to have some kind of plumbing problem.

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