You’re never too old to learn…and apparently the lessons I need to learn involve time management, coordination and reading comprehension. All of these valuable skills would have made my very first Daring Baker challenge go a lot smoother. But as the saying goes, you live, you learn…and then you have a margarita (what do you mean that’s not how the saying goes?).
Lesson #1: Read the Full Recipe First
I actually did read the entire recipe (similar recipe can be found here), but that was over two weeks ago and I have the attention span of a five year old…after eating ten Twinkies. So I completely forgot about the amount of time required to chill the various components of the dessert before and after the finished, assembled cake. This was mistake number one. Why you may ask? Because I was making the cake not only for the Daring Bakers’ Challenge, I was making it for the neighborhood dinner. Oh and did I mention I waited until the day of said neighborhood dinner to start making the cake? Yes, I know…I really should have read the recipe again.
Lesson #2: Do Not Wait Until the Last Minute to Make an Intricate Dessert
Why oh why did I wait until the last minute to start on the cake? The recipe even lets you know which elements of the cake (there are a total of five: the joconde, or almond cake base, the syrup, the buttercream, the mousse and the glaze) can be made ahead of time. It practically screams: “Stephanie! Make these things on Friday night because you know you’ll be busy Saturday!” But I was fairly heavily medicated on Friday night and I wanted to watch the four episodes of Ugly Betty on my TiVo. This was mistake number two.
Lesson # 3: Utilize Your Space Wisely
I live in a basement apartment with a tiny kitchen (read: little counter space). Because of this, I have had to be fairly creative when it comes to space utilization. However, with five different things being made almost simultaneously, it was extremely difficult to find places to set things down. And since I was already frazzled because of the time crunch (did I not mention that I waited until 3 to start making this dessert…and dinner was at 7?), my wits were not about me. In fact, my wits had taken the shuttle up to New York City to take in the Sex and the City tour (Oh my God! Oh my God…the movie opens tomorrow!!!!!). Making things even harder was my attempts to capture the stages of the process with my Canon.
Lesson # 4: Never Carry a Dessert While the Diva is Underfoot
Not too long after taking the shots of the finished dessert, I plated all of the individual pieces for transport to Carmen and Aster’s house. I got together my camera equipment, picked up the cakes…and tripped over the Diva. I watched helplessly as all of the cakes went flying to the floor…much to the Diva’s delight. Cake everywhere and nothing I could do about it…
Yes, this lovely cake, after all of my hard work, ended up disastrously on my kitchen floor. And I am not ashamed to admit, I cried. Not insane water-works crying; but I did cry because even though the entire process was rushed due to my mistakes, I had a lot of fun. And to know that my work would not be shared with others really got to me.
Trust me, these lessons will not go unheeded, especially with future challenges. But all in all, this was a fun cake to make and made me very glad that I am in fact, an official Daring Baker!