Thursday, August 20, 2009

Complete and Total Disaster

I made a vow when I started this blog, that I would always share my complete disasters alongside my resounding successes, however embarassing. I now want to break that vow. But I won't.

I have never, ever, had so much go wrong in the kitchen before I attempted this recipe.

Here's what I ended up with at the end of several hours. Pretty, isn't it.
Let's just say it wasn't quite what I was going for. If we backtrack several hours, 14 eggs and a few tears, I set out on this Thursday evening to make a Charlotte Royale. And I didn't even come close. A Charlotte Royale is a sponge roll that is cut into slices and used to line a round mold which is filled with mousse.

And it went wrong in ways I couldn't have imagined. Some of them my fault, some of them not, all of them captured on film.

Disaster #1: The sponge.

I followed the recipe to make a chocolate sponge. The directions called for it to bake in a 12x14 inch pan, which I did not have. So I decided to just bake it in a 12x16 inch pan. Ah, you must be thinking here is where I went wrong. Nope.

I pour the sponge batter into the pan, and I notice that it seems like it wouldn't have even filled a 12x14" pan.

Whatever, I think. Then as I'm about to slide it in the oven, I lick my finger that had some of the batter on it. I almost gag. It's bitter and awful. I ran back to my list of ingredients. I forgot the sugar.

At this stage, I'm about to give up already, but I persevere, throw it away, and start over.

Wrong decision.

I mix together another batch of batter, with sugar this time, and put it in the oven to bake.
This one fills the pan a lot better. Shocker.
Disaster #2: The cream.

Every good swiss/sponge roll has a cream filling. The instructions I had for this one seemed simple enough, if not a little water-heavy, but I assumed it would all come together.

Assume nothing. (Name that TV show)

The recipe called for me to mix the butter and sugar on high, and then very gradually mix in boiling water. I went very gradually. And came up with this.

Does this look like white fluffy cream to you? Even from the side? Are you sure?

Yet again, I should have given up. But I didn't. What was I thinking?

Disaster #3: The roll.

After the cream disaster, I decided I would still go through with the roll, and just use a basica vanilla frosting recipe, with shortening, sugar and vanilla. Foolproof.

At this point the sponge had come out of the oven, and was looking quite sponge like.
I cut it into the pieces required, and lifted it out of the pan. Oops, it broke. Even with this crack down the middle, I still DID NOT GIVE UP.

Clearly I have no intuition.
So I spread my second sponge of the evening, which was already cracked, with my second filling of the evening.
What's next? Rolling it up of course. I think you see where this is going.

Did you see that coming? Did you? I didn't.

Well at this point, with 14 eggs, two sticks of butter and several hours wasted, I GAVE UP.


It's going to be a long time before I'll ever try that again. A very long time.

Lucky for me, I already had a backup dessert planned in case of epic failure.
Stay tuned and find out what finally went right.

Tip of the Day: When everything's going wrong, don't cry, just take pictures of it. It'll make it seem a whole lot funnier. Trust me.


  1. "Even from the side?" - snort! There are few kitchen disasters that can't be improved by sharing them with the blogging community! Brownie points for forging ahead.

  2. I'm so glad I clicked on your profile the other day from Joy the Baker! I see all of her goodies and cry a little inside because I'll probably never be as good as her. Seeing this made me feel so much better, a realization that we are only human. I have MANY of these types of disasters happen in my kitchen!

    Also I made those snickerdoodle blondies the other (easy enough to where I knew this would come out ok) day and WOW! those were good! I'm happy to have found you!

  3. Everyone has a bad baking moment. One time I tried to make a lemon roll cake. Well when I began to roll it became a mashed potato...what a sloppy mess. I followed the recipe exactly how it was written but it did not come out like the picture. It only tasted good. So I ate it myself in 3 days. LOL!

    Keep trying your cake looks good enough to eat.