Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas Adam!

I stole that phrase from our preacher. He said that when his son was young, he figured that the day before Christmas Eve must be Christmas Adam since Adam was created first. So, merry Christmas Adam to all of you!

I hope you all have had a very good day. I've been to the grocery store twice today and it was a much happier experience at 8:00 this morning than it was at 5:30 this afternoon! Thank goodness I only needed one item for the 5:30 trip! I have "cooked" most of the day today. This is not something I do frequently nor something that I enjoy very often. I say "cooked" because even though I've made 4 side dishes to go with our Christmas Eve meal tomorrow, I've only turned on the oven once. The one dish I tried to "cook"was a disaster! Ovens and I don't always get along. However the spirit of Christmas overtook me, and in fear and trembling I preheated the oven and prepared to make a caramel cake.

Only love for my hubby, RJ, could persuade me to try such an ambitious cooking adventure. My husband's mom was an absolutely fantastic cook. With no recipe, not much measuring, seemingly no stress, and a smile on her face she could turn out an all-out feast! She was known for many wonderful dishes. The other day RJ mentioned in passing that he would love to taste his mom's caramel or coconut cake again. His mom passed away April 1, 2005. This will be our second Christmas without her and it's no easier than the first one was.

I have never made a cake from scratch. Never. I like boxes and kits. I like easy. I knew I would never be able to make a cake just like his mother's but thought I might be able to come close. So, with the help of both of my grandmothers - my Grandmother's cake recipe and my Mamaw's caramel frosting recipe - I attempted to bake a caramel cake. With the help of my 5 year old son, I made 3 beautiful round layers of cake and a pot of yummy caramel frosting. They LOOKED wonderful in separate pans on the kitchen counter. They TASTED yummy in separate pans. However chemistry must have taken over when I tried to combine the cakes and the frosting. I never did understand science. When I tried to put the cakes with the frosting, the entire thing crumbled right before my very eyes! The first cake did not come out of the pan nicely. I had to get rough with it and show it who was boss. I really didn't think it would be a problem. After all, it was on the bottom. It came out of the pan in several pieces, but I glued it back together with frosting. The second layer came out a little better, but still took some coercing. So, with more frosting patching I reached for the 3rd layer. The third layer came out of the pan the best - only in three separate pieces. By the time I patched those, I was running short on frosting. I poured (actually "raked it out of the pan" is more accurate since it was getting a little stiff) the remaining frosting on top on the cake and tried to spread (the nice way to say, "forcibly smear") it on the cake. As I did, the whole left side of the cake began to crumble and fall to the counter. It was somewhat like I picture an avalanche would be, but warmer. It's a sad little mountainish heap on a beautiful crystal cake pedestal. RJ was very gracious and went on and on about how wonderful it tasted. We have all eaten a piece of what we've been able to uncover of the first layer. It does taste good, but it takes a brave person to put something that looks so pitiful in his/her mouth! Maybe another holiday will fill me with the false hope that I can bake a cake and I might try it again someday. But on this Christmas Adam day, I am very thankful for bakeries.


The Median Sib said...

Secret tip for baking cakes. After you grease/flour the cake pans, cut a piece of wax paper to fit the bottom of each pan. (It's easy - just set the pan on top of the wax paper - draw around the bottom with a pencil and then cut following the pencil line)- I usually cut all three sheets at the same time). Then put one sheet in the bottom of each pan - spray Pam on top of that. Then put the batter in the pans. After baking, let it cool COMPLETELY. It should come out of the pan easily and in one piece. I've done this for years and NEVER had a problem with the cake sticking except for a year ago when I ran out of wax paper and thought it probably didn't make that much difference. It does. If you're out of wax paper - go buy some, but don't bake a cake without it. Well, that's my baking tip for the day.

Having made cakes using the two recipes you used today, I KNOW how delicious it is! That cake and that frosting is absolutely wonderful! It makes me want to bake a caramel cake - except I'll be doing good to get the table cleared off for our dinner tomorrow night. I bought a Honey-Baked Ham Turkey breast - and I'm working on making cornbread for dressing.

Didn't mean to write a book as a comment. Congratulations on making the cake - and RJ is right - the taste is the important thing!

Lyn said...

I'll have to try the waxed paper trick. I didn't let the cakes cool completely either. I was in a rush to get the rest of the cooking done and needed the counter space. Live and learn, I guess. Thanks for the tip!

Ruth said...

I was sent over here by The Median Sib, and I did a double-take when I read the title of this post. We always wish each other Merry Christmas Adam in my family, but I never heard anybody else do it. :-)

Welcome to blogging - hope you enjoy it!

Jane said...

Lyn, welcome to the blogging world. I look forward to reading what you have to say as well as getting to know you better. We may be cousins but I don't know a lot about you.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!