One of my baking projects over the last holiday was an apple gingerbread cake.
The idea appealed to me: apples sautéed in butter, molasses, served with heavy cream. How could I go wrong? Famous last words, as it turned out. To be sure, the result was delicious, but it was nowhere near as pretty as it could have been due to just one simple oversight. Or to put it another way, as I said to a software engineer colleague one time, “That’s a bug.” He replied, “Well, it’s not optimal.” I’ve been using “not optimal” to describe my screw-ups ever since.
Anyway, the error in my execution of the apple gingerbread cake recipe was very simple error: when I layered the sautéed apple slices into the mold, forming what would subsequently be the top of the cake, I didn’t push down the apple slices down into the caramel hard enough and the result was some air pockets under the apple slices. When I poured the batter on top of the apple slices, some of the batter seeped down beneath the slices and as a result, ruined the top of the cake. You can probably see in the pic above bits of cake oozing and seeping past the apple slices.
Now that didn’t affect the way the cake tasted. It was delicious. Unfortunately, I believe that one eats with all of one’s senses, and if what one is eating is beautiful, that would only add to the experience. I guess it’s one mistake I will not make again any time soon.