I haven’t told a baking disaster story for a while — here’s one involving apricot upside down cake.

ArmenianStamps-407.jpg
By Post of Armenia – http://www.armenianstamps.com/2007.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5504935

If we all collectively agree it’s still — I dunno, mid-August, say? — we can make it not be the end of September already, right?
You in? Good.

September has rushed by, but at least I have been slightly less busy this week. I’m still busy at work but I’ve only left the house 2 weeknights. (As opposed to 4 last week and all 5 the week before.) I have rediscovered lost skills, like how to cook my own dinner! And how to get to bed before midnight! It is very exciting.

On Sunday night I found myself rumaging through my fridge in a bit of an I’ve been pretending to be an extrovert for the past fortnight and now I’ve got some time to myself I don’t know what to do loose end. Having barely been at home, I had of course wound up with a fridge full of things that needed using up asap — some questionable-looking peaches, some eggs of unknown provenance, a container of cream that was use by 25 September.  This peach cake recipe came to the rescue. (NB: adding lemon juice to cream to make kinda-sorta sour cream totally works if you’re using it for baking.)

Also, earlier in the summer I had been bested by a cake with fresh fruit in it, and it was time for revenge.

That cake had been an apricot upside down cake, made to bring to dinner at a friend’s place because there was another girl coming whose birthday it was, and it would be nice to have cake.

Everything would have been so much simpler if she hadn’t come, but she rocked up right on time. Obviously it was lovely she could make it, but I was having doubts about the cake I’d baked the night before. I’d baked it as long as the recipe said and the edges looked good, as did the underside (which had been on top as it baked), but it seemed a little soft in the centre, like maybe the apricots had leaked some juices overnight and it had gone soggy.

“Can you give me your opinion on this before we bring it out?” I asked in the kitchen, handing over a teaspoon.

“Um… it’s raw.”

I tried a bit. It really was raw. Uh oh.

This started a spectacular series of events. We tried popping it under the grill to cook a bit more. It started burning around the edges while the centre was still cold. We put alfoil over it. The other dinner guests started to wonder if dinner had finished, or if there was dessert coming. “You go keep them entertained, I’ll keep an eye on the cake,” I suggested. Time passed. I got fidgety. The cake was still raw. The three of us in the kitchen held a war council. “Let’s just scoop out the middle and call it a ring cake.” “Nah, give it a bit longer, it will be fine.” “Yeah, be patient Zoe.” Eventually it became clear it wouldn’t be fine, and Team Make It A Ring Cake gained the upper hand.

At least I had remembered to bring candles.

Unfortunately, they were the long thin type that you stick directly into the cake. Which is great, if the cake is at room temperature. This cake was not. The candles started melting and falling over; we started falling over with laughter.

Fortunately, A., whose birthday it was, was either very gracious or had actually never had a decent cake before in her life, and said lots of nice things about how nice it was to have a birthday cake and didn’t comment on the wax drippings all over the top of it.

PS: the peach cake was a total success, but I did also bake it almost twice as long as the recipe called for.

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