Sunday, October 18, 2009

Having Your Cake

Cake? Cake?! Did someone say, "Cake"??!!

I love cake. My Twitter friend MuchAdo1 has even written about my special affection for cake in her blog.

Of course, anybody who knows me knows I love sweets in general, but I reserve a special place in my heart and in my stomach for cake. There is something about its velvety goodness that not only tempts the taste buds, but settles the stomach. Let's face it: the best part of a wedding is the cake. Even the word "wedding" looks and sounds like "cake" to me. Similarly, birthday presents are great, but the best part of a birthday is - you guessed it - cake. Like "wedding," "birthday" equals "cake" in my world.

The texture of a cake has to be just right. Not too dry, and not too moist. There must be a certain weight to the structure of the cake so it has some substance. Yet there must be a lightness that allows me to forget about chewing and simply let the spongy, fluffy goodness melt in my mouth. This is one reason I detest having foreign matter in my cake. It makes it very difficult for cake to melt smoothly in my mouth when obstacles like nuts, fruit, or coconut stand in the way. They are intrusive interlopers that have no place in a perfect cake.

The requirements that I have of my cake are exacting because they are what make cake the perfect delivery vehicle for frosting. The cake and the frosting combine to create a sugary bliss of taste and texture that can be achieved by no other dessert. The more frosting, the better, as far as I'm concerned. Layer it on thick! As delicious as cake is by itself, it attains its highest calling as a method of transporting frosting from the fork to the mouth.

And, of course, the frosting has to be the right kind. None of that wimpy stuff that resembles Cool Whip for me. And fondant? Bleah! Don't even come near me with it! Yet while a good, heavy ganache or torte frosting is nice once in a while, give me an old-fashioned buttercream frosting or the lovely sweetness Duncan Hines puts in a can. And for the love of all that's edible, don't put any of the aforementioned foreign matter in my frosting, either! A nice, smooth frosting piled thickly on a great cake is melt-in-your-mouth heaven. What else could I possibly need?

Naturally, the frosting between layers of cake should be at least as thick as the frosting on top. Thin, skimpy crumb coats are for wusses! I also find it an unfortunate trend that many commercial bakeries are going to a fruit filling between layers instead of the substance God intended – MORE FROSTING! Fruit filling between layers qualifies as more of that foreign matter I mentioned previously. It stabs a sharp dagger of intense fruitiness between the ribs of the otherwise-smoothly flavored cake that delivers a fatal blow to the whole cake-consuming experience. If I am unfortunate enough to be served such a piece of cake, I will scrape out the offending fruit filling before dining on the deserving part of the cake.

But let us rid our minds of such horrors. I prefer to think instead upon a smooth, velvety cake with piles of sweet buttercream frosting. A great cake built to my high standards is heaven on a plate and ecstasy in your mouth. I am sure to have lots of it at the next wedding or birthday party I attend. If you see me there, be sure to cut me a corner piece with lots of frosting on it. Meanwhile, I have some baking to do.


Shirley Bruce said...

I must agree. I don't want anything in my cake. Sliced strawberries belong in strawberry pie, pecans only belong in pecan pie. Leave my cake alone and let it be what it was intended to be. :-)

Suzie B. said...

Very nice, and very informative. I now understand why you like cake so much and what it is you like about it.

I have a theory about a preference for frosting vs. other fillings: I don’t like cake all that much, and maybe one reason I like fruit fillings and other things (like that gooey coconut stuff in German chocolate cake) is precisely that they make the cake less cake-like and more like stuff I really like.

I have a fat tooth more than a sweet tooth, and I love pie (for its short pastry) and mousses (preferably with no egg whites--just lots of whipped cream). Cake is generally insufficiently fat and moist for me, so I welcome something more like pie filling in a cake, or something very rich or moist, such as whipped cream or custard filling, between the layers.

So maybe the true cake lovers like their cakes pure, while those who would rather be eating something else prefer their cakes to be more like something else.

Just a thought.