…how to make a cake with one substitution too many.
Now, I’m a relatively intelligent person (or so I like to think) and a fairly successful baker (or so I like to think). I knew that I shouldn’t be attempting to make the yummy, yummy caramel cake from Smitten Kitchen. But I really wanted something sweet in the house and so, despite the fact that I did not have cake flour, buttermilk, heavy cream, or corn syrup, I headed into the kitchen. And imminent disaster.
And I’m going to show it to you because you’re my friends and I know you’d never laugh at me too hard.
I used all-purpose flour plus corn starch for the cake flour and milk with cream of tartar for the buttermilk (a substitution I’ve used in the past to great success). I should have stopped when the cake came out of the oven.
Looks fine, right? Until you see it from the side…
It’s less a cake, more of a cake-sized reservoir, really. At this point I should have just thrown in the towel, covered the cake in jam and called it a day. But no, I carried on with the caramel glaze, using milk and butter for the heavy cream and honey (suspiciously old-looking honey) for the corn syrup.
Looks fine, right? Wrong! I think something must have curdled (milk can curdle, right? It’s really the only thing in there I would have thought could look like that). And even then, foolhardy baker that I am, faced with curdled caramel glaze, I poured it over my cake-sized reservoir. Silly me.
ETA: Well, I tried it – because my standards for eating sweet things are shockingly low – and it’s really not that bad. I think the bits in the glaze that looked like something curdled are actually caramel that was just at a different stage than the rest of it. I was supposed to let it boil until it reached a certain temperature, but I also don’t have a candy thermometer, so I was just guessing. I would certainly never serve this to anyone, but I’ll definitely eat this despite its horrible appearance and I’ll keep the recipe to try again when I actually have everything I need…