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Saturday, October 30, 2004


The Super Exciting Halloween Cake Adventure: Part One of a Thriling, Two-Part Tale

I was in Winco (!!!) a few weeks back hunting for pumpkins and pumpkin-related products when I spotted a display near the entrance: "Cake mix .98 cents." I was skeptical until I got a look at the ribbon near the Betty Crocker logo. Having never baked a cake, I took the .98 cent sign as a, well, sign and bought a box along with a container of frosting and something called "writing gel." This wasn't going to be just any cake, oh no. This little box would no doubt yield the greatest Halloween cake ever created by human hands.

Sometime later, I assembled all the necessary ingredients and got to work. Since I don't own baking stuff, I substituted a Terminator mug from Universal Studios. One Arnie skull seemed about the size of standard measuring cup. I tossed in eggs, water and the dry powered mix. What resulted was a weird, lumpy florescent yellow concoction that looked golden retriever vomit but somehow smelled like cake. Since the scent was in the ballpark, I had to be on the right track. Rather than "beat" the resulting glop I made due with a plastic spoon. Would the difference between stirring and beating really make that much of a difference?

Now it was time for a taste test. Everyone knows that cookie dough is great despite the warnings that the raw eggs contained within can cause salmonella and/or baby chicks to hatch in your stomach. Various ice cream companies apparently never got the memo on this and started sticking the stuff in their products as far back as the early '90s. If cookie dough earns the Ben and Jerry's seal of approval, surely cake glop is safe for human consumption.

I grabbed a spoon and took a sip. It tasted sort of like a lukewarm cake milkshake. Not bad, not bad at all. Why even bother to stick this stuff in the oven? It was great as is. Instead of grabbing a straw I decided to continue working my way down Betty Crocker's recipe. After all, what else was I going to do with the frosting and that tube of mysterious writing gel?

It wasn't until then that it dawned on me that I don't own any sort of a cake tins. For reasons unknown, I do own two pie pans. Where they came from, I have no idea. For all I know, these pans have somehow followed me over the years from various dorm rooms and dilapidated rental houses, waiting for just the right moment to make themselves known. Overlooking the requirements for depth and width, I dumped the glop into one of the tins.

It filled the tin all the way the top. Hooray! The pie pan was the perfect size. I tossed the pan in the oven and set a stopwatch for 24 minutes. After overcoming a few initial obstacles things were going great. I quickly came to the conclusion that baking is a piece of...something.

Three minutes later a thought occurred to me: while baking, bread rises. Bread is a carb. CAKE IS A...that's right...CARB!

I did the math. The cake glop was now doubt rising and slowly filling my oven with a sticky paste that have to be chiseled off the walls. I pulled myself away from a ROM copy of Zombie Nation and rushed into the kitchen. I had made it in time. The glop hadn't yet invaded the oven.

Rather than make another trip to the store for a proper cake tin, I improvised. This little experiment had already cost me $4 and I wasn't about to drop another $2 on it. I dumped half the glop into the second pie pan. Despite going slowly, 1/4 of it fell on the counter.

After using a spatula to move the spilled glop into one of the tins, I tossed them in the oven. I had concluded that instead of one cake I would have two mini cakes. But why sttle for that when I could simply stack one on the other for a regularly sized masterpiece?

Yes, it was a plan worthy of that one TV chef that was parodied on Futurama. It could not fail.

Or would it?

WHAT A CLIFF-HANGER! Stay tuned for part two of The Super Exciting Halloween Cake Adventure!

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