Musings of a Dinosaur

A Family Doctor in solo private practice; I may be going the way of the dinosaur, but I'm not dead yet.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Chip Off the Old Block

My little Nestling is certainly enjoying himself at college. Witness his latest communication (minimally edited):

I had a rather interesting conversation about fire with my lab partner. We both like the smell of extinguished candles. This led us to the idea that we should bake a cake. ... I decided to make it a rather interesting experiment. I looked up the most basic cake recipe for proportions and methods and did crazy math and extra ingredients with it, and this is what I came up with:

Here's how it might look as a normal recipe:

2 1/2 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 Tbsp cinnamon
12 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups sugar (preferably from a container with vanilla beans)
5 large eggs
1 1/3 cups half and half
2 tsp vanilla
2 bananas

Makes 2-9" cakes. Procedure: typical.

As you might be able to tell, this is a chocolate banana cake. I also wanted to make a little more than 2-9" cakes...so here's how I did it.

3 1/2 Cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
(1 tsp salt)
1/2 cups cocoa powder
2 Tbsp cinnamon
16 Tbsp butter
2 1/2 cups sugar (a little over 2)
6 extra large eggs
2 cups half & half
1 tsp vanilla
3 bananas

First, keep in mind that there's a time limit. I left for [the grocery store] around 6:00, got back around 7:00, and had to start my [work] shift at 9:00.

1. Get RA friend to open quad office so baking is possible without invading freshman dorm. Quickly run to C-store for bananas. Start taking off the packaging of all items bought at [grocery store].

2. Put butters in mixing bowl. Realize they're not quite soft enough and start hacking with fork. Start adding sugar. Continue hacking. Wonder why the mixture creates weird butter balls. Keep adding in sugar and mixing with butter until all sugar is added.

3. Upon frustration with texture of butter/sugar mixture, start using the big spoon to mix. That's why it was bought.

4. Start mixing in eggs one at a time at the sink. Look in vain for a light over the sink. Give up and go back to other table hoping no mess is made. Add eggs one at a time and beat with fork after each one. After 3 or 4 eggs, begin to worry about consistency of batter.

5. Put flour in measuring cup. Realize that other dry ingredients won't fit in it. Add cocoa and baking powder to other, smaller measuring cup. Add cinnamon to flour measuring cup because it makes an interesting contrast. Look around for salt and worry that none can be found. Relax because it doesn't matter. Add some flour and half & half. Mix. Add cocoa and a little flour and half&half. Mix. Suddenly be proud that it looks like beautiful chocolate batter. Continue adding some flour and half&half until all of each is added. Lick a drop of batter that got on fingers. Enjoy. ^_^

6. Preheat oven to 350ยบ. Move rack to middle shelf.

7. Peel first banana. Slice with fork in ninja style. Attempt to cut up banana half from within the batter. Settle for banana chunks and make note to try mashed bananas next time. Cut rest of banana and subsequent bananas using smarter method (using one part of peel against finger like cutting board). Have minor concerns about freshness regarding dark spots in bananas. Mix bananas in as much as possible.

8. Pour into three 8"x8" pans. Don't worry about not having greased them because there would not have been enough butter otherwise. Wonder if disposable aluminum pans will stick and/or burn much.

9. Place pans in oven. Realize that there's not enough space for all 3 on one shelf. Kick self in ass for moving rack to just above other rack. Move lower rack down one level and wonder how it might affect outcome. Put third pan in. Wonder how anyone could function with an oven 1' wide x 2' deep squeezed in corner of room. Glance at watch to note relative time for baking.

10. Lick various utensils. Enjoy. ^_^

11. Wash used dishes in bathroom on own floor (for some odd reason.) Use hand soap instead of dish soap. Try not to be phased by temperature of water. Place all dishes in mixing bowl and set on floor to dry. Look at time and plan ahead by taking stuff needed for [work] shift. Look around room and double check that nothing else needs to be taken down.

11. Go back to quad office. Notice dirty measuring spoons. Return to own floor, wash them, and throw into mixing bowl. Go back to quad office and check cakes (15 min point). Check obsessively every 5 minutes. Call [work] coordinator and tell him there may be a slight delay.

12. Once cakes seem about done (~30min), remove from oven using single pot holder pulling straight onto cooling racks. Wait impatiently for them to cool before decorating. Hastily decorate with rainbow chip frosting and various icings. Decorate one for Grandmother's birthday, one with "I was bored", and one with "Cake Ninja" (don't ask). Enjoy excess frosting, but reluctantly realizing time crunch, quickly wash rubber spatula and put with other dishes. Take pictures for posterity and emails.

13. Put "I was bored" cake in room. Leave messages on friends' doors for them to eat it. Rush down to main gate so as not to be too too late for shift. Carry 2 cake pans on one cooling rack. Try not to burn fingers, with moderate success. Set up work station. Leave message for friend to pick up Cake ninja cake. Dig into cake.

14. Take pictures of myself enjoying cake. Spend over half the shift sending emails regarding cake baking instead of studying for upcoming tests/class stuff.

The result:

I may have to change his blog nickname to NinjaBaker.

5 Comments:

At Mon Nov 03, 06:53:00 AM, Blogger Elaine said...

That is brilliant. I always reckoned baking to be more of an art than a science.

Here is proof that inexact science (is that an oxymoron?) can do the job.

The lad will go far.

 
At Mon Nov 03, 07:50:00 AM, Blogger Cheryll said...

OMG! All my years of baking instruction and experience down the tubes! Not to mention making my DH late for work because I was laughing so hard he had to come out of the shower and read this, too...

Thanks, Dino!

 
At Mon Nov 03, 07:58:00 AM, Blogger OHN said...

This kid would get along famously with mine! Isn't it fun to see them become human beings ;)?

 
At Mon Nov 03, 08:09:00 AM, Blogger TBTAM said...

Love it!

Very interesting recipe, (the first one). May have to try it myself.

 
At Thu Nov 06, 07:07:00 PM, Anonymous spynster57 said...

Very Funny! Crazy math is right! As a long time home baker, here's my advice: next time, double the recipe and bake a whole bunch of cupcakes. :-) Simple math, shorter time in the oven, and can be dipped in the frosting while warm. Voila! I'm thrilled that he didn't just open a box....

 

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