Accidents Happen in The Kitchen: Some of My Healthy Baking Blunders
Things don’t always go according to plan in the kitchen. Things get burnt, fall apart, collapse, taste weird, get lumpy and sometimes, even catch fire.
I love cooking and baking, and started experimenting in the kitchen and trying healthy recipes when I was ten years old. It is safe to say that I have my fair share of disasters and today, I thought I would share a few of my stories.
The Flaming Microwave Cake
When I was in high school, whenever a guy would come and visit, I liked to bake something. As the wise Cher said in the movie “Clueless”: “Whenever a boy comes, you should always have something baking.”
I remember this one time that I planned a get together with a few friends. One of the guys who came over had bought tickets to a Lil Wayne concert and wanted to take me, but my parents wanted to meet him before they would allow me to go with him, since the concert was an hour’s drive away.
I wasn’t sure if I liked him, but my friend and his friend also came over at least. I decided that I was going to bake them cupcakes. Everything went well, I thought, until the cupcakes went into the oven. For some reason, they would not cook properly, and it was a complete mess.
I could not serve them and decided that I would go to the store to buy plain cupcakes that I could just decorate myself. But before I did that, I scraped the uncooked cupcake batter into a bowl. I thought I could quickly finish it off in the microwave, but unfortunately, it caught fire. I managed to pull it out of the microwave just in time, but it ended up landing on the kitchen floor, burning it in the process. That black mark stayed on the kitchen floor for years.
The microwave flame cake also kept relighting every time I thought that it had died out, so I carefully picked up the bowl and took it out into the garden, where I buried it in the ground to smother it. I still remember seeing smoke coming through the ground for like a minute afterwards.
I will never forget how the kitchen smelled for the rest of the day. It was bad.
Okay, so this was an epic failure, but I was still determined to offer my guests some dessert, so I walked to the closest store, bought some undecorated cupcakes, took them home to decorate, and just before eating them, I realised that the cupcakes had actually gone bad. My guests had to just be satisfied with the pieces of candy that were on top of the cupcakes.
I never ended up going to that Lil Wayne concert though. My parents did say it would be okay if I went with him, but I knew he wanted to be in a relationship, and I did not. I did not want to lead him on and give him false hope by being his date to a concert.
I am not sure what I was supposed to learn from the experience, but now I want a cupcake. Here is another quick story about how things can go wrong in the kitchen:
The Pineapple and Jelly Cooking Competition Lesson
Back when I still had dreams of becoming a chef, I was delighted when a teacher told me that she had entered a friend and I into a cooking competition. Our school had a history of winning this particular competition. On the day, we planned our meals and had to write them down to give to the judges before we even started cooking. The end result had to be what you wrote down before you even began cooking.
I overshot and was way too ambitious by attempting to make these chocolate cups that I had never practised before. They broke and my fancy chocolate cups turned into a pile of broken chocolate pieces.
My friend also wanted to make a jelly that contained fresh fruit. This was the most stubborn jelly in history, and we could not understand why it would not set. Just before we ran out of time, I panicked, scooped-out the fruit, put them in a pan with sugar, just to caramelise a little, and tried to sell them off as candied fruit.
While they were announcing the winners, the judges called us out in front of everybody and said that the dessert they received was not anything close to what was promised. We went home disappointed and embarrassed, but I did get free socks and ramekins that day.
The next Monday at school, the teacher told us that you cannot put raw pineapple in a jelly because the enzyme that it contains, known as bromelain, actually breaks down the protein in the gelatin that is meant to help set the jelly. You need to blanch the pineapple first!