I tried…

First, three things of business to take care of:

• Happy Birthday to my wonderful husband, Ben.

• Happy Birthday to my brother, Jonathan.

• Happy Belated Birthday to my father, Louis.

That said, I spent the day busily baking birthday cakes – three of them. I knew that dad likes Boston Cream Pie, so I set about making one for him. Jonathan wanted chocolate. Ben wanted fudge marble. It was going to be a busy day.

What to do first?

I figured I’d start with the chocolate cake first. I am not sure why, just because. Well, technically I could get away without washing the mixer bowl and beater between the Boston Cream Pie and the Fudge Marble, but I washed it anyway so if that was the reason that I picked the chocolate first it didn’t end up like that. Whipped up just fine, in the pan, timer set, throw the bowl and beater in the sick fill it up with soapy water, go sit and rest (cool off).

I return to the kitchen to wash the bowl and beater to get the batter ready for the next cake. I start smelling the chocolate cake and it isn’t smelling like a yummy cake. Now in all fairness, I didn’t check the oven for previous spills (they happen) before starting so it could have been anything. I looked at the timer and saw that it still had 10 minutes left on it. I KNEW that wasn’t possible with what I was smelling. I pull it out and check it and sure enough it is DONE! *wiping the sweat off brow* SAFE! I had set the timer wrong. It happens. I was thankful that I was able to smell at that time (there are times when I can’t smell a thing).

I get the cake on the cooling racks and it flipped out nicely, it even stuck in a couple of places (that happens). It responded like it was still moist and yummy! *grin* Another cake saved from disaster!

I set about mixing up the batter for the Boston Cream Pie. While it is beating for its required time, I am washing the cake pans. I love those pans by the way. I am considering getting another set. I use them a lot and they are wonderful. I’ve liked them from day one even though I wasn’t sure I would like them. Thanks, Mom! Yes, those were a gift from Mom a while back.

Anyway, the directions for the Boston Cream Pie say that it should be baked in one pan and then cut in half height-wise (torted). No big deal. I have a cake leveler – 2 of them actually – and it isn’t that big of a deal. I look at the batter and realize that it didn’t whip up like I “like” to have my batter whip up. I’ve made a lot of cakes and past experience reveals that cakes that don’t whip up like I “like” don’t turn out the same. They just don’t rise as much as they should. I shrug it off since it is a different “mix” and it was a little older.

Now I am looking at the batter and thinking, “Why cut this thing in half and do all that work when I can just bake it in 2 pans and have 2 perfect layers all ready to go?” So I divided what little batter there was between the 2 pans that are floured and ready to go. I had already lowered the temperature on the oven like instructed. I am ready. I stick it them in and set the timer for half the time stated since I was doing 2 thinner cakes now. I would just check and let bake longer if needed. It needed about 2/3 of the time stated.

I have decided that I clearly do not know why they call it a “Boston Cream Pie” when it is clearly a cake. Yep, bakes like a cake, looks like a cake, tastes like a cake, eats like a cake…It is a cake!

The cake layers are done. Now remember, I knew subconsciously that this wasn’t going to turn out just like it should. The batter just wasn’t the right consistency. Sure enough the layers did not rise like they should have (maybe half of what they should have). *sigh* Oh well, past experience hadn’t failed me yet and I had already prepared myself for the possibility. Besides, it is a Boston Cream “Pie” after all… I get the layers on the cooling racks.

I’ve already washed mixer bowl and beater again in the meantime.

I’m whipping up the Fudge Marble. I have to say that this is just a good cake flavor. It is a yellow cake with chocolate fudge cake mixed in. Yummy! It whips up just right. I knew this one was going to be perfect. It was.

Alright…fast forward…all 3 cakes are cooled. The butter has been softening on the counter.

But it can’t go perfect from here as I’ve already discovered that I don’t have enough regular butter in the “unsalted” variety. I have 2 sticks of Smart Balance 50/50 Butter Blend in unsalted. In the 4.5 boxes of butter or butter blends, that was ALL I had in the unsalted department. Gah! What to do? Stop what I am doing and run to the store and grab a box of unsalted butter? Or make do with what I have?

I decided I was making do with what I had on hand. I would just use the regular butter. So that is what I set to soften. No big deal. It would just be a bit more to get it “sweetened” just right.

First things first, get that “cream filling” in the Boston Cream Pie. I can’t find my little KitchenAid Hand Mixer. I found the beaters, but couldn’t find the mixer body itself. I am not sure where it is as it is always in the cabinet under the mixer. *sigh* Oh well, I pulled out the Braun Handi Mixer and used that. Worked like a charm.

I pulled out a totally under used spring form pan. I cut a parchment paper circle about 2 inches larger in diameter and set in on the bottom of the spring form pan. I put the bottom layer, spread the filling, placed the top layer. Done. It might not be a very tall cake, but it is coming together nicely all the same.

