Baking Fail: A Chocolate Cake from the Hummingbird Book

Baking Fail: A Chocolate Cake from the Hummingbird Book

In my family, we cook our meals from scratch as much as possible. I like cooking but my passion lies in baking. Before having kids, I was regularly trying to find the perfect recipe. The perfect chocolate cake recipe, the perfect cookie recipe, the perfect millionaire’s shortbread…

After birthing my first baby, I felt so overwhelmed with everything, I didn’t find any time for myself. I craved doing something new but found no time. After a few months, I decided to try a recipe from a book that had been on my shelf for a long time.

I had heard so many positive reviews about this book from the Hummingbird bakery but never had the time to actually make anything. Everything inside the book looks delicious. So when I baked for the first time after having a baby, I thought I would go for my favourite dessert, a chocolate cake.

Baking mummy tip number 1, especially for first time mums! Make sure you read through the entire recipe a few times so you can gauge how long it actually takes. Silly me, thought it was a quick recipe, simple steps, not many dishes to use up. How I was wrong! But it looked so delicious in the baking book photo!

So there I was, on my merry way, thinking I would have a baked and decorated cake ready to eat in a few hours. Laugh at me!

The first step is to be fancy and make a fudge. My friends, it is not fudge to me. It is a very hard boiled sweet. It is a plank of hard boiled sweet of toffee, caramely flavour. Tastes nice but keep reading. Here I was, at the stove, with my thermometer, making this fudge or whatever, not really having any idea what I was doing, but feeling like a professional because it was looking alright. Then I was looking at this:

Oh my goodness. It’s a whole plank of toffee flavoured sweets. I had no idea what it was for but shrugged my shoulders. READ THE RECIPE GIRL! I obviously did not look at the photo close enough. This stuff is smashed up and made to look like the crumble part of apple crumble and spread on the cake. It’s not soft and delicate like apple crumble though. Even in this smashed state, my teeth felt like they were going to fall out. It did not feel good.

Looking back, I thought this was part of the actual cake or topping. It was only later I realised it took all that time just to make a bit of crumble for the cake. It does say to spread it in between layers but honestly, there is so much crumbly toffee it made me really concerned for our teeth! Did I make it wrong? I had no time to think.

The next step was making the cake covering. Again, lots of things to do here but it came out looking good. Smooth.

Finally, it was time to make the cake batter! It did smell quite strongly of coffee but I know many chocolate cake recipes have coffee in them. The end was insight.

The end wasn’t really insight. My other half peered into the kitchen, hoping to find it in the oven. Baby wanted mummy milk and I was actually taking forever baking a cake. I panicked. Like really panicked. Looking at the book, there was still a long way to go. I was going to abandon it, but I couldn’t. It was my first time baking after becoming a mother. I needed to accomplish something other than feeding and changing nappies. I needed to see it through till the end!

It looked quite good coming out of the oven.

Now, no more effects with these photos. My camera wasn’t good, but experience this with me. It was a really hot summers day and being in the kitchen with the oven on for ages was tiring but then the cake started feeling the effects of it too. It came out looking promising…

So I left it to cool down. There were some burnt bits so I tried to be clever and slice them off, on a very hot day. It was now evening, and this was my cake:

It’s okay. I can cover this up with cake covering right? And there are three layers of cake. On a very hot summers night. You can see where this is going…?

Oh. Em. Gee. What is my life? The cake was falling apart everywhere. The icing felt too heavy for the cake. It was a cake disaster. I’ve never experienced this. Why, when I was trying something for me, for the first time after becoming a mummy, did I have to face THIS?! I felt so incompetent at baking and decorating.

Ugh. My other half is a very tidy person and after trying to entertain our baby all day (when she clearly knew I was in the other room and wanted cuddles), I felt so guilty and like I had failed. It was awful. This was my slice of cake:

I’m not even joking. It tasted so bad. So bad. The taste of coffee was too much. I don’t drink coffee. I am not a fan of the smell of coffee. It’s a chocolate cake. Why did it not taste of chocolate?! This mama need chocolate!

I then did something drastic. I got a bowl and smashed it all inside it.

And I kept smashing.

Sort of like how you make cake pops. I then got a baking tray and spread the mushed up cake and flattened it:

I really had no plan here. I spread some melted chocolate on it.

And decided to cover the whole thing…

If that wasn’t enough, I added some chocolate sprinkles:

You won’t even BELIEVE what it turned into!!!

I got my fancy dessert glasses out, some custard and cream and layered it with the failed cake. Topped with Cadbury’s flake, because flake makes it all better.

I’m not even joking. It tasted awesome!!! The coffee smell had completely vanished and the cake had this rich, delicious chocolate fudge fudge taste to it. GORGEOUS! It was mouth watering. SUCCESS!!!

I made a few in these glasses and invited friends and family to eat. Hands down, a good response. Okay the response was great but I don’t want to hype it up as it took way more effort than needed to get to this, LOL!

BUT I still had so much cake left in that tray, so I decided to make cake pops, without the pop. More like a truffle, but it’s a cake. Most of them looked pretty unprofessional when covered in chocolate.

They tasted good but too rich for my liking. It was much better layered with the custard and cream.

So in the end, I made a big version to give to a family who also noticed the beautiful fudgey taste. Maybe it takes a day for the flavour to settle?

Despite not having my chocolate fudge cake in a round cake form, I did get it in dessert form. It took a long, long time (2 days?) to get to the end result which seems like forever when you have a baby and although I felt like a failure, I turned it around to a positive. This mummy failure turned around and tasted delicious. Next time, I’d choose something much simpler.

With the Great British Bake Off coming to the end, I will miss the Extra Slice show even more. It is hilarious seeing baking fails as I’ve had many myself so I thought I would share one of my own.

Now I’m craving cake.

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