Sometimes baking doesn’t go to plan: there are so many chemical processes going on when you bake a cake that chances are you’ll have a failure on your hands sooner or later. But don’t let it get to you – all you need is a backup plan so that you can make something good and yummy from your failed cake.
Last week I made some very questionable cupcakes, and there were almost tears.Once I’d got over the disappointment (and especially the thought of having wasted some quite expensive ingredients, including special chocolate I’d brought back with me from Amsterdam in October), I managed to formulate a plan: cupcake tiramisu. This deviates in many ways from the traditional Italian dessert, but was just as yummy.
- Use one bowl per person, and put a cupcake or two in each bowl.
- Make about 150ml of quite strong coffee (instant coffee is fine, but I’m sure proper coffee would be better if you have that sort of thing lying around). Stir in a generous teaspoon of sugar, and about a shot or so of Kahlua. (If you were being authentic you would use Marsala wine, but I think if you wanted to be authentic you wouldn’t be making a tiramisu from faulty cupcakes.) (And if you don’t have Kahlua, I’m sure something else would work fine – brandy perhaps, or Tia Maria. Go nuts.)
- Pour this all over your cupcakes, and set them aside so the cakes soak up all the goodness.
- In a mixing bowl, beat about 120ml double cream until it thickens.
- In a different mixing bowl (sorry, this makes more washing up but it seems to be necessary), beat half of one of those 250g containers of mascarpone cheese with a tablespoon or two of sugar.
- Fold the mascarpone into the cream, and spoon the resulting mixture into the dishes.
- Sprinkle with either some cocoa powder or a little grated chocolate.
Other baking rescue remedies:
- Make a trifle. If you’ve baked a cake and it’s fallen apart as you took it out of the pan, break it up into pieces and make trifle out of it. You just need to use as much of the cake as you can salvage to line the base of a big serving bowl, and then you could cover it with fruit (bananas? Strawberries?) and custard and sprinkle the top with chocolate.
- Cake crumbs are useful. Perhaps your cake is too dry for its intended use? Or maybe a part of it overcooked and had to be thrown away? The rest of it can be turned into cake crumbs, and there are real recipes that use cake crumbs as an ingredient, such as this one from Cadbury, or this one for coffee cake.
- Make apple or plum crumble. One or two recipes for this at the BBC, but they’d need modifying a bit.
- Cover a multitude of sins with frosting. The cracked peaks of cakes can be covered with icing, in the same way that cakes that have sunk can be filled with something to make it look deliberate – chocolate mousse perhaps, or ice cream and sprinkles. No-one will ever know.