There are a lot of things you don’t think you’ll be worrying about as an adult. Like standing in the toilet paper aisle and trying to decide which you should buy—the quilted strong+soft or the ultra plush (is there a difference? Has anyone tested this?). Then there are the mistakes: some only slightly annoying, some really bad, and others costly. But the main thing is, there is no avoiding mistakes.
It’s pretty much the same thing in the kitchen. Like the Swiss meringue buttercream I tried to make when I threw my friend a baby shower back in September.
The Swiss Meringue Buttercream Story
Swiss meringue buttercream isn’t horribly difficult to make, but it can be finicky. I’d made it a few times before, however, and didn’t feel like it would be a problem.
However, I also didn’t have my usual tools, like my beautiful soft yellow KitchenAid® stand mixer because I decided to make the cake/frosting at my mom’s house. Why? The shower was being held there instead of my small apartment and I didn’t feel like hauling things back and forth.
Of course, what was supposed to be a beautiful buttercream broke which means it turned into an ugly, watery and separated mess:
Let me tell you, I was near tears thinking I would have to run out to buy more supplies and start all over again when I was already far off my schedule.
The frosting did finally come together, but that wasn’t the end of it. The chocolate chips I put into the cake sunk to the bottom, leaving me with a 4-layered cake with chocolate chips on the top of the top layer and the bottom of the bottom layer (see the image at the top of this blog).
But finally, the un-chocolate-balanced-cake was frosted and ready to be decorated. I left the kitchen for a second, and this happened:
Yes, someone (a big, crazy someone) decided to take a nimble nibble out of the frosting. I was able to turn the cake around and just serve the front half, no one the wiser or having to eat from cake nibbled by a crafty doodle:
What’s the point of this story?
Kitchen mistakes happen. This entire blog is about teaching the very basics of cooking, and it’s important to realize that when you’re cooking, mistakes happen (someday I’ll tell you all about the time I tried to bake a cake for my cousin’s birthday party—it ended up looking like someone had been murdered in the kitchen…). They happen no matter how much experience you have. Some things are fixable, some things are not.
So I’m going to be relating “kitchen fail” stories just to let you know that it’s completely okay to mess up in the kitchen. I’ve often been told that one thing holding people back from cooking is the fear of failure. And as with everything else, if you’re okay with the possibility of failure you’ll go a lot further.
In the end, the cake for my friend’s shower turned out okay, but then just last month I made my mother-in-law a cake with whipped cream—simple whipped cream—and what happened? It separated!
I think I made the mistake of grabbing a shelf-stable box (yes, box) of whipped cream because it was a last minute cake (long story) and that was the best I could find. But really? Who knows. Kitchen mistakes happen to everyone.
And you know what? It might seem like the end of the world, but it’s not. It’s just food and you’ll get a chance to try again (and again and again). Plus, you can get some good stories out of it!
So that’s my post for this week and you can be sure I’ll be sharing my kitchen disaster stories with you in the future just to show that it happens.
‘Till next time!
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I love the story and picture of the cake nibbled by the crafty doodle and your assurances that it happens to everyone. Thanks.
I’m glad you liked it! 🙂