This weekend my Mom and her boyfriend visited for the Five Boro Bike Tour. The Five Boro Bike tour is a yearly, car-free 42 mile ride organized by Bike New York. It kicks off Bike Month in New York City, and is a really amazing way to see all five boroughs.
You get the chance to ride places that are normally off limits to cyclists such as FDR Drive, the BQE, and the Verrazano Bridge. This is my third year riding and it’s something I look forward to for months.
I’ve also had a very clear idea of the cake I wanted to make for our celebration dinner for months. My Mom’s boyfriend, Chris, has told us stories about a favorite childhood cake for years. It was a round cake with a pudding-filled center. After my success with single-serving, pudding-filled Eclair Cakes, I knew I had to make a large version when Chris visited for the Bike Tour. Despite thinking about this dessert for months I waited until the last minute to make it. Several things went wrong:
Since I procrastinated until the morning they were about to arrive I decided to make a one-bowl chocolate cake rather than a chocolate pound cake. The cake was quick to put together, but the batter for this style of chocolate cake is very watery. My original idea was to make this in a tube pan and hollow out the center for the pudding. My tube pan has a removable bottom. As I was pouring the liquidy batter into the pan, I wondered if it was going to seep out the bottom. It did.
Luckily I realized the batter was dripping onto the counter before I made too big a mess. I quickly poured it back into the bowl and got out my Bundt pan. What I should have done at this point was make this cake in two 9 inch pans (as the recipes intends) and just make a layer cake. But I was determined to have a taller cake that I could hollow the center out of. I knew the Bundt pan wouldn’t create as tall a cake as the tube pan, but I thought I would still be able to stuff it.
I was worried this cake was going to overflow the pan. It didn’t, but it did sink pretty dramatically. The cake was tiny when it came out of the pan. I did plan on attempting to fill it with pudding, but after a 42 mile bike ride I’d lost interest. And I don’t think it would have worked anyway. So I just sliced the cake and served it with this coconut pastry cream. This pastry cream is actually very good, despite it’s slightly green color. It really deserves a better accompaniment than this cake. I also undercooked the cake which lead to gooey texture almost reminiscent of a brownie, but in a bad way.
It’s always disappointing when a recipe doesn’t turn out the way you hoped it would, but at least you learn something from the experience. I learned that when you’re pressed for time, it’s not a good idea to experiment with unfamiliar recipes because if it doesn’t work out, you don’t have a chance to do it over.
This made me realize that sometimes when I’m baking for a specific person, I make the recipe I want to bake instead of what they want to eat. In this case, Chris would have been just as happy with an out-of-the-box cake filled with Jell-O pudding, but I had seen this coconut pastry cream recipe earlier in the week and really wanted to try it, so I made it instead.
So don’t make this cake. But definitely go for a bike ride. It’s bike month!