Saturday, August 29, 2015


You’re probably thinking, “uh, yes, Stuart, that is indeed a cake.”

But, you see, it’s not just any cake. It’s my first cake from scratch. You’d think that with all the cooking I do, this milestone would have been reached a long time ago. But it wasn’t. Growing up, I always heard how difficult it was to make a cake from scratch (or at least not worth it when boxed mixes were readily available). However, I’ve been spoiled by those around me baking their cakes from scratch, which means I realized that there’s an additional component to the boxed cake mix flavor profile: chemical.

So, what to do? Conquer those fears and learn how to do it! Oh, and sign up to bake the cake for a coworker’s retirement party, because a one-and-a-half week deadline tends to motivate me quite well. He requested a white cake with chocolate frosting. So, a white cake it is.

Of course, I go to my first reference, The Joy of Cooking, and open to Cakes and Cupcakes. What I love about this cookbook is the About [insert category name of what you are cooking] lessons before the recipes in each section. In this case, it’s five pages. Oh, dear. Now I’m really getting worried. Oh, but at least there are two more pages of About High-Altitude Cake Baking, which is good, because living at 4700 feet above sea level puts me in that category. But then it starts with, “Cakes baked at high altitudes are subject to pixielike variations that often defy general rules. … The only real rule is, alas, that there is no rule.” and I begin to think I’m doomed again. But, and here’s another reason I love The Joy, there follows a collection of the sea-level recipes modified for high altitude cooking, complete with modifications for 5000, 7000, and 10,000 feet.

Anyroad, above you see that my High-Altitude Two-Egg Cake from last weekend wasn’t a complete and utter disaster as I feared. In fact, I’d even venture to say that it was a complete and utter success. My experimental test subjects fellow church members at Sunday potluck seem to have agreed. Yay! Cake baking fears banished! Press on to baking tasty things!