The Great Cake Competition

So it’s almost Valentine’s day, and I thought I would change things up a bit in my cooking section, by posting a blow by blow account of the contest my hubby and I had against each other last weekend.  We were having a Valentine’s dinner/fundraiser at our church under the guise of a cake auction.  The hubby and I both decided to donate a cake, and the contest was just between the two of us to see who could get the highest bid- merely to make things a little more interesting for us, and of course, to increase marital harmony at home.

We hunted high and low for good recipes, but in the end, we both chose a cake from the same web-site-  http://www.annies-eats.com/.  I know from experience that her cakes not only look amazing, but taste fabulous as well.  The challenge, of course, would be to imitate them.  I was fairly confident that this contest would be a cake walk (pun intended) since, well, my hubby had never made a layer cake.  But a few minutes into the process, I could see that he meant business.

I mean- look at that towel over his shoulder, and the perfectly greased and floured cake pans.

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I had a few chances to snigger, like when I told him to be careful measuring cocoa powder because it can be very messy-DSCF1190

but once his cakes were in the oven and he started in like a pro on the salted caramel Swiss butter cream, I was starting to sweat.

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I mean, how was I supposed to compete with that much butter?

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I quickly checked my own recipe and was relieved to see that my recipe used just as much butter, if not more.

There were a few more hopeful moments, like when his caramel started to harden too quickly.  But he pulled off a spectacular buttercream and slathered it generously between the layers, ready to set in the fridge all night.
(notice his forethought as well.  He made himself a mini cake for sampling.)
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And ladies, here is an indicator of true marital bliss.  He did all his own dishes.

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The next morning, I was up bright and early.  It was my turn, and this was no longer a light-hearted affair.

I had decided on a chocolate cake as well.

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But I had a secret weapon.

Raspberries baby.

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I melted and mixed and pureed.

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I mean, how can you beat that color?

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And there is just something about the word ganache.

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It was touch and go for a while as I assembled the three layers.  But I remembered what my mother -a cake maker extraordinaire- had taught me at her knee, and I persevered.

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At last, mine was ready to set in the fridge for a bit as well.

Then it was the two of us together, as we neared the end, smoothing and scraping and adding the finishing touches.

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The tension in the room was palpable as I willed my glaze to gloop down the sides just so.

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And then with a final flourish of raspberries on mine and a sprinkling of sea salt on his, we surveyed our handiwork.

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Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera to the auction, and so I was unable to document the thrilling show down between our two cakes.  I have to admit the thing was rigged, since my cake went up last, and who was going to outbid a pink cake made by a lady who had just announced she was having a girl after four boys?  But it was a close thing, and made for a very memorable Valentine’s.  Now maybe this weekend we can go somewhere for cake and actually eat it too.

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One thought on “The Great Cake Competition

  1. Pingback: Cakes! | Climbing Vine

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