Saturday, August 09, 2008

Buttermilk spice cake with bourbon-banana compote and toasted marshmallows

...or Having a Laugh (Are You Having a Laugh?)

So, we all know that I love to cook, and have demonstrated a fair amount of competence in doing so. Proficiency, even, modestly put. Baking, however, is not my forte. Sure, my galettes are passable, but this is because galettes are definitively rustic. Cakes are not rustic at all; contrarily, they are to be pretty, delicate things, almost too precious to eat. Slicing into one is to feel like committing a violation.

My cakes are pretty ugly. Remember the chocolate cake with pecan-coconut frosting I baked for my dad's birthday back in May? Sure, everything tasted great - I mean, it's pretty hard to fuck up chocolate cake from a box and a sack of coconut mixed with sweetened, condensed milk and chopped nuts. But you almost ate it because you felt sorry for it, like you were putting it out of its misery.

This cake had a face only a mother could love. But oh god, it tasted like a Moon Pie and a piece of banana bread got shit-faced on fine Kentucky bourbon and cranked out an illegitimate love child (this is a good thing, to those of you with blank looks on your faces).

It started out a harmless buttermilk spice cake, a recipe from Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts (a vestige from my crunchier days). I was baking this cake for dinner guests, to go with crawfish-smoked pork cheek etoufee, collard greens and cornbread, so I wanted to bring it (down)home with buttery bananas sauteed with bourbon and a little crushed hazelnut praline. Kind of like Bananas Foster on cake. Oh, god, was it ever going to blow their minds. Then, though, and maybe it was the Lynchburg lemonades thinking, I said, "Hey, whydunwe put summadem lil' marshmallows on there and TORCH the shit," which was met with emphatic agreement from our dinner guests. This, dolls, is what happened next.

"Noo, it needs some sliced bananas. I'm finnuh brulee them. Watch this!" And I layered on sliced bananas, sprinkled sugar on top, and torched the fuck out of that poor cake.


Obviously, the whipped cream melted all over the damn place, making it an even tragic abomination of dessert. It was like a bad acid trip.

Let's summarize: it tasted like inebriation incarnate (I think that's good?), looked a hot mess (not such a good thing), and it'll be a few more months before I attempt to bake anything other than biscuits or cornbread again. If there are any Daring Bakers out there reading, would you hook a sista up and make this into a pretty cake?

23 comments:

Peter G said...

LOL! That's hilarious Heather! The ingredients sound great and the cake might look like a zombie from "The Omega Man" but I bet you guys ate it all! Great way to finish a dinner party!

Manggy said...

Er... "Crunchier" days? I dunno what that means, ha ha :) Well, it's a labor of love that at least tasted good, so what more can your guests ask for? I do hope you bake some more soon.
The flavor combo does sound nice. I would foster the bananas in a pan, then fill or top off the cake with it, then cover at least the top with Swiss Meringue and torch that. :)

We Are Never Full said...

heather:

1. i KNEW you were a 'former' cruncher!! (as was i)

2. is that marshmallo holding a light saber?

3. i'd still eat this sorry looking cake. it really does look good.

Heather said...

Petah - The only thing that saved this cake was fire and booze.

Mark - I used to be a hippie. Shh, don't tell anyone. Meringue is an idea...

Amy - I wondered who would be the first to make the light saber association. We have too much in common, you and I.

Emiline said...

Ha ha - love it! :)

Syd said...

I've thrown more fucked up cakes in the yard, pan and all, than I care to admit.

Your soul food menu would make some southern grandmothers tear up, it sounds so good.

YOU were a hippie? I didn't expect that. Still trying to wrap my mind around a smart assed hippie.

Foodycat said...

Christ - it looks like a flaming marshmallow balrog http://www.aintitcool.com/display.cgi?id=14357 But you say it is boozy? I'll have a piece then!

Mike of Mike's Table said...

rofl, well it sounds like it tasted good! I'm also pretty-cake impaired and have fathered many an ugly cake. Keep at it though--the flavors still sound like a winner!

glamah16 said...

You are crazy,but I would have wanted a slice. It all works. Next time save the whipped cream for last. Are you going to make this for your Mother in Law?

Cathy - wheresmydamnanswer said...

You are very funny - I never really thoughy of torching a cake like that. The runny mess on the sides gives it character. Still the combination I bet tasted amazing -
Who cares about the looks for me it would just end up on my thighs so you see your plate in comparison is way better.

Leif erik Sundstrom said...

I say slap a Tiara on that there cake and send 'er down the runway. Shooo-- I know the trials of drunken cooking alterations, but 9 times a 10 they end up tasting good in the mouth, and I think this cake looks D-licious. Makes me think, it's about time for us to have a lil dinner partay..what you think?

Leif

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Girl you are "shit house crazy" as my hubby would say!!! I could so see something like this happening to me because..."it seemed like a good idea at the time"!!! How did it taste??? That's all that counts in the end!

Lo said...

Fire and booze... heck, that would save ANY cake! I'll have to remember that trick :)

Honestly, though. This sounds like a winning combination. But, then, I'm a sucker for bourbon anything. Banana spice cake pudding with bourbon cream, anyone?

Heather said...

Em - You really should give this sad mess a makeover. A cakeover, if you will.

Syd - There's a reason why the hippie thing never stuck. Mostly because I hate hippies.

Foodycat - You win the "Thanks for Showing Me Something My Nerdy LoTR-Loving Husband Hadn't Heard Of And Letting Me Win The Internet" Award.

Mike - I can't imagine who you have to fuck to father an ugly cake. I guess it's what's on the inside that counts?

Courtney - The whipped cream last really is one of those "no doy" things that I shoulda known better.

Cathy - You never just get the urge to light shit on fire? And then follow through with it? Maybe all of my ex-boyfriends were right about me...

Layf - It did taste good, but hard liquor was involved. Re: Dinner, yes, let's. But I can't believe you were all, "dang, that fucked-up abortion of a cake really makes me want to try Heather's cooking." ('~')

Judy - It tasted good, but I don't have little kids around to worry about bad-influencing. :D

Lo - That's a fantastic idea for leftover cake - bread pudding! With bourbon!

Foodycat said...

Winning the internet is very important!

kittie said...

I can't bake pretty things either. Pyromania, however, is another story...

canarygirl said...

Holy fucking shit! (That is totally a compliment.) I am seriously salivating right now. I don't care if the marshmallows *are* on fire, I'd eat that in 3 seconds flat. YUM! I do admit to giggling about the flaming mallows, though. ;) MUAC!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I am the queen of ugly cakes. I love baking, but I can't make a cake that actually looks pretty. I'll never be a pastry chef. I don't have the touch. Heck, I have lousy knife skills for real food too. I can combine killer flavors, but I can't make anything look good.

I'm sure this tasted fine. The next time you want to flambe your bananas, so bananas foster thing and just saute them in butter and brown sugar, add a hint of booze, and light the whole thing on fire.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I don't care what it looks like... it looks like/sounds like it would taste unbelievable!

Give me substance over form any day.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

That TOTALLY ROCKS, Heather!

Brittany said...

You've brought back Flaming Dessert!

I don't give a fuck what it looks like, I would so totally eat ANYTHING that tastes
moonpie-ish

tammy said...

I burst out laughing at "torched the fuck out of that cake" and spit all over my keyboard. (See, you're not the only classy one.)

But, seriously, that's my kind of love child.

Christy and/or Daniel said...

Nice torch! Is that the one we got you?