Cake of the Week: Fail and Comeback

Okay, alright, I know.

The cakes of the week have been missing.  I hear you.

But hey now, hear me out.

Right before my terrifying flights to and from Orlando, I made my second post-holiday break cake.  My hummingbird cake was AMAZING (is the cool thing to say these days ‘amazeballs?’  Well yes then, it was amazeballs.)  I was living on a cake high!  I had kicked cake ass like I had never kicked cake ass before.

Then, cake kicked my ass.

Cake kicked my ass like I’ve never had my ass kicked before … and I want to remind you that I have a VERY involved history with tequila.

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present to you the Pumpkin and Chocolate Marble Bundt Cake.


Looks, delish doesn’t it?

You’re wrong.  Well, maybe not wrong.  We’ll never know for certain.  Let me show you another photo.


You may be asking yourself, ‘Why is there a fingerprint on that cake?’

That’s because it’s not baked all the way through.  The night I pulled it out of the oven, I tested it with toothpicks, which came out of that cake clean as a whistle.  I will admit that I thought the cake had an unnatural shine to it, but this cake called for 1 1/2 cups of butter.  That’s right, THREE sticks of butter.  I thought the glisten was from all that moisturizing butter.

I had been uncomfortable with the three sticks of butter from the get go.  I’m no Paula Dean, but I will use my fair share of that magic yellow substance.  But three sticks?  I scrolled the comments under the recipe and no one mentioned that absurd amount of lard I was about to put in my batter.  Was nobody worried about this but me?

Back to the cake coming out of my oven.  There was a strong shimmer coming off this baby, surely from all the butter.  I put it out to cool for a while and then glazed it later.  I covered it and set it aside.  This cake was finished up right before bedtime, so we didn’t dive in until the next day.  The following night, the beau and I hovered over the cake as I sliced it.  It smell so good!  Yet, something wasn’t quite right.  I placed the first slice that was intended for the beau on a plate.  “Why does this cake look gooey?”

I touched it and left a fingerprint just as if it was a freshly poured concrete sidewalk.  “Fuck.”

I cussed and yelled, the beau hid for a while.  This was not happening.  I could not be having a cake fail.

If I had discovered the sludge in the middle of the cake the night I baked it, I might have thrown it back in the oven.  However, those were not the cake cards I had been dealt.  The cake had sat out for twenty four hours with a raw center.  (Who knows, maybe it was a butter bubble.)  I quietly and remorsefully dumped our dessert in the trashcan.  The beau said he was going to go take a shower, but really I think he was just looking for the opportunity to lock himself in the bathroom and cry.

I went to Florida and left behind the legacy of the ruined cake.  One of my top reasons for surviving the voyage by airplane was so I didn’t go down at my memorial service as the girl who royally screwed up her last cake.

On my return, my mother and I discussed the cake fail once she stopped gasping at the three sticks of butter it called for.  It was obvious to her that I was in a deep cake depression and I needed to be saved.  “Make the vinegar cake.  That’s old fashioned.”

She was right.  I need to go back to my strong point, the old fashioned cake.  Simple and delightful cakes.  The vinegar cake was just the pick me up that I needed.

The recipe per my mama:

1 1/2 cups of AP flour
1 c  sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp cocoa
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp vanilla
1 c warm water
6 tbsp vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350.
Mix dry ingredients together. Make a well in dry ingredients and add wet ingredients. Mix well. Add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time if batter is thick. (I have never had to do this.)
Pour into an 8″ or 9″  square pan ( I use a round cake pan, it works just as well. Also the recipe doesn’t call for it but I spray the pan with non-stick baking spray, just to be on the safe side.)  Bake 25-30 minutes, until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool and dust with cocoa powder or 10x sugar or a combination of both.  Serves 16 (or one, I could eat the entire thing.)


Dammit, I was out of powdered sugar!  Oh well, this cake is amazing without it.  The cake is fluffy and moist.  The taste is similar to that of a brownie.  If you are someone who loves cake, but hates frosting this is probably the miracle cake recipe you have been searching for.

I asked the beau to rate the cake, but his reply was that it was more like a brownie than a cake.  The old apples and oranges argument.  I then asked if someone was to approach him about the vinegar cake, what would he say?

“It’s the best damn brownie-cake I’ve ever had.”

I suppose that will do.  Anyway, a picture is worth a hundred words, right?


Have an old fashioned cake recipe you’d like to share?  I’d love to hear about it!  Comment below.



4 thoughts on “Cake of the Week: Fail and Comeback

    1. The most wonderful thing about vinegar cake is most kitchens are always stocked with those ingredients… which means you are always ready for vinegar cake!

      Thanks, once I got over the hurt feelings … on was back on the path to baking!

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