Monday, December 26, 2011

Sub-Cake or where I pretend that I can bake

It is Chanukah, so naturally I am blogging about Sukkot, when I took the whole 9 days off, we had our own sukkah this year and had been expecting friends over for dinner.  Suddenly I found myself in an unusual position of being able to experiment with food and having volunteers to be experimented on.  (Unlike my family, guests couldn't opt for cream cheese sandwiches at the sight of unknown food.)  It was a perfect opportunity to try Suburban Correspondent's upside down cranberry cake.  It had everything I was looking for in a recipe:  it was easy; it came highly recommended; it had cranberries in it; and being from Suburban Correspondent, it had a potential for good blogging fodder.

Honestly, I don't know why I keep bothering with the last requirement.  Firstly, life keeps on throwing blogging fodder my way ALL THE TIME.  Fodder that would make you laugh, cry or remain uninterested - I have it all in my life.  If only I blogged about it.  Which would be, "secondly." Probably because I have so much fodder thrown my way, I can't find time or energy to produce a readable blog entry.  Actually, any entry.

But there it was, in all of its perfection - easy, tasty, cranberry-filled cake with high potential for blogging fodder.  I was sold.  That night, after I made three gazillion side dishes, soup, main course or two and a super hot pepper dip, it was finally time for cake baking.  SubHub, exhausted from watching me cook all night, slowly made his way into the kitchen only to restart the conversation we have been having for the past 8 years.

"Wow, what a mess."  "Yeah, I know.  I am almost done," I replied.  Then SunHub followed with a friendly suggestion I heard only three hundred times before, "Why don't you clean up as you go along instead of leaving it till the end when you are so tired?" "The counters ARE clean," I countered.   I'll spare you the details of this dialog because it deserves a post, if not a book, of its own.  That time it ended with SubHub taking a mercy on his hapless wife and washing a few pots and pans.  And, as the genre would require it, SubHub went off into the sunset feeling he had performed his duty and saved him damsel in distress.

The next day I, after the guests at SubCasa were souped and main coursed, was about to serve the dessert.  Fortunately, I had enough sense to try the cake before experimenting on my guests serving it.   The first cranberry I tried tasted a bit off.  "Wow," I thought, "those are some spicy cranberries."  This phrase was also off, so I repeated it again and again in my brain before finally realizing how crazy it sounded.  Spicy cranberries?  I took a big bite of the cake and felt my mouth on fire.  To my credit, I must say I never blamed the recipe or Suburban Correspondent.  Or SubHub, even though everything  that goes wrong is his fault. Unfortunately, not that time.  I had no one but myself to blame.  I tried to retrace my steps on the night of baking.  The only logical explanation I had was that the knife I had used for cutting up very spicy peppers for the dip was also used for cutting up margarine for the cake.  I knew I washed it, with soap, but apparently that wasn't enough to get rid of their aftertaste.

So I went in, fessed up to everyone who would listen, from the guests to the neighbors, about the importance of cleaning the knives after very spicy peppers.  We had a good laugh, at my expense, ate jello or lollypops or equally horrific backup dessert, some of the guests probably vowed to never eat in my house because I couldn't even wash my cooking knives properly.  

A few days later SubHub, while chowing on the very spicy cranberry cake, fessed up that during the clean up time he found a small quantity of unidentified goop on the otherwise clean counter, right next to the pan with the cake, so he just threw it in the pan thinking it was dough, or lemon peel, or something that truly belonged in the cake.   Which we now, of course know, to be the ground up super duper spicy peppers. "It's not even that spicy, I don't know what all the fuss is about," said the man who finds jalapeno peppers mild.

And I learned several valuable lessons, the most important of them that it is always husband's fault.  Even if all the evidence points in another direction.


  1. Oh, wow - we now have a jalapeno variation for the cake recipe. Maybe I'll try that next year.

  2. Well, those actually weren't jalapenos, but some other extra-spicy peppers available only few weeks a year kind that burn your skin upon touch. So I wouldn't recommend. I couldn't taste the cake where the goop was dropped. On the other hand, if you have a burn your mouth spicy food lover like SubHub, it might be worth it :)


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