Shoulda Followed the Recipe

So I made the cake, sorta. I used walnuts but otherwise followed the crust part of the recipe pretty much. The crust wasn’t all that tasty, even though I used Real Butter instead of Smart Balance. If I made it again, I’d probably try hazelnuts if I could find them, or add pepper or cinnamon or something (more sugar! more butter! is screaming at me somewhere in the distance….) to jazz it up. I used Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips and used way more than the recipe called for in the chocolate layer on top of the crust. After all, is it even possible to use Too Much Chocolate? (As it turns out, it is…..)

I thought it would be fun to garnish the cake with chocolate-dipped strawberries, since I had a whole bunch of chocolate chips and some white chocolate. After I dipped the strawberries, I added all the left-over melted chocolate to the layer already on the crust. So now there was a chocolate layer about in inch thick on top of the crust.

About 10 minutes before heading to our friends’ house for dinner, I tried to smooth the ice cream onto the cold crust. For reasons I don’t understand, the ice cream IMMEDIATELY morphed into a liquid mess. I threw the cake back in the freezer for about 30 seconds, but we were already late so there wasn’t enough time to let it freeze again.

It was a hot night and we walked the 200 feet to our friends’ house. I had used a springform pan so the ice cream was able to leak all over A’s shirt, the street, and the entryway of our friends’ house in the ensuing 3 minutes of travel time. By the time I tried to find room in their freezer for the cake, the rest of the ice cream managed to ooze out onto their frozen pork chops and left-overs.


Finally it was time for dessert. The strawberries came out great so the cake didn’t look all that bad, even though there was only about an eighth of an inch of ice cream on it. But it was IMPOSSIBLE to cut because we were trying to hack through close to an inch of dense frozen chocolate instead of the paper-thin, crisp layer the recipe called for.

There’s nothing elegant about a dessert if you need a machete to render it into servable slices.


I think there’s a metaphor for writing somewhere in here. Probably something about the dangers of mucking around too much with something instead of letting it just BE.

Any thoughts? Or should we just toss this recipe into the compost along with the rest of the cake?

2 comments to Shoulda Followed the Recipe

  • I vote you keep the recipe and keep mucking around. Although this attempt was a disaster, what you learned in the process was invaluable.
    On the writing front, the metaphor applies as well. My first attempt at a novel ended up much a disaster just like your poor cake. However, I hold onto it dearly. I return to it, re-write, change the POV, change the hook, play with the dialogue and create new scenes. Even though I keep experimenting with the ingredients, I hold onto the recipe.
    Although I have gone on to write other things, it is because of the trials and errors of my first “recipe/novel” that I am able to write them with more clarity.

  • Nancy

    Thanks for the suggestions.

    On the other hand, we could have just tossed the remaining cake in the canal for your alligator. The crust part was heavy enough that he just might have sunk!!

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