Sunday, May 17, 2009

Birthday thanks, and adventures in baking

Thanks to everyone who helped celebrate my birthday (belated) yesterday, and thanks to everyone who sent good wishes. The best present of all was getting to see so many friends and spend time with people I hadn't seen in some cases, literally, in years, as well as getting further acquainted with people I've previously just interacted with online.

Miranda deserves mad props for making me not one but TWO cakes. See, now that I'm on a low-sodium diet, I thought it would a smart thing to find replacements for baking soda and baking powder which are made from sodium bicarbonate. There's one baking powder substitute that's made from calcium carbonate, and I'd bought some.

So I gave some to M. for making my cake. Everything on the container and on the company's website said that calcium carbonate works just like baking soda, but it's completely sodium free, and that for best results, you need to just double the amount called for in recipes. So I passed that along to Miranda.

Well. As the kids today say, this calcium carbonate is MADE OF FAIL.

For those who don't know her, Miranda is in fact a first-rate baker. She made mine and Paul's wedding cake 10 years ago and has seriously considered opening her own bakery, so I highly doubt the problem was at her end...

First, she told me that the cake wasn't rising as much as expected.

Then when it came out of the oven, all the rising it did, undid itself.

THEN, it kept... shrinking. Finally, she was left with a tiny brick that she threw away, after tasting it and determining that it even tasted like @ss, too. She told me that at the point when she tossed it, the end product had less than half the volume of the batter.

We were joking that all those people who thought the LHC was going to end the world were correct--they just had the wrong LHC. It's not this one, it's my failed birthday cake, which has turned into a black hole in her garbage can, where no doubt it continues to collapse in on itself.

So she started again and did another version, which looked and tasted terrific--there was not a scrap left at the end of the night. Is that awesome or what? After the first one turned into The Singularity That's Going to Destroy Us All, most people would have said, "Screw it, you're getting a store-bought cake."

Good friends, good food, lots of hanging out and visiting. I couldn't ask for a better celebration. Thanks, everyone.

Though I do wish that whoever anonymously bought me Where the Deep Ones Are from my Amazon wishlist would say something so I could be properly appreciative... :)

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