July 9, 2008

Barbequed Cakes

The Wife promised to bake a co-worker her favorite cakes for her birthday tomorrow. Turns out this co-worker likes white cake with chocolate frosting -- not something easy to find in the grocery store. Which we had to look at because for some reason, the oven never really got hot today. It got a little bit warmer than the air in the house, but not enough to really set up her cake batter. An inspection of the rear of the stove revealed nothing; the burners on top of the unit worked fine so the gas intake was good and the pilot was on.

So what to do about the cake? Well, we went to the store and bought an unfrosted angel food cake, suitable for use in strawberry shortcake. She frosted that. But angel food cake is not the same thing as white cake, and The Wife refused to settle for second best. So she said, let's put it on the grill.

I admit. I did not take this idea very seriously. There's no way to control the temperature in the grill and it's a lot of open flames, held back only by the spreader unit. What's good for bratwurst may not be good for cake batter in a nine-inch baking pan. And do they design those pans for direct exposure to fire?

But The Wife insisted we proceed. So we did. I got it good and warmed up and showed The Wife how to turn the grill on (she said she didn't know how). I hectored her about keeping the lid shut if she wanted the inside to stay warm. And I let her proceed with her idea.

It turned out quite well, actually. The top of the cake did not brown very much, but the edges did, and the batter set up and became firm but moist -- just the way a cake should. Now, it had partially baked in the semi-warmed oven already, and the barbeque was much hotter than the prescribed 350 degrees for the oven in the kitchen. But, it turned out quite nicely. I got just a piece of the cake left over from her slice, and it tasted good and had the right texture to it.

Now, of course, we need more frosting, having used it all on the backup angel food cake. But big props to The Wife, for an inventive and uncompromising solution to her problem!

I sure hope the oven works tomorrow. I don't want to have to replace it.

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