In which I lose my job but gain a Caribbean cake.
So, at the end of March, I was made redundant at my job. I was laid off. I was given the ol' heave-ho AND the boot. I was definitively canned. My position at the company was terminated. My ass was FIRED (as well as the rest of me). (It would be ineffectual to fire only my buttocks.)
Unfortunately, I don't have any drama to report. Hundreds of other people were laid-off, too. A termination story is really only GOOD when there's a great story behind it. Instead, the company simply didn't want to pay us, anymore. I wouldn't particularly want to give them any of MY money, either, so I can't hold it against them. It's a mutual break-up in that they've broken up with me, and I've decided not to stalk them on Facebook. (That is what's meant by a mutual break-up, right? No?)
I'm extremely lucky to still have part-time work (because I never, EVER have only one job--I trust no one, and certainly no corporation, that much), but, as my daily work tapered to a much smaller flow, I somehow had less time and less inclination to do the stuff I should have had plenty of time and inclination to do . . . baking and blogging about baking, primarily. And also eating vegetables. And cleaning the house. And meditating. And watching documentaries and pretending to give a sh*t about them. Somehow, all of that got postponed BECAUSE THE JOB SEARCH PROCESS IS SO FREAKING TIME-CONSUMING.
"Thank you for applying for this position with our company. Even though you already filled out one web form with your entire employment history and submitted your resume that details your entire employment history from this life, you'll need to fill out this other form in order to further detail your entire employment history for this life *and all previous lives.* And even though you've already sent requests for official transcripts to all colleges and universities that you've attended, we're going to need you to also request unofficial transcripts that you will then cover with glitter and unicorn hair before mailing them to us encased in an antique humidor. Please note that all documents must be submitted within 1.5 days' time. Thank you for your attention to this matter."
But, also, it turns out that, the less work I have to do, the dumber I get. A couple of my friends are also looking for jobs right now, and we've decided that we're all rabidly stupid as a result of not working. We're like Elaine in that Seinfeld episode where she stopped having sex and got progressively dumber.
What this means is that I finally logged in to my blog tonight to finally blog about a baking experience I had . . . oh, four or five weeks ago. Who can count that high? Keeping track is hard.
What I do know is that I chose to bake Paul Hollywood's Caribbean cake several weeks go on a Sunday, when I had more work to do and, thus, life force. (I might possibly have a small work addiction, but it allows me to do things like buy us all clothes and go out to eat and go to the movies without stressing so much about money, which means that I enthusiastically enable my own work addiction. I might possibly be going through work withdrawal. I blame my Midwestern work ethic.)
Bread has turned out to be my JAM--I love baking bread, all kinds and shapes of bread--but it's nice to bake something that doesn't require hours of rising and proofing time occasionally, so I was excited to choose a recipe from How to Bake that wasn't bread. I made the Caribbean cake for my husband, specifically, because I don't like most of the ingredients required--coconut, dried cherries, raisins, almonds, etc., etc., etc. It is chock full of stuff. If you prefer plain cakes, this is not the cake for you. As I've mentioned before, I'm really learning that the British (very generally speaking) love to pack their cakes and breads with dried fruits. Can't get enough of them! They love dried fruits like Americans love cheeseburgers, which is a whole helluva lot. However, if you love cakes that have a lot of "interest," you should give this recipe a whirl. Even I have to admit that it turned out gorgeous-looking and -smelling. (But I still didn't eat it because coconut freaks me out. It has a weird mouthfeel, like tiny, flat insects that taste like suntan lotion.)
The recipe isn't available online, and I'm definitely not going to type it all out (I'm jobless and unmotivated--leave me alone). However, the kindle version of How to Bake is only $4.61, and kindle apps are free if you don't happen to have a kindle. Buy the kindle copy and enjoy the whole book!
This is the Caribbean cake:
You'll notice that there is a tube of coconut filling running through the middle of it . . . I didn't pay close enough attention to the picture when I was putting the cake together, so my coconut filling ended up being more towards the top. (But I think it's prettier my way, anyway.)
We couldn't find candied cherries, so Terry bought dried, cherry-flavored cranberries because those are the same. (They're not the same.)
I'm not going to lie to you; putting a Caribbean cake together is not exciting and literally couldn't be more straightforward. There were not many picture opportunities. It was like taking pictures of someone assembling a TV tray.
As you can see in the picture above, the dough was super chunky. I started calling it Super Chunk . . . because I had nothing better to do.
Here is the dough in the pan:
Then it was time to make the coconut tunnel, which I enjoyed more than I was probably meant to, but, as I may have mentioned, I was bored.
I forgot to take a picture of the filled coconut tunnel. Very disappointed in myself.
And that was the end of the Caribbean cake prep. The only thing left was the bakin'.
Here is where I admit to you that I use one of those cheap meat thermometers when baking that they sell in random hanging displays in the aisles at grocery stores. I looked up the internal temperature for cooked bread (plain and enriched) and cakes so that I can tell when they're done inside. It's WEIRDLY difficult to tell sometimes when a loaf of bread or bready cake is done. I needed that horrible thermometer for this cake because it's quite thick--very easy for it to be not done in the middle. When the internal temperature reached 200 degrees F, I took it out.
My cake turned out quite CRAGGY, like the faces of the handsome cowboys they used to use in cigarette commercials. I'm not sure what the texture means; I only know that it looked different from the picture in the cookbook. That cake was quite smooth.
My cake did not get too brown on top, but, if your cake starts browning too much when the middle isn't quite done, yet, you can tent the cake with aluminum foil.
It's quite beautiful inside:
Isn't the coconut filling pretty? I had to respect it, even though I hated it.
I wasn't quite sure that it was REALLY cooked through after cutting it open, but Terry insisted that it was. I choose to believe him because not believing him would have required too much mental energy. For the jobless, doubt is a luxury.
You won't believe this, but, after trying the cake, Terry said, and I quote, "This is the best thing you've made from that cookbook so far, hands down." Seriously? Better than the challah? That can't really be true. But he insisted that it was true, and I chose not to doubt him because of, you know, the mental apathy.
So there you have it, my friends. I've finally overcome the GIGANTIC HURDLE of Unemployment Brain to write a blog entry about cake I won't eat. But it was apparently really delicious cake, so I felt like the effort was worth it. However, I still refuse to eat vegetables. Work or no work, vegetables are disgusting.