GBF: Birthday Cake Gone Wrong

Europe, Recipes, Switzerland, The Good - The Bad - The Funny — By on March 23, 2012 11:59 PM

THE GOOD: My youngster of a boyfriend turned a year older!

For Thomas’ twenty-something birthday I thought it would be nice to make him his favorite cake … Black Forest.

Photo from Passionate about baking

In my efforts to make the most perfect Black Forest Cake, I scowered the internet for the best recipe. I stumbled upon the blog Passionate about Baking, the author provided a recipe adapted minimally from The Cake Bible, by Rose Beranbaums.

Rose Beranbaums version of the Black Forest Cake, a German Classic, was inspired by Confiserie Tschirren in Berne, Switzerland. They brought the recipe from Germany after World War II, and it has since become the national cake of Switzerland. In her words, the Swiss version is far lighter and more delicate than the original German one, which also includes buttercream.

I thought a leisurely day of baking a European born cake would be good fun and also a unique cultural experience.

THE BAD: The entire cake making process was much more difficult than I had imagined.

The first task was to translate the ingredients with the help of google, before heading to the grocery store.

puderzucker (powdered sugar), Eier (eggs), Vollrahm (heavy cream), Kirschen (cherries) …. to name a few.

At the grocery store, I could not locate Stärkemehl (cornflour). When I showed this word scribbled on a piece of paper to lady in the shop she looked very confused. She did not speak English, instead she enthusiastically nodded her head as she thrust a bag of Kartoffelstärk into my hands. My instincts told me this was not what I needed, but what did I know really?

Unable to find all the ingredients on my list, I went to a second shop. I also wanted a second opinion on the  Kartoffelstärk, “Is this the same as Stärkemehl?” I asked a girl seemingly in her 20’s (Thomas had suggested I ask younger people questions as most people in our generation speak English, a theory I have proven untrue). She too was puzzled by the word Stärkemehl, apparently Google translate got it wrong as this actually means “starch flour”.  She helped me find a bag of Maisstärk which is cornstarch, which she insisted is the same as cornflour?

After spending two hours procuring the ingredients for the cake … I returned home to begin baking. First, I had to convert the portions to the metric system. Next, I combined all the ingredients with a hand mixer, which was quite the workout. While the cakes baked, I attempted to make whipped cream but instead made butter after whipping too much. Luckily we had a bottle of whip cream in the fridge, not the same, but I hoped it would suffice.

I worked my way through the entire recipe, following the instructions, or so I thought …

THE FUNNY: My cake!

Kelly's Black Forest Cake

WHY??? WHAT WENT WRONG??? I still have no idea.

I showed Thomas the recipe and his first question was why the recipe did not call for baking powder?

At first I was quite disappointed, having a lopsided cake that was half the height it is suppose to be to show for my many hours of slaving away in the kitchen. The cake was suppose to be four layers; however, the two cakes turned out too thin for me to cut in half.

Thomas tried not to laugh as he choked down his first bite, saying “It is tasty but dense.” It’s the thought that counts he reminded me.

Eventually I just accepted the fact that I am probably not made out to be a baker. I am “by the seat of my skirt” girl after all and prefer following my instincts to directions … a recipe for disaster in a bakers world demanding precision.

So this weekend, I guess we will embrace the unexpected, and try our best to eat this um, special cake!

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  1. Dasha says:

    Hilarious. Love it!

  2. Lisa says:

    LMBO!!! Loved this one!! I was reminded of when we were young and you decided to “help” me and Bethann stir the chocolate cake in mom’s kitchen and ended up having it slung all over the place 🙂
    A special cake cooked by a ‘special’ girl! Love you and miss you. Lucky for you Thomas loves you to and now you know for sure its not for your cooking abilities.

    • Kelly says:

      haha! 🙂 i love that memory, too funny! i should have spent more time with you in the kitchen, you are definitely the baker of the family! Love you! X

  3. Lisa says:

    PS.. Jarod said “it does still look tasty though”

  4. DAVEO says:

    Hahaha ahhh sweety, its the thought that counts

    So funny

  5. Stacy says:

    hahaha…i have made cream into butter before too! Very easy to over-do it 🙂

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