I drop the packet with the “chocolate glaze” in it into a bowl with hot water in it and while that is warming, I drop the butter in the mixer, add the vanilla, a little milk, and some of the powdered sugar slowly. As that is beating, I knead the package with the chocolate glaze. It just didn’t feel right. It was grainy in the package. Not what it is supposed to feel like if it is supposed to be “glazing” something. I popped the bowl with the water in it in the microwave for a minute to warm it up some more. I drop the package back in the water and finish making the chocolate icing (double batch to do the 2 other cakes).

While it is beating in the cocoa powder (love Penzy’s Dutch Cocoa), I am kneading the chocolate glaze pouch again. Still not feeling like it should. So I get this brilliant idea to put in my large glass measuring “glass” so that I can stir it and pop it in the microwave if needed. I open the pouch and pour it into the measuring vessel. Out comes this oily substance followed by this thick chocolate goo. It had totally seperated and it was not going back together. I couldn’t even stir it back it after I heated it a bit. NO WAY that is going to work as a glaze.

What do I do now? Think. Think. Think. Ah ha! I’ve got 2/3 of a thing of Baker’s Dipping Chocolate in the cabinet. You know, the bitter-ish squashed chocolate chip things that you melt to dip pretzels and raisins and other things in? This one was in the “milk chocolate” variety so it should be just fine. It was left over from when I made the infamous Peanut Butter Cookies at Christmas time. I pop it in the microwave (it is a microwavable cup thing).

I start dropping big globs of chocolate icing on top of the bottom layers of the other 2 cakes. I am starting to smell that “burnt chocolate” smell. It was all too familiar. Since I knew that it wasn’t a spill in the oven as it was in the microwave, I take a quick look at the timer. I had set the timer for 3 minutes instead of 30 seconds. Clearly, I should not be allowed to set timers. I quickly stop it and pull it out. Give it a good stir. It is just fine! *wiping sweat from brow*

I spread this now warm chocolate dipping chocolate over the top of the Boston Cream Pie. It is working just fine. I knew it wouldn’t get real hard if it wasn’t put in the fridge so I wasn’t worried too much. Of course, now I still had a tub with melting chocolate in it as I didn’t need all of it. What am I going to do with the small amount that is left? It isn’t worth keeping. I have strawberries still in the fridge. I wash the 3 largest ones in there and I dip those babies! Problem solved. I put the strawberries back in the fridge to set the chocolate and finish icing the other 2 cakes.

I top the cakes with the strawberries in the middles. I put the spring form part on the spring form pan. I knew I couldn’t completely get away with not putting the Boston Cream Pie in the fridge because we don’t live in the Arctic and the kitchen is still warm from baking 3 cakes. I knew I’d have to chill it a little with that cream filling. I do that and then go about doing other things that needed to be done. I mark the one cake as my brothers (carved a J in it) as you can’t tell which is which with the chocolate icing masking the marble versus chocolate.

Fast forward…it is getting to be closer to time to leave to take Andrew to Scouts. I would deliver the other cakes to my parents’ house on the way. The boys could eat cake with Uncle Jonathan and Grandpa before I ran Andrew to where he needed to be. Blah blah blah. Well, I always try to take a picture of the cakes I do. At least one. I was going to move the 3 strawberry topped cakes to the table to take their picture…They all looked nice, even the stubby Boston Cream Pie…they were all picture worthy.

I move the 2 regular cakes and go back for the Boston Cream Pie. I am walking to the table and the spring form part pops loose. The Boston Cream Pie goes careening to is death…strawberry first…*splat*…right by the garbage can…

I dropped the Boston Cream Pie! NO!

I had to scrape the thing off the floor with a spatula. I spray and wipe the floor in that spot. UGH!

I decided that was enough. I was done. I went to go shower and get ready to go. No sense crying over a Boston Cream Pie even if it was Dad’s birthday cake. Believe me, I wanted to cry. It is a lot of work to pull of 3 birthday cakes in less than 12 hours when there are plenty of other things to do.

So we’re off with Jonathan’s cake. Might as well take what we have and just laugh it off…hanging my head in shame…(it isn’t the first cake I’ve dropped and I am sure it won’t be the last)…

We get over to my parents’ house and they aren’t even there (Dad and Jonathan weren’t). They had gone to give someone a priesthood blessing, but would be back. We waited and waited. I finally decided that I would run Kyle and Lance home and they could have cake and ice cream with daddy while I took Andrew to Scouts.

I finally return home with Andrew and they still hadn’t had cake and ice cream. Ben made them wait for Andrew and I. *grin* So we sang to Ben/Daddy and then had cake and ice cream. Yummy!

I’ll try again on the Boston Cream Pie…

By the way, it is not the “best” idea to use regular butter in icing, chocolate or otherwise. It is “alright” but it wasn’t “just right.” It is a bit salty, more of a bitter sweet chocolate than a sweet chocolate. If that is what you like, I still recommend half and half (half regular, half unsalted). Note to self: make sure there is unsalted butter when you’re checking to make sure you have enough powdered sugar.

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