Cake Fail 1: It’s what’s inside that counts

From this angle, it doesn't look too bad. The lace wrap is sloppy, but that's because I was hurrying to watch football. It worked well enough for me to know I could do this nicely in the future.
From this angle, it doesn’t look too bad. The lace wrap is sloppy, but that’s because I was hurrying to watch football. It worked well enough for me to know I could do this nicely in the future.

Obviously they can’t all be winners, but my first attempt at a February cake was pretty much a disaster. It was meant to be my contribution to a Super Bowl party. Thankfully a blizzard kept us home for the game, so nobody else was subjected to this dry, crumbly mess.

The plan was pretty simple: a chocolate cake with white chocolate frosting dyed green to resemble a football field, and some football-themed chocolate decorations. I considered a few designs but ultimately decided it would be a great opportunity to attempt a chocolate lace wrap, which meant a simple 9-inch round layer cake.

I baked the cake layers from the Cake Bible’s chocolate butter cake recipe the day before the party and wrapped them in plastic, planning to decorate them the next day. I used a simple chocolate ganache filling between the layers and frosted the outside with the tinted white chocolate frosting. I hoped to make some sort of football decoration out of fondant for the center, but by the time I got to it we already had about 8 inches of snow, and that was before the blizzard warning actually started, so I was pretty sure nobody would be seeing this cake anyway.

I didn’t get around to the lace wrap until just before kickoff, so I did it in kind of a rush. At first I was doing pretty well, but by the end my hands were covered in chocolate, I was worried about running out of chocolate, and the Super Bowl had already started so I just wanted to finish and enjoy the game. So the last few inches were too thin on chocolate and therefore didn’t detach from the parchment. This, however, is not the true fail of the cake.

This is the sad side of the cake, but it doesn't even show the true failure of this one. At least with the lace wrap, I know what went wrong -- the chocolate was too thin and therefore not strong enough to adhere to the frosting, so it broke off when I tried to remove the parchment.
This is the sad side of the cake, but it doesn’t even show the true failure of this one. At least with the lace wrap, I know what went wrong — the chocolate was too thin and therefore not strong enough to adhere to the frosting, so it broke off when I tried to remove the parchment. I still don’t know what really went so wrong with the cake itself.

Upon cutting into it, I discovered that the cake was dry. So dry, it crumbled into a heap as soon as I sliced it. It was inedible — even the resident 3-year-old cake fiend didn’t want it.

I didn’t take a photo of the heaping mess; I just ate some of the (delicious!) frosting off and threw it away. A little searching of Rose’s blog revealed that this is a known error in this recipe and some solutions have been posed, but I think rather than attempting it again I’ll go back to some of my more tried-and-true chocolate cake recipes. After all, throwing away a whole chocolate cake is a sad thing indeed, and I’d rather not have to do it again.

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