No, this isn’t a recipe for peanut butter coffee cake; this is a story about a beginner trying her hand at baking without a recipe. My dad had a knack for making up recipes in his head, and I do too, but my creations didn’t always turn out the way I had hoped. This is just a word about leaving a cake alone while it is baking, and if you aren’t sure if it is done yet, leave it alone to bake until you are fairly sure it won’t bottom out on you.
I do a lot of baking with Bisquick. It is my fail-safe staple that never goes wrong when I am baking. Well, that isn’t exactly true; I can never say never. One afternoon I was making a peanut butter coffee cake. I expected it to turn out beautiful. It would have, if I had not opened the oven door.
I was anxious to see if the cake was ready to come out of the oven; it looked so good. The coffee cake had risen to be beautiful. Was it done? I couldn’t really tell, so I pulled the cake to the edge of the oven rack and tapped it lightly on the top. My beautiful peanut butter coffee cake took a nose dive. The center of the cake was now concave.
Thinking I could still salvage my creation, I left it in the oven on the slight hope that I could coax it to once again rise to its former glory. I was bitterly disappointed. Upon taking the cake out of the oven, I saw a pitiful sight. Thinking positive, I thought all was not lost. I remember my brother said one time that there was nothing better than a nice soggy cake. Hoping for the best, I cut a slice and placed it on a dessert plate. It looked utterly awful, and as it sat on my tongue it was thick, heavy, and sticky.
I didn’t have a recipe to go by, so I was experimenting. I experiment a lot, and usually I have good results when I bake, but not this time. Upon retrospect I know what happened to my cake. The heat was too high. The cake was rising beautifully and it was getting done on the top and the middle was still wet and unbaked. When I pressed in lightly on the top of my creation it fell. If I had had my heat lower, say 350 to 375 degrees it would have baked fine, but I had my heat on 400 degrees and it was baking on top faster than it was baking in the middle, so when it looked like it was done, it really wasn’t.
If you like to bake, and you like to experiment with food, don’t be discouraged if you have a flop. This particular flop was so hideous that the dog wouldn’t even say it was good. He took a smell of it, and pushed the pieces around on the plate and he just snorted and walked away. I cried and promised myself that I would never bake again. Of course, I continued to bake and on occasion I continued to have some flops. Looking back on my flops, I can appreciate when my cakes come out of the oven perfectly.
If you like to bake, and you have an occasional flop, don’t be discouraged. Think about what you did wrong and try again. Don’t ever give up!