When I told my mum I was baking a cake with beetroot in it, she simply laughed at me. Shes a simple old soul who eats simple English grub. Her idea of being adventurous is eating a Dopiaza curry from the local Indian takeaway. She is also known to only order one of two meals when eating out - Steak, or Gammon, Egg & Chips!I suppose food has gotten a lot more adventurous over the years, but I assured her it was just llike putting carrot in a Carrot Cake - she still didn't sound too convinced.
I started out the day feeling creative, wanting to do some baking and sewing. My plan was to stay indoors in a haze of creativity, but that was shot by the need to venture out in the heavy rain to purchase some essential ingredients and supplies.It was not a good day to lose your umbrella. The walk into the city was not a pleasant one, and I never enjoy walking through the hoards of people who seem to dawdle around with their eyes shut or looking in the opposite way they are travelling in. Back at home, I cheered up at the prospect of making the cake. I even found myself singing a little song that seemed to burst out of nowhere - it went alond the lines of 'Lets make cake, lets make cake, lets make cake-a-cake-a-cake-cake-cake-cake' (sometimes I am even suprised at my own craziness)
But the joy of baking was pretty short lived when I embarked a disaster whilst melting four bars of plain chocolate in a Bain Marie.
First off, I stupidly used a bowl that was too small for the pan. Naturally the inevitable happened and the bowl kept falling to one side almost hitting the water. Stupidly I forgot that it was very hot due to sitting over a hot pan of water and preceded to burn my hands. Then, whilst wearing oven gloves and attempting to remove it, I dropped it and water from the pan got into the bowl of melted chocolate. Suddenly the gooey melted chocolate was turning hard. I looked to the internet for guidance and was told this was called 'Seizing'. 'That doesn't sound good' I thought to myself, but read on further to a section called 'How to salvage seized chocolate'. You would think with a title like that you would find a soloution to your problem of a bowl of solidfyed chocolate..but no, I was simply told, 'you cannot salvage it!
Having only bought four bars - the exact amount required for both the cake and the ganache topping, I realised I was buggered. By now the kitchen was in even more of a tip than its usual state when i'm baking. Grating beetroot is a messy business anyway, and then there was the chocolate, flour and various other messes across the worktops. I also had managed to use every bowl, pan and other kitchen item in the process. I mustered up the willpower to see through what I had now resigned to being a disatrous baking attempt. I used the chocolate supposed to be kept aside for the ganache (100gs less than required for the cake mix) Then I realised I was also supposed to use raw beetroot, whilst I had used cooked!
Still, the cake seemed to be taking an ok shape in the oven and a glimmer of hope came through. That was until I removed it from the oven and attempted to take it out of the tin. Cracks appeared everywhere, bits of the sides preceded to cave and fall off. I was tempted to through it up the wall by this point but soldiered on...
By now I was running late for the very reason I had made the cake. A meal with friends at one of their houses (the agreement being that he cook the main and I do the dessert) I rustled up a quick chocolate frosting as could no longer make the ganache and attempted to spread it on the collapsing cake.
That was even messier than the baking process, my fingers ending up caked in frosting as I attempted to push the falling sides back in place, hoping it would act as a sort of glue to the sponge! Finally it seemed to resemble a cake! Although how it would taste was still questionable.
After feasting on slow cooked pulled pork and playing with Pedro, my friends beautiful Ragdoll Kitten, the dreaded time came to serve up my disastrous dessert. I was cautious when cutting the cake as I thought it would collapse into a thousand pieces at the slightest touch. I told everyone I thought it was going to be a bit dry and that it would probably taste rubbish (they already seemed a bit worried about the special ingredient)
So I was unbelievable suprised when one of my friends began to tuck in an eclaimed, 'Oh my god, that is amazing, you really do make the best cakes EVER!!' Eager to witness myself, I tucked in, only to find the most delicate and deliciously moist sponge I have ever eaten. It was velvety and soft but also rich, with the beetroot adding a depth to it. The frosting I had rustled up had turned it into more of a Death By Chocolate Dessert, but overall it was a success! all my traumas of the day had paid off. My friend even took a piece home for her man.