I woke up with the lyrics, “Hey, good lookin’, whatcha got cookin’? How’s about cookin’ something up with me?” going through my head. Later in the morning, Yolanda caught me holding the paws of Diego, sort of dancing back and forth with him and singing the same lyrics to him, giving him a kiss on either side of his jaw between each line. I must admit, this went on for longer that just one repetition of the entire song. As a matter of fact I think I recall singing it at least three times. He was a willing recipient of all this attention and entertainment.
When Yolanda finally could stand it no more and had to exit out to the patio, smiling broadly and laughing at my antics, it brought an end to the silliness. I restored Diego’s paws to their rightful resting place on the stone floor of the terrace and went back to whatever normal activity I was engaged in before the lapse into the Busby Berkeley imaginative actings-out of my youth.
But, around ten o’clock last night, those lyrics staged a return engagement in my brain with the result that I just had to bake a cake. Now, I must admit that I haven’t baked a cake in at least 15 years—probably longer, but since I had grated carrots as well as eggs in the fridge, carrot cake seemed a reasonable goal. Further checking of ingredients revealed that I lacked four of the key ingredients: crushed pineapple, butter, raisins and agave nectar. In addition, I’m sure the flour in my freezer was at least a couple of years old if not, in fact, 15 years old. My nutmeg was sadly out of date, but luckily I’d been prescribed cinnamon in capsule form to combat cholesterol, so I merely broke open a few capsules for the required tsp. and a half.
By now, it was firm in my mind that carrot cake was indeed what I should be cookin’, and so I figured out the proper substitutions. The solid canola-oil low-calorie spread would sub for butter. Cranberries would be better than raisins, and a mixture of low-calorie maple syrup, honey and sugar would do in lieu of the agave nectar. The closest I could come to crushed pineapple was a can of mandarin oranges which I cut into tiny pieces. I cut up a cup and a half of nuts, creamed the sugary products and eggs, poured spices, getting at least half on the floor, mixed ingredients and filled the cake pan.
Two hours after I had started, I pulled an almost-perfectly cooked carrot cake out of the oven–– Perhaps just a tad too dark around the edges, but firm in the middle and not really burned. Success! Now for the powdered sugar glaze. I tried three versions. The one mixed with pina colada soy milk tasted soapy. The one with orange juice and vanilla was too acid, the one with the juice of mandarin oranges too metallic. Finally I settled on green apple soy milk, a splash of vanilla and powdered sugar. By now I was almost out of powdered sugar due to my former testing of flavors, so I just sorta drizzled it over the top of the cake before cutting a section out of one corner. Hmm. It tasted not sweet enough, too light in texture and rather dry. The solution? I sprinkled the rest of the box of green apple soy milk over the top and popped it into the fridge to cool down and sog up a bit.
Well, yes, of course I cut a piece to taste first. Then another. I’m not sure, but perhaps later I came back for a third. Each time it tasted a bit better. I had a sinking sensation that instead of 1.5 tsps. of cinnamon that I’d added 1.5 Tbsp., but all-in-all, it wasn’t the worst cake I’d ever eaten. There was something about it that reminded me of the rather strongly odd-tasting cakes my 90ish year old grandmother used to bake. Once she had mistakenly substituted liniment for vanilla, but I think that was not her usual practice.
Yolanda had been in earlier and this is what the kitchen looked like after she had cleaned:
And this is how it looked after I finished “cookin’ something up with me . . . “
Actually, it looked even worse than this, but I had already cleaned up half the mess before okcforgottenman demanded that I take a photo. You know okcfm? He’s the one who a minimum of two times a day tells me, “That would make a good blog post. Did you take pictures?” Well, sometimes I take his suggestion, and this is one of those times.
Here, by the way, is the cake:
okcfm says the words carrot and cake just do not go together in his mind. Has he ever actually tasted carrot cake, I ask him and he says no, and he never will. His loss, I think, but actually I’m not too sure I’d want to break him in on this one anyway.
Here’s my inspiration. Have a listen. It may make you want to bake a cake. Or dance with a dog.