Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Adorable cake failures

Coming soon: An actual adventure in making a vintage recipe! Looming large in my mind: The thought of failure. I can't say much yet about what you will see, but I will say my attempt did not turn out to be perfect... so today we will look at a vintage cookbook that makes failing seem much more cute and amusing than it usually feels. From The Betty Furness Westinghouse Cook Book (1954), I present possible causes of cake failure. (Too bad it doesn't have adorable failed pies, too!)

Does your cake look sad because it has a saggy butt?

Then the batter may have been too stiff or the oven too hot.

I love the way this little guy is gazing rearward with slightly misaligned eyes and a sideways frown. Uneven heat is the least of his problems since the other layers made fun of him for being lumpy.

What if your cake develops large, apathetic eyes and a drooly mouth?

Tell it to pull itself together! Bootstraps and all that. If it points out that cakes don't have bootstraps, yell at it for being mouthy.

Or cut back on the leavening and sugar and crank up the heat.

I feel kind of sorry for any layers that might end up under this guy. That can't be pleasant....

What if your cake is too soggy? Tell it to stop watching sad movies.

Or just turn up the heat in the oven and take it out of the pan when it's done.

Even though this cake seems to have been caught in a storm, it looks less distressed than some of the others. Apparently it really does like long walks in the rain.
What if your cake is humped? Get your mind out of the gutter! I mean, what if it looks as if a mole is trying to burrow up and out?

Maybe too much flour or an initially too-hot oven. (The oven temperatures must not have been to reliable in 1954!)

This is an optical illusion, too. If I look at it one way, the cake is rolling its eyes at something dumb I just said. If I look at it the other way, it's a Muppet lying on its back looking up at the ceiling.

What if your cake is fallen? Well, I'm not sure why you feel the need to make moral judgments about cakes but... Oh, it's got a sunken middle.

Probably too much shortening or leavening or sugar-- So it was overindulging? Still no reason to judge. We know you secretly like gobbling up the evidence of cake failures so no one else knows you're not as good a cook as you want people to believe.

Anyway, I love that the drop has caused this cake's eyes to levitate.

What if  you've got a tough cake? Better give it some sprinkles for whiskers so everybody knows it's tough.

Wait a minute... Did this guy have anything to do with the humped and fallen cakes? He did say he needed a more sugar.

Then again, I don't think I want to know the answer.


  1. Very, very funny!
    I can't wait to see your vintage pie!

  2. And I can't wait to post it! It was a lot of fun.