Monday, January 14, 2008

Cake Wars: Attack Of The Cupcake

It was all going so well in the kitchen. Saturday morning, I woke up bright and early, and skipped down to town to buy some veggies from the local grocery store, then happily bounced my way to the bookstore. Browsing through the cookbooks, to my delight, I spotted a single copy of Vegan With A Vengeance - I snapped it up lovingly, and carried on walking gleefully around town.

Flicking through my shiny new cookbook for ideas of things to cook, (and the ingredients I would need to buy), I decided on scrambled tofu for lunch, also then saw the recipe for Blueberry Coffee Cake, which sounded so delicious that I would have to make it immediately! So I set off to buy the things I would need.

Scrambled tofu is pretty hard to get wrong. Even frying tofu, mushrooms and onions with a bit of tamari tastes pretty good, so I wasn't surprised that my first dish from the cookbook was quite good.

Scrambled Tofu with Toast

Afterwards, it was cake time. Flour...measure...soya milk, ok...soya yogurt, check. All was going well. Baking powder...seems like a lot, but ok....check. I filled my cake tin with the mixture. Hmm, seemed pretty full, but it wasn't going anywhere. I proceeded to make the walnut topping....but something was wrong. I had created my breadcrumbs, and was ready to add the walnuts, but the ratio of breadcrumbs to walnuts seemed very wrong. I had almost a full cereal bowl of breadcrumbs, and only a handful of nuts. In the back of my mind, I knew something was definitely amiss, but I carried on, and put the finished cake into the oven.

And waited. 45 minutes later, I came back to my cake, as instructed, toothpick at the ready, but to my horror...

Baking cake disaster cake had grown into a giant muffin!

Reeling from the sight of such a monstrosity, I slowly edged forwards and probed it with my stick. The stick vanished into the cake with no effort at all, and when I pulled it out, some of the doughy cake monster was still attached, topping and all. Radical action had to be taken - I whacked the temperature up as high as it would go, in an attempt to petrify the beast. Another 20 minutes of probing, and finally it was done. The topping was charred and my nice expensive walnuts had been reduced to ash. The ones that had managed to survive the incineration, buried beneath the floury rubble on top of the cake tasted like popcorn.

Upside-down giant cupcake?

What had gone wrong? I immediately consulted the PPK forums for answers. It turns out that Americans don't use the same sized spoons as the British. Maybe because we drink so much tea, its more efficient to use a bigger teaspoon, I don't know. And the tablespoons I grew up with were more like serving spoons, akin to a ladle. Either way, I think I must have put waaaaaaay too much baking powder in it, as it tasted kinda salty...

Today, on the top of my list of things to do was to go to the cooking store and buy a new "tool"


Hopefully I will be able to measure out American quantities with confidence now (better stop using my mug to measure out cups as well I guess).

I'd like to say that I'll be getting straight back onto the baking wagon, but first I've got a giant 10 kilo blueberry flavoured cupcake to get through.

A slice of the action


Rage And Love said...


Sorry to laugh...but if there was a muffin actually that size that would be a dream come true for me :-)

But, I have tried the Blueberry Coffee Cake and that is good shit.

My favorite recipe of all is the Chocolate Raspberry Cake with Ganache-y Frosting. Check that out if you've got the time.

vegetalion said...

this post is HILARIOUS.

I lived in london for a few months and couldn't find a (n affordable) set of american-style measuring spoons, so I winged it with every recipe. had some near disasters, but nothing like that giagantic muffincake!

Ruby Red Vegan said...

Oh goodness, thank you, thank you very much for entertaining me! I am so sorry to hear about your baking mishap, but it did at least make for an exciting post! Is it sad that I think your giant blueberry cupcake still looks kinda yummy?

Scrambled Tofu was the first recipe I made from Vegan With a Vengeance, also (except I used cubed tempeh) and I know what you mean, it's so encouraging that the first try is successful!

Cakespy said...

Just put a huge chunk of that massive muffin in a padded mailer and send it to me. I will eat it with a spoon.

Seitan W├Ârshipper said...

That enormous cake looks still tasty, allso if it`s not the prettiest kind of baking ;) Nice story, I think I`m not a good with making cakes so I have had lots of those kind of "cooking oddities" happened in my kitchen.

But your tofu-scramble looks so mouthwatering! I maybe going to make some scramble for myself!

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

I love the presentation of the scrambled tofu... and LOL that giant muffin/cake is too funny! Too bad it didn't taste too great, because it certainly looks like you have a lot of it!

Anonymous said...

That is a HUGE muffin! Wow... I applaud your efforts. It must've been delicious. Mmm...