For more years than I can count I’ve been making a raspberry cake that I adapted out of a fiasco an old neighbor had. The glass cake pan had broken in the oven and there was cake everywhere. The cake had actually dripped onto the oven racks and baked as a lovely cake coated rack….Being very young at the time, we did the only thing we could think of….we ate the evidence…yup, pulled up a couple of chairs in front of the oven and sat there and talked and picked the now cooled cake right off the rack and ate it. I gotta tell you….it wasn’t bad. But as we sat there and talked and picked we dreamed up variations of this recipe and how to make it better. This is now the recipe I swear by.
For years, as my kids were growing up I’d let them chose the cake for their birthdays….until it became clear that every year and every birthday the cake would be the same…My Raspberry Cake. Then it just became the traditional birthday cake…..my grandkids are now requesting it.
This is where my new fiasco begins. I had driven 10 hours to stay with my son and his family when their 4th baby (finally a girl!) arrived. This is big! Why because my daughter in law’s mother lived minutes away, but I….I….had been asked to come! The beautiful baby girl was given MY middle name! And the other three boys were excited to have me all to themselves. And while I was there we were going to celebrate a young boys birthday. Of course, my cake was requested and I was more than happy to oblige.
You see there’s a hierarchy in a Grandma’s world. There can only be one alpha grandma! The “other” grandma was coming to the birthday celebration and I was already winning the alpha grandma contest because I was staying at the house taking care of all the precious children….The “new girl” had MY middle name…..and the other grandma was invited to come over for MY cake. The “other” grandma had me by proximity….but I was winning anyway.
So the day of the birthday celebration, I assembled all the ingredients to make the cake….followed the recipe to a tee (I know it by heart…who needs a recipe) and upon taking it out of the over and turning it out onto a plate….the whole cake fell apart. Pieces ….large pieces, I knew I couldn’t repair it. As soon as I turned half a cake out onto a plate, a silence fell over the once noisy kitchen. It was almost as if there was an anticipation of a meltdown…
I stood there silently for a moment…We all stood there silently. You could feel the tension in the kitchen….the fear….what was I going to do with this failure? I pondered what to do….how do I save this….for a very brief moment I thought I could reassemble the cake…with enough glaze, who would know? I kept thinking don’t panic you can fix this….it wasn’t about the cake….it was my status.
After a very long moment in time and realizing, just like humpty dumpty, I couldn’t put it back together again. I said “okay, here’s what we’re going to do….I’m going to crumble half of this cake in a trifle dish…..we’re going to whip up some fresh cream with a little bit of grated dark chocolate…..then we’ll layer the rest of the cake and more cream on top….along the way we added some fresh lemon zest to the whipped cream to brighten it up.
It was Awesome! What I remember most about that day is not the saved cake (or should I say saved face), but unlike the days of my youth….I didn’t panic in the silence and fly off the handle. I handled the fiasco…..and invented a second desssert.
1 Box White Cake Mix
1 16 oz. Frozen Raspberries (with sugar and juice)
1 sm. Raspberry Jello
1 C. vegetable (or canola) oil
3 Tbs Flour
1/2 C. Raspberry juice
2 Tbls Butter
1 C. Powder Sugar
Combine all but 1/2 C. Juice in large bowl and mix well. Pour into greased and floured tube pan.
Bake according to cake mix directions.
Turn cake out on to large platter and spoon glaze over top until all absorbed.
Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and a little grated dark chocolate…..Or crumble it up and make a trifle out of it!