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.
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.
I mean, how was I supposed to compete with that much butter?
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.)
And ladies, here is an indicator of true marital bliss. He did all his own dishes.
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.
But I had a secret weapon.
I melted and mixed and pureed.
I mean, how can you beat that color?
And there is just something about the word ganache.
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.
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.
The tension in the room was palpable as I willed my glaze to gloop down the sides just so.
And then with a final flourish of raspberries on mine and a sprinkling of sea salt on his, we surveyed our handiwork.
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.