Every Easter for the past bunch of years we've gone to my cousin and his wife's house for brunch. They do an easter egg hunt for the littler kids, and everyone hangs out eating way too much food. That's kind of it in a nutshell.
Every year I offer to bring something to add to the brunch, and this year I was asked to bring coffee cake like I'd brought to a little get together we'd had back in January. The coffee cake I'd made then had pears, but I didn't have pears on hand – I had a lot of apples. And I didn't, for some rebellious reason, want to make the same exact thing I'd made before.
So I looked through various baking books and ended up combining elements of two different recipes I'd found. One recipe was for a sour cream coffee cake and the other was for a German Apple Cake.
I also decided to use a bundt-like pan rather than the 8" x 8" square pan I'd used last time.
So yesterday morning, while the kids ate their Easter Candy and Bill put teak oil on our outdoor chairs and table, I gathered ingredients greased the pan and preheated the oven and measured and whisked and sliced and mixed and so forth.
The coffee cake went into the oven a little after 9:00 – plenty of time to bake and unmold it before we had to leave the house. I set the timer to go off about halfway through the 50 minutes to an hour bake time, made myself some toast for breakfast, got a book, and enjoyed the relative peace and quiet for a while.
When I checked the cake, it looked a bit messy. Globs of the batter had overflowed, which didn't surprise me because the pan had been filled pretty close to the top. I wasn't worried though – the cake itself looked like it was coming along fine. And it smelled very, very good – cinnamony and sweet and yummy. I reset the timer and went back to my book.
Next time I looked, the cake was still a little jiggly in the middle, so I set the timer for another ten or fifteen minutes, just to be sure, and, yes, went back to my book again. It's so rare that I can sit and read and not be interrupted.
Bill came in to clean the teak oil off his hands. The timer went off. I took the pan out and set it on a rack to cool. I trimmed the bits of cake off of the rim of the pan (from where it had spilled over) and went upstairs to take a quick shower and get dressed.
I had the kids get dressed, Bill was dressed, I was dressed – all that was left was for me to unmold the cake and drizzle a bit of glaze on top.
I inverted the cake onto the rack and tipped it out. Perfect. It looked very pretty. I whisked together confectioners' sugar, milk, and lemon zest. Then I realized the cake should be on the plate when I glazed it, because moving it AFTER glazing would be really messy.
Then I flipped the cake over onto the cutting board (planning to then invert it onto its plate) and it promptly broke apart.
A few choice, non-Eastery words flew out of my mouth, and Bill came into the kitchen to see what had happened.
He stared at it for a minute, and then said "You should just put it on a plate and bring it anyway." He tasted a piece. "It still tastes good."
So I did. I lifted the broken sections of cake onto the plate, drizzled glaze over the whole thing, covered the plate with foil, and off we went.
At one point I saw two people peering closely at my cake, probably trying to decide what it had been when it was alive. One of them bravely took a piece and tried it. And nodded. It was edible, at least.
And sometimes, that's all that matters.