Friday, January 14, 2011

I built it. Now where is everybody?

This day marks the 93rd Anniversary of my father's birth. Dad, Wells, has been gone for a few years, but that doesn't mean we can't do some celebrating. Today, we eat cake.

“Why don't you build me a cake?”

I can't count how many times I heard that expression while growing up. The wonder is that Esther would usually do just that – build a cake.

Building a cake is different than opening a box and dumping a couple eggs and some oil in the mix. Building a cake requires much more effort, hence the term.

At the Green house, we have a favorite cake to build. We've dubbed it Chocolate Thud. However, on this day we consume Dad's favorite – Burnt Sugar Cake. It is quite an undertaking to build a Burnt Sugar Cake.

First, one must burn the sugar!

Patience is golden, as is the sugar once it is burnt.

Then, hot water must be added to thin the sugar into a caramel syrup. The syrup must cool.

Round cake pans are required because this isn't your run of the mill, leave it in the pan, Chocolate Thud. A Burnt Sugar Cake must be layered in frosting. ( It has been my experience that this is to moisten the actual cake. I'm still perfecting the process.)

Shortening, sugar, and egg yolks (yes, one must separate the eggs) are creamed together and caramel syrup added.

Add dry ingredients.

Egg whites are beaten until firm and then folded into the rest of the batter.

I suspect that this recipe contains too much leavening at the cakes nearly climb out of the pan and then, sadly, they fall in the middle. It might take some tweaking.

The cooled cakes require some remodeling as they are uneven. I put my sharpest knife to use and hide the repairs with a spackling of frosting that has been flavored with leftover caramel syrup. (Nelsons – I am sorry, but I couldn't retrieve the frosting recipe from Esther's memory.)

It isn't our favorite cake, but it was Dad's, so it is our favorite on January 14.