Tag Archives: food fail

Daring Baker’s Challenge = quasifail

27 Aug

The August 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful of Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers’ cookbook Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Caffés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

This challenge was a fail for me, with no fault to the hosts. I was a bit hesitant about this challenge, because it was going to be difficult to veganize. The cake layer calls for 6 eggs and I haven’t had much luck with vegan sponge cake. The toffee topping was another challenge altogether. I am the champion ruiner (an actual title in our home) of several things, and anything related to making stove top candy falls into that category.

Here goes…

I wanted to make a little cake, so rather than baking 6 individual layers, I made a large, thin sheet cake and cut out 6 5 inch circles.


My spongecake came out very not spongeworthy (haha!). Rather, it was dense and rubbery. Silken tofu was not my friend this round. Oops.

I made my own chocolate buttercream, as the one called for used eggs. The top wedges were supposed to be dipped in a beautiful amber colored toffee that would rapidly harden. I was all prepared with my oiled offset spatula and parchment… and it failed. Light colored, wouldn’t harden. And this isn’t the first time I’ve run into this. Here is my question: could it be organic sugar? Back before we were veg (which also coincides with before we cared about what we put in our bodies), I never had problems caramelizing regular crap sugar. What could it be?

For what it’s worth, here are the pictures.


The whole minicake, topped with not-amber not-hardening sticky wedges. 😦


And inside shot of all of the layers. Well, it kind of looks like it’s supposed to… kind of. Better luck next month!

sad füd

11 Aug

So, I heard the good news today that my book has shipped from the printers to the distribution warehouse, so it should be only about 2 more weeks. Yay! I’m very excited about this.

Sometimes meals, no matter how promising, fall short of your expectations. The following post is a lesson in unexpected food fails.

Exhibit A:


Look at these beautiful baby artichokes. I didn’t even know such a thing existed. I fell in love with the brilliant colors, and when the vendor told me how easy they were to make, I was sold. No steaming and choke-scraping, just peel back a couple of layers, trim the tops, saute and viola!


So pretty!


Here they are, sauteed with some garlic, olive oil and kalamata olives (to give them that familiar briney taste from jarred artichokes). In the background, some black bean patties from Macheesmo (they actually held together- horrah!), topped with mushrooms and some yellow cherry tomatoes and blueberries on the side. Each step in preparing the artichokes was a lesson in the art of nature. I eagerly bit into my first one and…

Blech. Chewy, tough on the edges and flavorless. Oh well, can’t win them all.

Exhibit B:


Here, I tried to replicate my favorite treat from Blossoming Lotus– maple smoked tempeh… yeah, not so much. But it was edible. I don’t know what it is, I love tempeh at restaurants, but it always falls short at home. The requisite brussel sprouts and a quinoa pilaf, with chopped bell pepper, onion and chopped green beans filled out the meal. I added a can of chickpeas to the leftover pilaf and it made for some great lunch leftovers.

But, meals that flop can all be remedied with a good ol’ slice of cake.

Exhibit C:


I’m much better with a bag of icing to pipe, then writing with melted chocolate. Alas, my sad attempt at Ringo’s drum kit.

Yeah, once I realized how bad it was going I gave up. I was working from memory and would have been aided by looking at the cake. I also had a little melted chocolate explosion that kept me from filling in the letters. Oh well, the Yellow Submarine Cake was a good enough ode to The Beatles.


Besides, we all know it’s what it tastes like that really matters. My standby cake is the chocolate cake from my German Chocolate Cake recipe in the cookbook. I added some chocolate chips for extra chocolatey goodness. Between the two layers, I spread a thin layer of straight up peanut butter and then a portion of vanilla buttercream icing that I’d added some peanut butter to. I frosted it with the remaining vanilla buttercream and ruined it, I mean, wrote on it with melted chocolate. So nommy… I’m such a sucker for chocolate and peanut butter. This cake was for my brother’s 15th birthday. He is visiting us and he’s also a huge Beatles fan and a lover of chocolate and peanut butter. He’s also appearing in the new Cohen brother’s movie coming out this fall! How cool is that, his first movie and it’s a Cohen brother’s flick! Granted, he has no lines, but he filmed for several days and a scene that he was an extra in is in the trailer. Pretty sweet…