The Snack Cake That Wasn’t

There’s been a lot of talk on social media lately about false perfection and people only sharing the highlights of their day. I’d like to think that between my blog and Facebook statuses I keep it pretty real – take for example last week’s status update about how I cooked pork chops like steaks and they turned out overcooked – and tonight’s post that you’re about to read.

I was feeling uncharacteristically domestic this evening (after all, I’d just cleaned the bathroom AND heated up frozen risotto for dinner) when I spontaneously decided to whip up a snack cake for dessert. That’s actually what the recipe is called – and it’s delicious (Mike and I have made it before) – I’ll post it next time… when if it turns out right.

The snack cake is relatively simple to make from scratch, so I was flying through… I even caught myself almost adding a Tbsp of baking soda instead of a tsp. Phew, it was a close call, so close in fact that I didn’t realize that my new measuring spoons had a half Tbsp spoon next to the Tbsp. Which you can deduce meant that I added a half Tbsp into the bowl.

I remembered what I learned the last time that I over did it with the baking soda (banana carrot muffins anyone?) and decided to save the recipe by multiplying all of the ingredients by 1.5. After putting the cake into the oven (with a pan on the rack below in case it overflowed – trying to foresee any potential road blocks to my being able to enjoy that cake) I was feeling pretty good about myself.

That is until the timer went off… and this happened:
image

As if that wasn’t devastating enough, Mike walks into the kitchen and the first words out of his mouth were “I’m not going to say that I told you that the baking time would be altered when you increased the recipe size.” Tired and feeling let down by my husband and the lack of eatible cake, there was nothing left to do but to shed a few tears in the other room (okay more than a few… this wasn’t ‘spilt milk’ after all).

Mike and I sat down to talk about why I was upset (aside from the obvious… the cake dripping into parts of my oven that I still have no clue how I’m going to clean – I unsuccessfully tried suggesting that a new oven might be the best way to ensure a proper clean). I was disappointed that he’d said I told you so to me. No matter how many times I’ve had the opportunity to say that to him – I never have. It’s unnecessary – I obviously knew by the liquid cake on the floor that he was right about the baking time. He understood, apologized and we agreed that going forward that phrase has no place in our relationship.

If only this post ended there with “and then we cuddled with Luke on the couch while catching up on last week’s episode of Last Man Standing.”

After accepting the lack of cake that my evening would hold, I went to move the laundry along when I noticed that the clothes in the washing machine were soaking wet/the drum didn’t drain all the way. I didn’t think anything of it and just left the few really wet pieces in the washer while I added the next load to it and pressed start. Suddenly I happened to glance over at the wash sink and noticed that it didn’t drain and was about to overflow! Thankfully I was able to stop the wash cycle before mopping became a part of my evening.

I blindly reached into the cloudy-with-lint water and pulled out what turned out to be a sponge that was covering the drain. That’s when I noticed that the lint trap was incredibly full. I discarded the old trap only to discover that we had no new traps to replace it with, just an empty lint trap container. I reluctantly sacrificed a pair of tights (that I liked – I don’t have any tights that I don’t like) to make a temporary lint trap. As I turned to go upstairs to put my pajamas on, I heard Mike say “hey, look what I found!” He’d been digging around a shelf with laundry stuff that the previous owner left behind and found a box of lint traps. My tights were cut up for nothing. My emotions were the cake all over again. To be fair, I’d been working on stamps and cleaning all day and my cake was just batter-covered paper towels in the trash can – the unnecessarily mangled tights were the icing on the nonexistent cake.

Advertisements

Pumpkin Banana Fiasco

What started out as a well-intentioned quick batch of muffins, ideally ready before Mike woke up Sunday morning, turned into an all-morning affair 3 dozen times over. I remembered making some delicious pumpkin muffins last fall, but couldn’t remember where that recipe had disappeared to (perhaps it was on my phone before it was factory reset…). So it was off to Pinterest to drum up another pumpkin muffin recipe. I found an intriguing recipe for pumpkin banana muffins – since we happened to have a few bananas that were riper than Mike would usually eat, I decided that recipe would kill two birds with one stone. Thankfully, I keep some pumpkin spice and canned pumpkin in our pantry year-round, so whenever the baking bug strikes in the chillier months – I’m ready to whip up a batch of pumpkin something without a trip to the grocery store (If I were reading this aloud to Mike, he would say “mmmm, I love pumpkin something”).

Side note: one of my random pet peeves while baking is using too big a mixing bowl for the job. I know it’s not the end of the world, but the bigger ones are more cumbersome to clean/take up more space in the dishwasher (if I use the glass ones they’re dishwasher friendly). So when this recipe called for a “large” mixing bowl for the dry ingredients, I scanned the dry ingredient quantities and decided that the medium mixing bowl (#3 out of 5 in the set) would be just fine.

