“Well…at least you tried.”

That’s what my nine year old sister Elizabeth said when I called her into the kitchen to check out my “masterpiece”.

It all started when I saw my step-mom’s Dear Abby cookbook sitting on the counter.  If you don’t know about Dear Abby, then you should. Dear Abby is one of the most famous advice columns ever written. It was started in 1956 by Pauline Phillips writing under the pen name Abigail Van Buren (hence the Abby in Dear Abby).  People write in about personal problems they’re having –  like infidelity, money problems, relationship problems, health situations, sex, drugs, maybe even some rock and roll (I’m not sure; I don’t read it every day) and Dear Abby answers back with some unbiased, insightful, helpful and sometimes harsh advice.

I used to think that all of those people submitting letters were crazy and had way too much time on their hands. That’s the only explanation for why people take the time to sit down and write letters to an imaginary person who may or may not answer. Then I found myself sitting in my parent’s kitchen, thinking about my recent boyfriend problems, wishing I had a Dear Abby of my own!

Flipping through the book I stumbled across a recipe for Dear Abby’s Chocolate Cake (Recipe Link). My parents were on vacation, I couldn’t get advice, I was stressed out and I needed to take my energy out on something! At least this would end in deliciousness. Or so I thought…

Everything started out perfectly fine. I pre-heated the oven to 350 degrees. I melted the butter, water and chocolate in my *make shift* double boiler. (Side note: I was VERY proud of my ingenuity.)

I sifted my flour, baking soda and salt. No problemo!

I poured my chocolate mixture into a separate bowl containing the eggs, sour cream, sugar and vanilla.

Then added the two bowls together, poured the batter (is this the right term?!) into my greased 8” round baking pans, and put them into the oven for 35 minutes.

I washed my hands, cleaned up the kitchen and thought “YOU GO GIRL! You thought this was going to be difficult?” – HAH!

After the 35 minutes I took the cakes out of the oven and set them upside down on a cooling rack. Who told me to do this? I have NO idea. I felt like it was smart because eventually the cakes would just plop out on to the cooling rack. Right? WRONG. They did no such plopping. I used a knife to ease the edge of the cake away from the sides, and then used a rubber spatula to coerce the cake from the bottom. As you can see…not such an awesome idea.

At this moment I still thought I could bounce back – bad hair day? Throw on a hat. Pimple? Put on some extra foundation. Ugly cake? Hide it with frosting! I made Dear Abby’s Fluffy White Frosting (Recipe Link). It looked just like the recipe said it should! Phew!!

Then it went from bad to worse. Is there a “Frosting a Cake for Dummies” book somewhere? Because I thought this was supposed to be the easy part! The cake bits kept getting into the frosting and then I thought I could hide the middle frosting disaster with the top layer but everything was falling apart! Long story short, here is the final picture of my “cake”.

So maybe it looks horrendous, and my baking skills are as bad as I thought. But you know what? This cake tasted FANTASTIC.  So thank you for this recipe Dear Abby. If I can’t solve my troubles I might as well eat them. And hey! “At least I tried.”

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5 thoughts on ““Well…at least you tried.”

  1. To avoid the crumbs, put the cake in the freezer! Take the cake out and frost it while it’s frozen and you won’t break off any crumbs!

    • Thank you! After this cake disaster I googled “how to bake a good cake” and that was one of the recommendations. Also, to take it out of the pan as soon as possible?

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