Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tuesay's Events and Jenna's "Mistake Cake" Ideas

This morning I prepared polenta and egg casserole, which was a recipe I found that sounded terrific, only to turn lackluster in it's delivery. I won't bore you with details of the recipe, only tell you what would have made it better.... First of all, the secret to great polenta (or grits, for us southern folks) is using chicken broth instead of water in the cooking process (which I DID do). This gives the corn a heightened flavor and depth that just make it out of this world. There was really no need to spend the extra time baking the eggs in the polenta; some simple fried eggs seasoned with salt and pepper would have been lovely served atop a steaming bowl of the corn and would have saved myself roughly 15 extra minutes and the need to wash a casserole dish!
Dinner took an unexpected turn, as I received a last minute solicitation to create some cupcakes for a small graduation party that was taking place this evening. I, of course, jumped at the chance, and got to work making mini salted caramel chocolate cakes, which consisted of a devils food batter baked in mini muffin tins, which once cooled were individually hollowed out and filled with a homemade salted caramel cream sauce, piped with a dark chocolate frosting on top, and garnished with a sprinkling of fluer de sel. They turned out beautifully, even amid a mini crises by which the entire first batch had to be scrapped- I had filled the tins a tad too full, causing the batter to rise up and form unattractive flattened disks topping the cupcake, which would have hindered the hollowing out process. The assembly line with all of the different components was enough to swallow up my tiny kitchen, rendering it useless for making dinner. The lack of Classic Chicken Parmesan aside, I consider the evening a complete success, even though my family was obliged to dine on the veggie supreme from a local pizzeria.

Jenna's "Cake Mistake" Solution

When you have a situation like mine earlier this evening, and for some reason a cake doesn't look as it should, became stuck to the pan and broke while trying to remove it, or perhaps got a touch overcooked, don't fret (and for heavens sakes don't waste)- simply create a new dessert as if you had intended it that way all along! You can create a show stopping trifle by alternately layering crumbled up cake, some homemade sweetened whipped cream, and fresh berries, or for a fun children's dessert make a dirt cake with a layer of frosting, sprinkling of crumbled cake and (if you are feeling extra playful) some gummy worms peeking out from the 'dirt'. Another fun idea is to simply make one giant ice cream sundae- in a large serving bowl put several scoops of strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate ice cream, add large broken up chunks of "mistake cake" , add some fudge and/or caramel sauces, and top with some whipped cream and a cherry.
"Mistake Cake" just might go over even better than that traditional tree layer one you had in mind. ; )


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