Cake Club

28 May

How To Make A Rhubarb Cake With Ginger Crumble For Your Book Club

1. Go to the google doc asking book club members to sign up to bring a dish for the annual book club potluck dinner. It’s a nice event, worth bringing something real to—not, like, hummus and veg. But it’s on a Wednesday, which is crappy schedule day. There’s no way you’ll have time to make something real. So, guiltily, you hover over dessert. But, isn’t EVERYONE super busy on Wednesdays, and all the days? Who’s going to get stuck bringing the mains? You attempt to salvage your desserty lameness by grandly signing up to bring a Rhubarb Cake with Ginger Crumble that a friend who’s an excellent baker made one time. She thoughtfully shared the recipe, too, something you never remember to do when people ask. Sigh. Just, BE BETTER, self. Start by making a nice rhubarb cake for your book club. Hopefully it will still taste fine even if you make it the night before.

2. Buy the last 3 stalks of rhubarb in the entire store. Isn’t it still rhubarb season? What the hell? They are enormous, like slender tree branches. And you’ve never baked with rhubarb before—c’mon, it’s RED CELERY. Well, whatever. It’s in cake, it’s not going to suck. Cake is delicious.

3. The crumble recipe calls for candied ginger, but all they have is soft, chewy ginger candy. Close enough. Because cake. Toss it in the cart.

4. Decide to put the cake together while you are also doing the dinner dishes, talking to a cousin who dropped by, and over-seeing the two kids’ piano practice and showers. What could go wrong.

5. Sugar the hell out of the rhubarb after barely managing to hack it apart with a cleaver. Sugaring it is not called for in the recipe, but, yikes.

6. The recipe instructs you to freeze the crumble made with melted butter while you put the cake together. So, you do. But after putting it in the freezer and before making the cake batter you spend 15 minutes at the piano, comb and braid your daughter’s wet hair, chat to your uncle when he comes to pick up your cousin, and load the the dishwasher. Then you make your cake batter. Then you go to retrieve the crumble from the freezer, and it’s frozen solid.

7. Microwave the frozen crumble. But not too much! Damn.

8. Manage to “sprinkle” the half-frozen-glob, half melty-hot-sand crumble over the cake pan of batter. Admire the way it looks in your cute heart-shaped pan. Is the heart-shaped pan a 9 inch pan, per the recipe? Oh, probably. Prepare to put the cake in the oven in triumph.

9. Wait, what the fuck are those 2 eggs doing sitting there?

10. Frantically scrape crumble globs off of batter into a bowl. Yell to your son that you’ll “be right up, just a minute!” Dump batter from cake pan into a different bowl and whisk in two eggs as best you can. (Don’t over mix! Ha!) Dump bright yellow slimy batter back into cake pan and re-distribute sticky, wonky crumble mess on top. Aaaand into the oven it goes!

11. Read bedtime story to son while chuckling to yourself about all the near disasters this cake has been through. Consider if you will tell the book club the story, or just let them eat the cake in blissful ignorance. It’ll no doubt still taste fine. Cake is delicious.

12. Upon exiting son’s room, notice the house smells like it’s on fire. Shit.

13. Dash down to the kitchen to find that the cake is running over the cute heart-shaped pan, dripping on to the heating coil, and smoking out the whole kitchen. Guess that pan isn’t 9 inches! Good thing you have another oven!

14. Open the oven door and the kitchen door to air out the kitchen, and put the cake into the other oven with a cookie sheet underneath it this time. Cross your fingers, re-set the timer, and head up to say goodnight to your daughter.

15. Come down to find the timer going off, and realize upon checking the cake that you never turned the second oven on. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

16. Turn on the second oven and just leave the stupid cake in there instead of pre-heating and just re-set the timer for an approximate amount of time and just let the stupid cake do its stupid best in there. Do the cake-related dishes. Fume.

17. Pull the cake out when the timer goes off. It looks NOTHING like the cake your friend made—hers was pillowy and pale and crumby, yours looks flat, crispy, and deep brown. The crumble has flattened into the batter while it cooked, or maybe it all ran off into the top oven and there IS no crumble made with ginger candy instead of candied ginger anymore. The cake smells a little singed, but the small taste you break off is inconclusive. It’s sweet, certainly. It probably tastes horrible. Burned and dry and crispy and horrible.

18. Take the cake to book club.

Hey kids! Tune in next time to find out how the cake was received!!!!!


You had two glasses of wine and told the whole table the mini version of this tale of woe. AND you brought back-up store-bought pie because who would try the cake after all this ridiculousness? But your loyal book club friends DID try the cake, and they totally ignored the strange burnt flavor, and they didn’t even touch the store-bought pie. Because they are lovely ladies and nice friends. Who you hope are not currently suffering from severe indigestion.

Look at all the delicious food people brought! (Cake of shame not pictured, OBVIOUSLY.)

Look at all the delicious food people brought! (Cake of shame not pictured, OBVIOUSLY.) Photo courtesy the lovely Katie Barr.

I basically tried to poison these sweet people.

I basically tried to poison these sweet people. (One of whom is the lovely Katie Barr, who also took this photo.)

Find another post about baking adventures here if that’s your jam. Heh heh.

2 Responses to “Cake Club”

  1. flamingg May 29, 2014 at 9:55 pm #

    another beauty of a post!

  2. Susan McCulley June 2, 2014 at 6:36 pm #

    And in only 18 steps! Bonus!

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