Most people who love to bake will tell you that there is considerable joy in baking but what they don’t tell you is that from time to time there’s considerable frustration as well. As for me, I attach myself to the process so much that when I see a cake sink in the middle after taking it out of the oven, same happens to my heart.
This is the story of one such incident…it was my cousin Mushfiq’s birthday and I was baking a cake for him. A chocolate cake because he is a boy and statistics say 9 out of 10 boys love chocolate (but don’t quote me on that). So, all was going well, I took out the cake from the oven, cooled it in the pan for 5mins then turned it out onto a plate. After admiring how nicely it had risen I left it too cool and went on to prepare a chocolate-orange frosting. When I came back to the cake, ready to frost it, it was a totally different scene in front of my eyes. To my horror I saw that the cake had totally collapsed!
It was around 7pm,so I neither had the time nor the ingredients to bake another cake. If this was any other day, I would’ve given up but that day I couldn’t, I wouldn’t, because this poor kid was looking forward, all day, to the cake his elder sister was making for him and this elder sister was NOT going to let him down.
I raked my brains for some inspiration and found it! I was going to turn this disaster of a cake into cake pops. I smushed up the rest of the cake, mixed in some frosting to make it easier to roll and using my hands made one little round cake pop. Now, I did not have cake pop sticks (which are basically lollipop sticks) on hand but I did have toothpicks so I hoped against hope that those would work. But of course it didn’t, I inserted one toothpick into that cake pop and immediately realized that these thin sticks won’t hold the weight of the pops even for a second.
There came my second bout of panic. I was thinking to myself maybe I’ll pass them on as chocolate laddoos, that works right? naah that would be lame. Mushfiq deserves better than a make-shift dessert.
Then, finally, it clicked, I knew Mushfiq was as much a resourceful kid as he was naughty, he always liked to collect the most random bits and bobs and I remembered seeing him keep all the lolly sticks from a carton of lolly ice cream we had at home a few days back (yes we are a big enough family to consume a whole carton of lolly icecream). Turns out I was right. To my relief, he came back and handed me a bunch of clean lolly sticks neatly tied together with a rubber band.
Seeing his eagerness to help out, for the last part I got him involved in the process, so he, two of my other cousins and I then made the rest of the cake pops, rolled them into frosting, decorated them with sprinkles and put them on lolly sticks. We freezed them till the frosting was set and the final result was wonderful! Mushfiq loved them so much that he even took some cake pops for his friends at school the next day.
So yes, disaster was averted and happiness delivered!
Random takeaway: Smushing cakes can be a good stress-buster. I’d know because, that cake pop idea might…. have.. come from me wanting to just punch the cake out of frustration. O:)