Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Two duds in a row

I must be losing my touch: two duds in a row. The first was an attempt to create something called "Cinnamon Caramel Bundt Cake." I made up the name for a treat to be consumed by characters in my novel in progress. Future plans include posting recipes for foods from the book on an author website someday--assuming I get a publishing deal and create a website--and I've begun the mess-around-in-the-kitchen stage.

CCBC was supposed to be a pound-cakey kind of a thing, with some brown sugar, cinnamon, pecans layered in. Don't know what I did wrong, but for starters using a half-recipe seems to be a terrible idea with the KitchenAid mixer. I think it's just too small a quantity to process well, and the batter gets overworked. It's also possible that my baking powder has lost its umph. It's not near the expiration date yet, but the tin has been open for a while. The cake is okay -- hard to go wrong with butter, brown sugar, eggs, and flour -- but the flavor's a bit flat and the cake is, too. Hasn't stopped me from enjoying some with my coffee in the morning, but it's nothing to be proud of.

The pumpkin cake turned out a little better, but also didn't rise well , which lends credence to the wimpy baking powder theory. I followed my recent pumpkin muffin recipe, omitting the raisins and struedel topping and -- where I went wrong -- tossed in some no-longer-all-that-fresh pineapple that was in the fridge. Which threw the moisture ratio way off. So, that one's a little damp and dense. Tasty, and good for breakfast (pumpkin, organic eggs, whole wheat pastry flour, oat bran, yogurt, pecans, unsweetened coconut, pineapple... the only not very healthy thing about it is the light brown sugar). But a long way from a baking triumph.

The nice thing about baking is that so long as you don't mess up something truly crucial (like confusing salt for sugar), even the duds are edible.

I think I'll give up on the CCBC, though. It's occurred to me that I could hold a reader contest and get other bakers to send in their recipes, and pick the best one to post on my future author website. That's the mark of a master, right? To get someone else to do the work?

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