Icing Sugar Cloud

That "pfft" of icing sugar that covers every surface in your kitchen. It happens to the best of us…

My Baking Break Up


Its happened to us all.  We’ve been there, pootling along with our tried and true recipes when one day, BOOM! Disaster strikes.  The recipe which offered such promise is a complete fucking failure.  How?  How?!  I had my oven thermometer and everything!  I even followed the arsing instructions, for crying out loud.  It was like an unexpected break up.  You think things are fine.  You trust someone.  And then, like a bolt from the blue, your cake world implodes.  I put my heart in your hands and my cake in the oven. I TRUSTED YOU AND YOU BETRAYED ME, YOU BASTARD.  You begin to doubt yourself.  Was it me?  What did I do wrong?  Then doubt turns to shame.  I’m so useless.  I can’t even follow a sodding recipe.  Shame becomes anger.  It must be them.  They must’ve made a mistake.  I did everything they ever asked.  How could they do this to me?!  My hopes and dreams are dashed. Now I have nothing.  No cake.  No cake ever again.


Apologies for the dodgy iPhone picture of the cake but I’m currently having some issues with my digital camera, by which I mean I can’t find the damn thing (but that’s a whole other rant).

I had such high hopes.  The last time I tried something new, it turned out to be such a waste.  A waste of time, money and energy.  I thought David and David of Outsider Tart would teach me to trust again.  Good-looking book, great reviews, personal recommendation.  This is the one, surely?  I’ve fallen afoul of the bad boy of the baking world before, namely The Hummingbird Bakery cookbooks.  Notorious.  Its got the looks, oh my, it’s a looker.  And the gift of the gab.  It seems to have so much to offer, showing you how life could be with its glossy pictures and delectable sounding bakes.  But it fails to deliver.  The crushing disappointment.  The soul destroying waste.  You bastard.

Off I trot to the kitchen, with my 6 eggs and unbelievable quantities of sugar, butter, flour and cream cheese, filled with cautious hope and a good helphing of excitement.  I follow the recipe to the letter.  This is unusual for me, as I generally think my ways to be better, but not today.  I lay myself at the mercy of the David, and their ‘Tisha’s Two Cents’ pound cake and my trusty Nordic Ware festive Bundt tin.  Unfortunately, I think I should have followed my instincts in this instance though… But yes, the cake.  Into the oven it goes, delicious tasting batter unceremoniously licked from the spoon (and beater, and bowl – you get the idea).  I’m feeling more confident, now that I’ve eaten obscene amounts of raw batter.  I impatiently wait the requisite 75-90 minutes.  Do the prod test and the skewer test.  Seems to be cooked, according to these tests but I am uncertain.  I don’t think its ready.  I don’t know why, I just don’t.  Doubt has crept back in.  I leave it another 10 minutes or so.  Think ‘Great-British-Bake-Off-sat-on-floor-nose-to-oven’ type waiting, except I have slate flooring in my kitchen, so it was more of the ‘standing-in-the-kitchen-drinking-a-glass-of-wine’ variety.  We’ve all been there!  I take it out of the oven, still trepidatious.  I leave it too cool in the tin, as per the instructions.  This took restraint of super-human proportions, I’m not going to lie.  Cake cooled, I inspect it closely before attempting to turn it out.  I have flying crust! The top was cooked but I spy a massive gap all around!  What happened?

I’ll tell you want happened: the fecker wasn’t cooked.   Still raw in the middle.  Yup.  I was right.  The outside of the cake cooked but because I took it out of the oven underbaked, the uncooked portion sank.  Result?  A huge gap between the majority of the cake and the aforementioned flying crust.  Bollocks.

I don’t have a picture of the wreck.  I couldn’t bring myself to photograph it.  It was too sad.  Why would I want a permanent reminder of my failings?  Also, I didn’t think about blogging about it until a few days after said incident.

I tried again the following day.  I had to make this one work, otherwise all hope is lost.  I will make this fucking cake if it kills me.  I only did 2/3 of the recipe this time.  Same tin.  Same oven thermometer.  It was a success!!  Well, that may be a slight exaggeration.  It was edible.  Still seemed a bit undercooked to me.  Tasted amazing though.  Well, why wouldn’t it?  There was a pound of sugar in the fecking thing!

Please feel free to share your baking disasters with me.  Please!  It’ll make me feel better, after all, misery loves company.

Happy New Year!

For those of you that are interested, this is the book I used: ‘Baked in America’ by Outsider Tart (here – http://www.outsidertart.com/our-cookbook/).  I will be baking from this book again but also listening to my instincts!


18 thoughts on “My Baking Break Up

  1. Aw, bless, so refreshing to read your post though! Look forward to more…

  2. Really enjoyed reading your post! Cake disasters happen to us all, but I’m glad the second attempt worked better!

    I look forward to reading more!


  3. Interesting – I’ve had issues with recipes in the Hummingbird book as well, so I don’t think it’s you. Glad you can see the humour in the situation!

    • I’ve since discovered that loads of people had issues with Hummingbird. Very reassuring! But this “Baked in America” has had good recipe reviews. Whoops!! 🙂

  4. This totally reminds me of my giant cupcake fail. Two massive sunken holes in middle of both sides. Tin has been hidden at back of cupboard since. Maybe it’s time to re-challenge….

  5. Loved your post. So glad I’m not the only one to have fallen foul of The Hummingbird Bakery either. Am still scarred by the mount vesuvius of cake explosions that was their blueberry cake!

    • I can’t actually believe it keeps selling when apparently none of the recipes work in a domestic kitchen! Its such a shame because I was so tempted by making that blueberry cake. I definitely won’t try it now though 🙂

  6. Great post! I had a good read!

  7. Enjoyed reading and glad to know I’m not the only one to have breakdowns after following a recipe to the letter. (Pumpkin pie – Anthony Worrall-Thompson)

    Just bought Hummingbird Cake book with some Christmas money as had different (and boozy) recipes. Not baked from it yet but really getting worried now.

    • I’d maybe do a bit of googling to get some idea whether the recipe will work or not. I can tell you that the black bottom cupcakes = disaster and strawberry milkshake cupcake = inedible. Let me know how you get on though!

  8. Ha, love it 😊 cheered me up to know I aren’t alone with the baking disasters. Look forward to read your next post xx

  9. Good to know I’m not alone! My Hummingbird failure was chocolate cupcakes. Bleugh! Great post. Look forward to reading your next one. 🙂

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