It all started last fall when my soon-to-be daughter-in-law...
|Less than four weeks until the wedding!|
Around here, when someone moves it's all hands on deck! My dear friend, Vonda, wasn't able to help that day, but she made this to-die-for coffee cake for the workers.
It was fabulous, so (of course) I asked for the recipe. Would you believe she got it from the Pioneer Woman website? Of course she did. All of those recipes are fabulous. :)
(By the way, the link takes you to the Pioneer Woman's home page. I did that on purpose so you can browse if you've never been there before. If you want to go straight to the non-fail version of the Best Coffee Cake. Ever., follow this link: recipe)
So fast forward to last Wednesday. The day of errors.
First of all, the weather was bad and getting worse. Cold to the bone and getting colder, spits of snow, ice on the roads...and our Bible study group was supposed to meet at our home.
Which meant I got to bake a dessert! Woo-hoo! I had been waiting for an excuse to try this recipe!
So let's take a break from the sad story, and I'll give you the recipe:
The Best Coffee Cake. Ever.
from the Pioneer Woman website, adjusted a bit by Jan
ingredients for the cake:
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups whole milk
3 egg whites, beaten until stiff
(Topping ingredients are below.)
So there's the cake. Easy, right?
I measured my dry ingredients into a mixing bowl (not the one that comes with your mixer.)
I separated my eggs. Sadly, this is a permanent separation. The egg yolks were added to the dog's food for a yummy, nutritious treat.
My butter was softened and waiting in my mixing bowl. I added the 2 cups of sugar and beat them together until they were fluffy.
Okay. So far so good.
Because this is a cake, the next step is to beat the flour mixture and the milk into the butter/sugar mixture, alternating about 1/3 of each and beating after each addition.
But I had forgotten to check the milk. The fridge was empty. It was gone. Someone (Benjamin) had taken the last of it with him to work that morning.
So I figured I would substitute. After all, my pantry is well stocked, right?
It wasn't until later - much later - that I remembered that you should dilute evaporated milk according to the directions on the can. I put it in as-is.
Remember, as I'm making this I'm expecting company in a few hours, and I still have to vacuum the living room!
The next thing was to fold in the egg whites. But, alas, I hadn't beaten them to form stiff peaks yet! So the rest of the batter (with the baking powder doing what baking powder does) sat in the mixing bowl while I got out my trusty rotary beater and beat the egg whites.
You may read a magazine while you wait.
FINALLY, I was able to fold in those egg whites.
Except that I missed a little phrase in the Pioneer Woman's recipe: "The batter will seem a little stiff when you start folding, but before long the consistency will be just perfect." I stopped folding too soon.
Let's soldier on.
In the Pioneer Woman's recipe, she says you should bake this in a cake pan with high sides...or something like that. So I quickly got out my new 10.5"x15" baking dish and greased it up. I spread my too-stiff batter on the bottom and turned to the next step in the recipe.
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 Tablespoons cinnamon
1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped
Sounds like heaven, right?
Except that during my Christmas baking spree(s), I happened to use up all of the brown sugar.
No problem, right? I know that I can substitute 1 cup of white sugar mixed with 1 Tablespoon molasses for the brown sugar.
Oh, and I had pecans in the pantry! (Not remembering that they were from Christmas 2015, not 2016.)
Sigh. Can I blame the coming storm? The dark wintry skies? The fact that my mind was on my next Work in Progress, trying to figure out a wrinkle in the plot line?
The topping looked good when I got it all mixed up.
I spread it on top of the cake batter and stuck it in the oven. 40-45 minutes @ 350°.
I vacuumed, dusted and decluttered for 45 minutes, then checked the cake. It smelled delicious! And the batter was no longer jiggly in the pan.
Out of the oven, it looked wonderful. It needed to cool for a while, so I went on with my preparations - a quick going-over of the bathroom was next.
Meanwhile, middle son Benjamin came home from work with the announcement: "It's really slick out there."
I looked out at the falling snow, and called an audible. I conferred with my husband (still putting in a full-day's work), and we decided to cancel our Bible study. I made the necessary phone calls, then went back to the cake.
|I had told Benjamin he could try it.|
And then there was the underlying odor of...what could that be? Oh. Rancid pecans. No wonder Benjamin scraped them off. :(
We had soup for supper, and I spent the evening cross-stitching. And trying to forget the coffee cake fail sitting on the kitchen counter.
But now that a few days have gone by, I think I know where I failed.
1) I didn't make sure I had all the ingredients ahead of time, because I knew I had them...but I was wrong.
2) I should have used a 9"x13" pan. That's the size Vonda had used, and I knew it would work.
3) I didn't use the evaporated milk correctly, which made the cake batter stiff. Way too stiff.
4) I should have tasted - or at least smelled - the pecans before adding them to the cake.
5) I was in too much of a hurry. I didn't read the recipe completely before starting it, and when I ran into the first snag, I didn't have time to regroup and do something else.
So please try this recipe - it really is wonderful - just don't do it the way I did!
Okay, time to 'fess up - what was your last recipe fail???
Jan Drexler loves her family, her home, cooking and just about anything made by hand. But she loves her Lord most of all.