“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way.” - William Blake
A new Capitol Hill Times column – send us your questions!
by Nicole Lisson
- The Capitol Hill Times -
Last night around midnight, as I watched the credits roll of “You’ve Got Mail,” a chocolate craving hit me so hard that I stumbled out of bed and into the kitchen. With a balled up tissue in one hand, I scoured the cabinets for anything remotely chocolate flavored. Unfortunately, the only thing I had was cocoa powder, which would be gross dry, but don’t think for a second I didn’t consider it.
When a craving strikes, it doesn’t back down until you satisfy it, and my craving was itching for a fix. So I did what any sane person would do at a quarter to one in the morning. I laid out the ingredients for a two-tiered, one bowl, chocolate cake with fudge frosting. Go big or go home, right? I poured the batter into two 8-inch cake pans and waited an excruciating hour for the bell to ding. When it finally did, I pulled open the oven and inhaled the intoxicating scent of butter and dark chocolate. It made my mouth water.
Setting the cake pans on the counter, I started on the frosting. When the icing was done, I checked to see if the layers had cooled. If you frost a cake while it’s still warm, the frosting will melt, morphing the awesome cake of your dreams into a big mess. Now here comes the part where all your hard work can come to die: turning the cakes onto a cooling rack. I ran a knife around the edges and turned the pans upside down. Nothing happened. Much to my dismay, my chocolate cakes were glued to the bottom. A few calming breath’s later I tapped the pans on the edge of the countertop. When that didn’t work, I smacked them against the countertop.
“All I wanted was some damn chocolate cake,” I growled to myself in frustration, ready to throw the whole thing out the window.
By just about 2 a.m., I resolved to stick a spatula under the cake and butcher it to pieces. Dumping the scraps into the bowl of frosting, I fulfilled my chocolate craving and went to bed with a stomachache.
Kitchen disasters are not uncommon. Through this bi-weekly column, you will be able to learn from my mistakes and discover how to avoid many of them. I am not a trained chef nor am I a culinary wizard. What I am though, is an avid home cook who through trial and error has taught myself the basics. There is still plenty to learn though and I would love for you, my dear readers, to take this journey with me.
First up on Kitchen Conundrums is how to prevent your cake from sticking to a pan.
Step One: Do not try to attempt to make a cake after watching a tear jerking romantic comedy. High on love, your thoughts will be scattered and directions will not be followed.
Step Two: Grease the inside of the pan with your left over butter wrapper. Get every nook and cranny; you want it to be shiny with butter.
Step Three: This is where you’re 2nd grade art skills will come in handy. Trace the bottom of the pan onto cooking parchment paper and with a sharp pair of scissors, not kid scissors, because you are a grown up now, cut out the outline then place it inside the pan.
Step Four: Give the sides of the pan a second grease up with butter to ensure nothing is going to stick and that the parchment is nice and stuck to the bottom.
Step Five: Sprinkle with flour and swirl it all around until the pan is completely covered. Pour the batter into the greased, floured pan and bake.
That’s it boys and girls! We have tackled our first kitchen conundrum together. We only have another billon or so cooking disasters to overcome. So tie on your apron, grab a glass of wine and get dirty with me. Wait! That sounded wrong. You know what I mean though, flour and all that. Please feel free to submit your own kitchen conundrums to email@example.com and we will figure out how to conquer the kitchen together.