First: The wonderful, gracious, generous Molly, from Life With the Campbells, shared the story of her husband’s stroke on Project:Purse and Boots. It is an amazing story, and made me cry more than once. Please make sure you go there for her incredible words. Don’t worry, I’ll remind you again at the end too.
And now for something completely different.
I have, oh once or twice in my life, had the experience of saying to myself, “Oh, I’d like to try that!” before doing any…well…research or planning. Or, I dunno, thinking of any kind.
Yes, I’ve done that a time or two.
A few months ago on the Martha Stewart show I watched the making of a rainbow cake. It was a recipe by Kaitlin Flannery at The Whisk Kid. It. Was. Stunning. And rainbows! Who doesn’t love rainbows?
Gigi over at Kludgy Mom made it, and hers turned out great. I had seen a few other bloggers showcase their effervescent, multi-hued efforts.
So why not me, damnit? The girl is turning sixteen this year, she likes rainbows. Why the hell not?
Things might have gone a little differently if I had read the recipe for the cake before committing myself.
Step One, it says: Call your local cardiologist.
Step Two, it says: Refill your prescription for Lipitor. If you don’t have one, get one.
Step Three, it says: Complete a notarized durable power of attorney for health care.
It turns out that the recipe requires 7, that is SEVEN, sticks of butter and 19, NINETEEN, eggs.
Ok, ok….egg whites, but still.
As the birthday girl and I stood staring in shock and awe at the seemingly unending vista of lethal ingredients laid out on the counter before us, she said, “It’s okay…the rainbow colors will protect us from this evil monster mountain of food.”
I was very particular about getting the proper food coloring gels, as all regular food coloring will do is give you one hot mess of pastel-colored, wannabe rainbow-like cake.
This is a six layer cake. I know, I know…I said seven earlier. I’m a big fat liar. And dorky. Had I put any thought into at all I would have realized that a rainbow cake would likely not feel compelled to make the optical distinction between indigo and violet. Six layers.
I do not have six 9 inch cake pans, and I will damned well kick the shins of anyone who does who is not paid to cook. That is wrong, people. Wrong.
So I had to cook in batches. I also had to do math. There was the kitchen scale, weighing the bowl before the batter went into it, weighing again, subtracting the weight of the bowl, dividing by six, adding the year I was born, subtracting my resting heart rate… But I figured it out. And made six, brightly-colored layers of cake.
Instructions for the cake directed you to cut the domes off. These cakes were domeless. Which certainly made my life a bit easier, but made me question the quality of my baking powder.
Next, the butter cream frosting.
Nineteen eggs. Nineteen separated eggs. Five separated eggs ended up in the cakes, which left fourteen separated eggs for the buttercream.
You know that trick where you separate the eggs one at a time over a little dish so if you screw up you can dump out one egg and not contaminate a whole batch? Yeah. I so did that this time. I never do. I’m lazy. But I had visions of myself breaking a yolk in on my second to last egg and then committing hari kari in my kitchen with a dull spoon.
I’ve never made buttercream frosting before. I’m not sure I’ve ever made frosting before. While I turn up my nose at some storebought products, baking mixes have never been one of them. Go Betty! Go pudgy dough-man! I will happily buy chocolate frosting in a can.
But for this cake, well, it seemed ridiculous to go as far as making six layers of outrageous rainbow goodness to then top with canned frosting.
Had I known beforehand about the 14 separated eggs, a different road might have been taken.
The moral here? READ THE DAMNED INSTRUCTIONS FIRST.
Also, I have developed a deep and hugely inappropriate love for my stand-mixer. You know, the one that lives in the living room on the bookshelf? The bright apple-green one? Our relationship has moved to a whole new level and I’m thinking about ordering some new attachments. I think this baby could do beautiful things for me.
I even frosted a crumb layer. I mean really. Does it get any crazier than that?
So are you ready? You want to see it?
So whatya think?
How ’bout a closer look.
And one more of the whole herd.
It went over pretty well.
Once the baking was over, and the cake was frosted and resting safely in the fridge, I collapsed on the bed to rest for a few minutes before the next wave of party prep. That’s when Child B stuck his head in the bedroom and said the words every parent dreams of hearing from their eighteen-year-old son: “Hey, can I borrow a bra?”
Himself and I were so proud.
So for making this six-layer, cholesterol-madness, beauty of a cake, I award myself +25 Martha Points.
Which brings my new total to: +29 Martha Points.
Thank heavens. I was almost in negative numbers.
And don’t forget to go to Project: Purse and Boots to read Molly’s incredible story. You will be glad that you did.