On Sunday, I lovingly baked a cake for our neighborhood’s annual picnic. It was a rare, picture perfect day in my home. The little guy napped when he was supposed to and my toddler girl, well, toddled around the kitchen while ‘helping’ me cook. On the same day I made potato soup. Seriously, two home-cooked things in one day? This never happens. Beautiful smells filled the home and I was feeling like a rock star.
What's more, I decorated the cake. I don’t decorate, like, ever. Decoration takes patience and precision. I have neither. But this was for the neighborhood, which translates to “a bunch of near strangers who are quietly judging your potluck offering, whether your kids are cute (mine are) and if your lawn needs mowing.” So I decorated. I baked the cake in a 9x13 pan, because layer cakes and potlucks just don’t mix. But still, I must say the cake was really pretty. Sadly, I don’t have a photo of the ‘before’ because I planned to photograph it on the table at the picnic, in the natural light and along with all the other communal foods. I’m sure you’re guessing by now that that didn’t happen. So picture a creamy white frosting smoothed across the top, bordered with rosettes around the perimeter and larger rosettes dotting the cake.
It was a gorgeous day. My family & I walked the four blocks to the lawn where it was being held, and I placed my offering on the table before getting our chairs and whatnot settled. Priorities in mind, I stood in line with my near three-year-old to get a fancy balloon from the balloon man. Afterward, I walked over to the cake table.
It had become a murder scene. A cake murder.
This is what I saw:
Seriously, people. This used to be a really pretty cake. And someone did this to it. I have several theories based on evidence at the scene of the cake crime:
- Someone tried to ‘slice’ it and upon finding no knife, used his/her thumbs.
- A little kid thought there was a buried treasure somewhere inside.
- A dog chewed up the entire cake and spit it back out into the pan.
I mean, who does this to a cake? Nobody was going near it, even though a good 75% of the offerings were store-bought, because my cake looked like someone already chewed it. Doesn’t matter that it was delicious (it was).
I spent the rest of the event pouting. This is where my husband would say, “Amanda, you pout about something daily.” And, erm, he’s a little bit right, but this was a pout-worthy event. In fact, I might even have cried a little (a lot) (okay, I sobbed) on the way home.
I mean, I never have time to bake any more. And here’s a whole cake, ruined.
In case you were wondering, the cake was a carrot pineapple spice cake with cream cheese butter cream frosting. It’s amazing. The cake recipe comes from this fine lady. The frosting recipe is my own: one package cream cheese, two sticks butter, 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, zest & a little juice of whatever’s around. I used lemon this time.
side note: it’s impossible to mess up a cake mix, which is why I love this book. Don’t hate. I make things from scratch all the time, but this is legitimately the best carrot cake I’ve ever had/made. I think it’s the prunes. Yes, prunes.
This post was originally going to be about the cake itself, as in, the recipe and why it’s delicious and why I make it often and how it’s usually a crowd pleaser. But now it’s a eulogy for my cake. RIP, cake.