After tossing in the flour, I added 2 Tbsp of baking powder and 1 Tbsp of baking soda. Next came the remaining contents of the pumpkin spice, just about 2 tsp. Hold the phone, tsp… teaspoon. That’s what was written in the ingredients list next to the baking powder AND the baking soda – not Tbsp. Shoot.

I immediately went to my phone to look up if this was an oversight that could be ignored (like adding too many chocolate chips – definitely not a problem). Unfortunately, what I gleaned from the internet was that too much baking powder would make my muffins taste bitter, and too much baking soda would make them taste soapy. Mmmmm, bitter soapy muffins. The graphic designer in me immediately went into problem solving mode. I could scrap the whole thing… but that would waste the last of the pumpkin spice. Or, I could just figure out how many times over I’d need to make the recipe to accommodate the excess ingredients. Three. I really hoped that this recipe would be worth the three dozen muffins I was about to make.

Unfortunately, I could not get to the grocery store and back before Mike woke up, so there were no muffins for him prior to his Sunday morning basketball game. I only needed a few more bananas, some pumpkin spice, more apple sauce (so I would have some left over after the triple batch to bring with me for lunch during the week) and some more brown sugar. I picked up a larger-than-normal container of pumpkin spice… and a few extra cans of pumpkin for good measure… and some milk chocolate chips (the writer of the pin mentioned that chocolate chips were a lovely addition to the recipe).

After getting all of the dry ingredients successfully mixed in my medium bowl, I threw them into the KitchenAid mixer’s bowl so that they’d be ready for the wet ingredients to be added while the mixer was running. I decided to save on dirty dishes I’d use that same medium bowl for the wet ingredients. After all, if all of those dry ingredients fit – the wet ones should fit as well (to be fair, I decided to use the medium bowl back when I was making a single batch…) I’ll digress from the bowl for a moment to talk about the cans of pumpkin, but rest assured, we’ll be back to this topic.

I know how to use a can opener, I swear. But for some reason I just could not get our new-ish can opener to work properly (Mike and I broke our last one back in the Wilson house and had quite an evening trying to get into some closed cans containing part of our dinner ingredients). Even though the can opener wouldn’t budge, it did make a small slit in the side of the can. I figured that maybe a serrated knife would finish the job (Andrea and Kathy, don’t worry, for this experiment I didn’t use any of the good quality knives that you ladies bought us). It only took a few strokes of the knife to decide that that wasn’t a solid plan. Back to the drawing board. I found an old, somewhat rusty, old-school can opener (I’m not sure how that didn’t get thrown away when Helene was helping us figure out what kitchen supplies we needed doubles of and which ones we could toss/donate). I thought about trying to use the can opener part of it, but I didn’t want rust touching my canned pumpkins. Then I had an idea, I could use the not rusty ‘key hole’ portion and make little triangle holes around the perimeter of the can, and then remove the top from there. About 5 holes in I learned that the can will not hold up to any additional holes. I used a teaspoon to scoop out the contents of the can – careful to avoid the 5 sharp teeth that I’d created in the lid.

20130922_094054

This definitely slowed down the muffin-making process. After the cans were emptied, and the rest of the liquid ingredients were added to the mashed bananas, that medium-sized mixing bowl looked something like this:

20130922_095232

I had to mix very carefully to keep the contents of the bowl actually inside the bowl. I’m not going to lie though, I was pretty proud of myself for successfully mixing all of those ingredients in that size bowl and not having to wash a larger bowl, I believe my exact words were: nailed it!

Things were pretty much smooth sailing from there. The wet and dry ingredients were mixed together, three muffin tins were filled and moved to the oven, and most importantly, the result was delicious.

20130922_110748

I made one dozen without chocolate chips and the other two dozen with chocolate chips. The consensus has been that both ways taste great. Personally, I’d probably continue to add chocolate chips, but that’s just because why wouldn’t you add chocolate chips to muffins whenever possible?! I’d definitely recommend this recipe. The sugar content isn’t terrible and everything else is actually pretty healthy as baking ingredients go, especially if you do happen to use whole wheat flour per the recipe.

A few notes if you decide to make this recipe (in the link at the top of this blog entry)
• I used regular flour instead of whole wheat because that’s what I had in my pantry
• The muffins will be very moist – but that’s really not an issue since there are no eggs in the batter, also who likes rock hard muffins, gross.
• I used 2 whole cans of pumpkin for the triple recipe since I didn’t want to have half a can of pumpkin laying around the house.
• I used 1 whole bag of milk chocolate chips for two dozen muffins