How to Be…A Disaster Cake
by Lindsay Timmington
I love to bake. I used to “stress-bake,” but when I realized that life is actually pretty stressful and my metabolism is actually pretty slow, I started saving baking for special occasions; like birthdays. I LOVE to bake birthday cakes. To be clear, we’re not talking homemade, because who’s got time for that shit? But we are talking about good old-fashioned Betty Croker box-mixes that are, in fact, delicious.
I’ve found that chocolate pudding cake with vanila icing is a pretty stellar combination and has been the staple in my 2017 birthday cake repertoire. Now, I’ve about six or so of these bad boys under my belt so far and all have been met with reasonable success and praise, which means I was bound to end up with a bum cake at some point. I should have recognized this and given in when signs were pointing south, but instead I preserved and what my dear friend ended up with was a cake of disastrous proportions. Literally.
FRIEND’S BIRTHDAY DAY
8:00am: I’m up and I’m drinking coffee and I’m gonna get this cake in the oven and get to work. I am timing this shit PERFECTLY.
8:09am: Cake batter mixed. Don’t eat any batter, Lindsay, ‘cause salmonella before noon.
8:12am: Cake batter is good.
8:14am: Splitting the cake batter right now-half into the round pan, round pan into the oven, split the bake time in half (what the fuck with altitude temperatures, Betty Crocker?) set the timer for 18 minutes because better to under-bake than over and God knows with this GD stove.
8:15am: FUCK WHEN THE TIME IS ON A PRE-HEATING STOVE IT’S GONNA GET HOT.
8:16am: Cake in. Coffee and work and get shit done so you can take birthday-girl to lunch and LOOK AT YOU with this stellar cake scheduling. Soon cakes will be cooling, you’ll be at lunch and you have GOT THIS SHIT DOWN.
8:35am: First cake out. Oh yeah, that’s the stuff. Just give it a few minutes to cool then tap that thing out onto a plate for further cooling so you can re-use the cake pan to bake the second part of the cake. GOT THIS. Set cake on top of protein powder container on top of refrigerator to cool. Who needs a cooling rack or additional cake pan? I am a mothereffing baking PIONEER.
8:40am: 2nd cake in. I should have my own baking show.
9:00am: Cake out. HOW IS IT POSSIBLE THAT I AM SO ON TOP OF THIS?
9:01am-12:02pm: workworkworkworkworkworkworkworkwork. Time for a run, but first, a tiny bit more coffee because feed the addiction. (When I’m feeling cocky I like to talk like a millennial, because because.)
12:03pm: Open the door to the refrigerator to get the milk.
12:03:02: A tiny speck of dust wafts past front door of apartment.
12:03:03: Dog barks fool head straight off body like the scary ass clown from IT is breaking down door.
12:03:04: Startle because of goddamn dog and slam refrigerator door shut.
12:03:05: Geriatric cat with no teeth and hip dysplasia continues to sleep contentedly in heated bed atop kitchen table, right next to fridge.
12:03:06: Fridge door slamming sends cake flying off protein powder container on top of fridge and plummets down to table, landing on geriatric cat.
12:03:07: Geriatric cat shoots up into air landing on top of the utensil jar ALSO ON TOP OF THE FRIDGE and FREAKS THE FUCK OUT, landing on the floor next to stupid barking dog.
12:03:08: Cake disaster commence.
12:0309: Barking dog barks at hissing geriatric cat attempting to escape the madness. Barking dog follows because barking dog is asshole.
12:03:10: Survey the damage.Cake is half-off plate, half everywhere else in kitchen sized at approximately 7×9′.
12:03:11: Say “fuck it” and take barking dog who is asshole for a run and hope to God geriatric cat has not died from cake assault shock.
12:51 pm: Return from run. Reassess. Currently have one half-moon cake and one full moon cake and a very big mess.
1:00pm: COME UP WITH BRILLIANT IDEA IN SHOWER, birthplace of all brilliant ideas.
2:00pm: Take friend for dim sum in Flushing. Forget about cake while eating all the fried things, ere so briefly.
4:00 pm: On train home consider the new plan for birthday cake redemption. Still think, “got this.”
4:35 pm: Realize that time frame for cake redemption is sticky.
4:40pm: Stop at Key Foods for 2 cupcakes. Stand in front of bakery case like woman on first day of period debating the merits of sprinkles vs. cookies n’ cream.
4:45 pm: After man-handling six different cupcakes settle on two chocolate with vanilla frosting. Like the cake.
4:50pm: Return home and realize must change, walk asshole dog and fix cake problem that seems less and less fix-able.
5:00pm: Cry just a little bit.
5:02 pm: Text birthday friend, “I’m gonna be a little late”
5:03 pm: Eat some frosting.
5:04 pm: Frost the shit out of full moon cake, which is still on top of upside down cake pan.
5:09 pm: Realize full moon cake is still on top of upside down cake pan.
5:10pm: Eat more frosting.
5:11pm: Start frosting half moon cake (thanks again asshole dog!) still on dinner plate.
5:14pm: Well, fuck.
5:16pm: Set half moon cake on top of full moon cake WHICH IS STILL ATOP THE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE PAN
5:17PM: WELL, FUCK.
5:18pm: Get the cake container purchased from the dollar store to house birthday cake and repeat to self, “you have a masters degree, you can figure this out.”
5:19pm: Realize you can not figure this out.
5:20pm: Attempt to slide half moon/full moon cake concoction into rectangular cake holder.
5:21pm: Rue the day you decided geometry was worthless.
5:22pm: Employ spatula, cake server, Jesus, fork and turner to shift half moon cake on top of full moon cake on top of upside down cake pan into rectangular cake house
5:23 pm: Look at the bottle of scotch on top of fridge
5:24pm: Look at the clock and realize you have NO TIME LEFT and simply move half moon cake on top of full moon cake on top of upside down cake pan into rectangular cake home and say a couple of prayer-like things.
5:25pm: Remember the cupcakes. Curse cupcakes. Apologize for cursing cupcakes.
5:26pm: Try to put the cupcakes on top of the full moon cake, facing the half moon cake in order to make a smiley face birthday cake.
5:27pm: Realize you’ve not made a smiley face birthday cake but instead, a goddamn mess.
5:28pm: Find some decorative, edible silver beads from previous birthday cakes and put those around the edge.
5:29pm: Hear the edible silver beads rolling off the cake and into the pan and onto your floor and seriously consider the scotch.
5:30pm: Say, “Fuck it!” and try to put the top on the rectangular cake house while the half moon cake on top of the full moon cake with the two cupcakes tilts precariously to one side.
5:31pm: Give up. Smash top down, put rectangular cake house with half moon cake and two cupcakes on top of full moon cake with 7 edible beads rolling around it in busted Marshalls reusable shopping bag and leave.
5:32pm: Realize you have to carry the thing you just made like a goddamn newborn baby and curse the day you “HAD TO BAKE A ‘HOMEADE’ CAKE”
5:33pm: See birthday friend at train station.
5:34pm: Tell her you’re sorry in advance.
5:40pm: Get on train and feel bad but don’t give up seat to pregnant lady because holding cake baby.
6:00pm: Birthday celebration begins.
9:30pm: Hope to the sweet baby Jesus that these people are finally drunk enough to eat some disaster cake.
9:32pm: Realize you have some seriously good friends.
9:33pm: Let them eat cake.