This was the assertion of the 2006 animated movie Ratatouille in which a mere rat exhibited culinary genius. And, while I’m no genius, I know my way around the kitchen – more or less. Mind you, I’m there by necessity rather than by the joy of cooking. (That pun, for you cooks, was unintended.) I’m just your basic, standard cook. I put meals on the table for my family and I try my best. Nothing to write home about, but not shabby, either. I am not creative in the kitchen. I only follow recipes.
Yesterday, I tried that very thing – following a recipe. The results of that endeavor demonstrated that, while everyone may be able to cook, not everyone can, in fact, bake.
It was a simple recipe. Four ingredients. Cake mix, water, eggs, and ice cream. Oven at 350 for 45 minutes. See? We’re not talking souffle, here. This is just cake…and from a mix! You can try it for yourself at http://www.omnomicon.com/ice-cream-cake. People rave about it. The friend who sent me the recipe also raved.
The scrumptious pictures of the omnomicon cake are fabulous. On the other end of the spectrum, here are some of mine:
A cookbook called Anyone Can Cook is on the market from Better Homes and Gardens. I was sorry to see a companion cookbook from them as well: Anyone Can Bake. Based on my pictures, I’m thinking they should re-work the title.
If you’ve made this recipe before, maybe you can tell me where I went wrong. The recipe is proven, so somewhere it’s operator error: I used a cake mix, three (and only three) eggs, one cup of water (which seemed like a lot to me, but upon re-checking the recipe, it’s accurate – I measured carefully), and one pint (i.e. 2 cups) of ice cream. I used Haagen-Daas Dark Chocolate Ice Cream, if you care. I figure if you’re going to bother eating unhealthy food in the first place, you might as well do it up right. I threw the whole mess in a bundt pan after the requisite 4 mintues of beating and stuck it in the oven.
While disasterous, I made it a second time. Having advertised the advent of “chocolate cake” to my husband ahead of time, I knew he’d come home looking for some. So… I cleaned up the colossal mess and made it again. Swell gal, right?
The second time, I decreased the ice cream to a mere 1/2 cup, decreased the water to only 1/3 cup, added 2 T. of vegetable oil, and threw in some chocolate chips. It baked just fine. Admittedly, it was drier than your average cake should be, but not awful. (Mike ate two pieces last night and had some for breakfast this morning.) Can’t have been too bad…
As for the first attempt, Jonathan offered his own critique as he surveyed the mess and shoved the more solid pieces in his mouth. “Cool. It’s good. It’s like a volcano you can eat.”
Perhaps anyone CAN cook. Maybe it just depends on who you ask.