This week my silly little blog turns five years old. So in tradition, I bake a cake. And of course, if you’ve been following the blog all these years, you know that my baking projects start with so much promise, but always take a severe downward turn from the moment I turn on the oven. Last year’s cake was the ill-fated Ninja Turtle cake.
This year’s cake idea came to me from Facebook, after someone from high school shared some ridiculous-sounding cake recipe that involved mixing together cake and brownie batter. It seemed like less of a recipe idea and more like a death-row prisoner’s last meal request. But then the idea of “last meal request” cake stuck with me.
I pitched the idea to the wife, who immediately understood it. “It would be like something you see on Pinterest,” she said. My vision for the cake became more clear — a death row Pinterest cake. And with that, I set out to the grocery store.
In the cake aisle, I chose products recklessly, whimsically. I’d start with vanilla cake. Then I’d take cookie dough and spread it on top. What about mini-marshmallows? Throw ‘em the basket. Then the next layer would be brownies. And on top of that? An entire bag of white-chocolate chocolate-chips. Or Food Lion-brand “white baking chips.” Whatever, I’m sure they’re the same thing. Then I’d frost it all with hot pink frosting.
I also picked up a carton of eggs, four sticks of butter, cooking spray, and the economy-size bottle of vegetable oil. I realized I was going to need a bigger boat, so I also purchased a Thanksgiving-roaster-sized foil pan.
Now like I said, I’ve been doing this blog for five years. I’ve bought some strange combinations of things over the years. But never once has a check-out cashier so much as raised an eyebrow at me. Yesterday, that streak ended.
The Food Lion clerk dude was suspicious. Very suspicious. He rang up the marshmallows and cake mix. And chocolate chips. And cookie mix.
“You got a sweet tooth or something?” he asked.
I uttered a simple, conversation-ending “Yep.”
But I was suddenly aware that I had a conveyor belt full of cake mix, cookie mix, brownie mix, marshmallows, chocolate chips, a tub of pink frosting, four sticks of butter, a carton of eggs, an above-ground swimming-pool container of vegetable oil, and a freaking oven roaster pan. The cashier became aware, too.
“What are you making?” he asked.
In my mind, I quickly ran through the list of socially-acceptable answers, of which there none.
I’m making a cake for my blog’s fifth birthday? No.
I’m baking a cake for a death row prisoner? No.
Because it’s already football season and I still don’t fit into my lucky XXXXL sweatpants? No.
It’s actually all part of evil plot to feed a small army of children who will go on a psychosugar takeover of the world? No.
“A science experiment,” I said, wondering if I sounded at all believable.
He inspected the oven roaster pan. “Is this for some kind of monster cake?”
“Something like that,” I said. And thankfully we got to that part where he asked if I had the savings card and I awkwardly dug through my wallet for ten years looking for it. I gathered up my bags quickly and shamefully, as I could feel the cashier still watching me.
So we begin.
Since I’m secretly imagining that my death row psychosugar cake recipe is going to go viral on Pinterest, I guess people would want some kind of instructions. I decided not to worry about important things like baking times and temperature. Basically, you dump all of this crap into the pan, and then just bake it until it seems good enough. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to hose down the oven-roaster pan in cooking spray.
The first layer is the cake layer. It’s pretty straight-forward.
Then add half a bag of mini-marshmallows. Or the entire bag. It’s really up to you and how much you’re really concerned about this thing overflowing the pan and blowing up the oven. I have a wife who will destroy me if I make a cake volcano in the oven. Half a bag seems on the safe side.
Next up: cookies. Just plop them on there somehow. It’ll all work out in the end.
And then: the most epic layer of them all — THE WHITE-CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE-CHIP LAYER. Just dump that entire bag on there. Seriously, when are you ever going to use them again? Just do it.
Finally, the brownie layer. And whoa dude. Shake and Pour Brownies? Who knew something this awesome existed? “Just add water.” Love those three magic words.
There it is, a final glimpse before its voyage in the oven. Godspeed, death row cake.
I checked the oven nervously at five minute intervals to make sure this thing wasn’t overflowing the pan. Fortunately, it never did, but I was disappointed to see it wasn’t magically forming into this perfect five-layer cake. I mean, I guess there’s a craft and skill to it. I JUST WANTED IT TO HAPPEN.
Instead, it formed into this black hole sucking a cake into itself. Or like a wild life video where a snake is swallowing a baby hippo.
It took about an hour to bake it fully until it wasn’t completely raw in the middle. It may still be partially raw in the middle at this point, but I really didn’t have the patience to continue on with it.
You should really wait like a millions hours to let the cake cool before frosting it. In the meantime, you should be cleaning up the three hundred bowls and spoons and spatulas it took to mix up this thing. Or you can just leave it all in the sink overnight and hope the wife is cool with that.
Here is your coveted money shot of the cake. Taste-wise, it’s like a fine wine where you have to detect the subtle hits of marshmallow and sugar cookie. Actually, it just tastes like a big gloppy pile of sweet. It’s almost like cheesecake in its richness. I think it’s that white chocolate that overpowers everything.
Serving suggestion is absolutely none of it, but if you must, it would probably be like no more than one square inch. Seriously because, you have a piece, and you say to yourself, yeah brain, you had just a piece of cake and it’s no big deal.
But your body knows. It knows. It knows it did not have “just a piece of cake.” And one day, it will get you back for that. So remember, if you make this at home, follow my recipe exactly, and most importantly, don’t forget to have a cover story to feed the cashier.