A "big" birthday has just come and gone…but our favorite local pastry bakery, Dingledein’s, had gone out of business. I’m a scratch baker, but not a professional, or even a yuppie with a ton of equipment and endless dollars to spend. Still, I bake bread weekly, and always baked all the family b-day cakes back in the day. I figured “what the hell archie;” I will just do it myself this year, so I dragged a Bundt pan out of the back of the cabinet and dug out the recipe book that had, long ago with it.
I looked up recipes which would fit in the “mini” pan, found an appealing one, shopped ingredients and began the next day. I chopped cherries and prepped chocolate, sifted dry ingredients and creamed the butter, sugar and eggs. Then, I got out the mixer. I was soon ready to pour batter into the pan. To my surprise, it filled it almost to the brim.
I went back to the recipe book and checked again. Yes—this was specifically for the “mini” pan.
Full steam ahead. I wasn’t listening to the shrill little voice of baker’s experience in my head which was telling me that this cake would, shortly, be all over the bottom of the oven. I didn’t put a cookie sheet underneath it. Why I did this, I can find no reason, except, maybe, sheer stubbornness.
After all, this recipe book has never let me down before…
Well, as the voice of experience had suggested, Vesuvius erupted. I turned the oven off, got gloves and the cookie sheet I should have put under no matter what “the book said.” Anyone who has reached into a hot oven to pick up a molten tub of something knows how scary this is, but it had to be done. Somehow I got the cake pan onto the sheet without more spilling or burning myself. I turned the oven back on, and, an instant later, the floor of the oven burst into flames. After staring for a moment, and realizing that with so much fuel, it wasn’t about to give up any time soon, I retrieved a box of baking soda. I put out the fire, after turning the oven off once again.
Okay! I’d got the fire out, and the cake pan situated so that the still lively volcanic action would no longer end up on the oven floor. Mad at myself, but not yet ready to despair, I went back to cleaning the kitchen, washing dishes, putting away the mixer, etc. and then started on the frosting. Half an hour later, I realized I hadn’t turned the oven back on...
Well, this was a duel now, between me and my own folly. I turned the oven to a lower temperature and began to bake once more. By using a thermometer, I would eventually make a decision about when the cake was done.
At last, I removed it—best estimate—and after it had cooled a bit, and after a long session of chipping the lava flow from the pan sides and disengaging it from the cookie sheet, I managed to pick the whole thing up and turn the cake onto a plate. Believe it or not, five minutes later, the darn thing slipped out of the pan, and in proper Bundt form! About an hour later, I frosted it and my husband and I ate--and ate it. It was—somehow—quite tasty, despite all the adventures it and I had been through together.