Speed Baking

by Sarah on January 22, 2011 · 10 comments

So I’m sure you’ve heard of speed skating (or at least a speed skater…you closet “Dancing With The Stars” viewers out there who cheered for Apollo Anton Ohno…{cough, cough} Mama Smart?*).

*Actually, I don’t think she watched Dancing With The Stars. But I feel like she would know him from that. But I bet GRANDmama Smart watched it.

And you’ve definitely heard of speed dating. (Does that even exist anymore? I guess it was replaced by Chat Roulette…does that even exist anymore?)

But I am here to tell you about both the joys….

….and perils….

….of speed baking.

In case you’ve ever wondered what it is like to be my roommate, here is a transcript of last night (although it is a pretty typical situation):

Scene: The Smart Living Room,* 8:00 PM, a typical Friday evening

*Clearly not as awesome a name for a blog as The Smart Kitchen.
What happens in a smart living room? Lots of PBS and Discovery Channel viewing? LAME. I’d rather be in the “Yes I’m smart but I like to watch inane reality TV, high school dramadies, and any type of competitive TV show that exists” Living Room.

(Following an extensive conversation regarding the merits of a grounded, “settled” life and that of a wayfaring wanderer, the thoughts of Miss Smart and her roommate David turn to food.)

David: Man, I could really go for some chocolate cake right now.
Miss Smart: I could make you a cake.
David: I really want a German Chocolate Cake.
Miss Smart: I don’t think I’ve ever made one of those.
David: That would be so good.
Miss Smart: I’ll make you one. I’ll happily make anything as long as I don’t have to pay for the ingredients. Or wash the dishes afterward.*

*So true. So very true.

David: Really?
Miss Smart: Sure, but if it’s something I’ve never made before and/or want to post on the blog in a tutorial format we have to wait until the daytime.*

*So sad. But also very true.

David: You know what else was good? That cherry pie.
Miss Smart: Well, then I’ll make a pie.
David: Oh, but I could do a chocolate pie.
Miss Smart: What about banana pudding? We should turn banana pudding into a pie. Except, no, I’d like to do that for the blog. Maybe tomorrow.

Anyways, this went on for a LOOOOONG time as David debated what type of pie he actually wanted until finally settling back on his original craving for German Chocolate Cake. But by the time he had figured that out, I had already made two Lazy Baker Pie Crusts in the food processor so we figured I should probably go ahead and make cake AND pie. So we made a list of ingredients* and then off he walked to the store down the street while I watched over the frozen pizza that he wanted for dinner. [Lordy I am the best roommate ever. Except for the whole “I hate to clean up the kitchen after I cook” thing.]

*I called out random things I thought I might need and he wrote them down.

And thus began adventures in speed baking. Within two hours I had made two pie crusts, mostly thawed a mix of frozen berries ‘n cherries, baked a cake, made homemade coconut frosting, rolled out pie crusts, baked the pie, and finished off the cake.
The thing about baking is…well…it’s supposed to be an exercise in precision and delicate attention (for the most part). I mean, sure there are quick breads (hello, every banana bread I have ever made) that don’t require a lot of focus or time and won’t be completely screwed up if you rush through it. But if you want your final product to be perfectly composed and beautiful…well, you’ve got to give it some TLC [and I don’t mean the channel featuring reality shows about polygamists, insanely large families, and crazy, fame-obsessed mothers with lots of small children].

What happens when you speed bake?

Well, your pie will still be delicious.

I used the same basic filling recipe as my Cherry Pie, but substituted a mix of frozen raspberries, blackberries, and pitted dark cherries for the cherries, and lime juice instead of orange.
But when you speed bake, you don’t let the frozen berries thaw completely or give yourself time to drain excess water from them….so the juiciness soaks through your pie crust.
And there will be hilarious moments mid-bake that you take the pie out of the oven and attempt to both pour out extra liquid into the sink and blot the juice with a paper towel the way some people try to blot up extra grease on pizza.

Sadly (for you) there are no photographs of me doing that.
When you are speed baking, you’ll also get a little lax on the whole “make sure your pie crust is chilled for a few hours” thing.

So although you’ll be able to mask the frayed and torn edges you created when you haphazardly attempted to roll out a too-soft dough by “crimping” them together…
…the fact that you broke the top crust into three pieces and, instead of trying to re-roll or mold them back together, just draped them over the top of the pie and used the mismatched edges as the ventilation system will be evident in the strange cave-painting-like openings on the top.
Seriously…doesn’t that look like an ancient homonid’s cave drawing of a bird or a pterodactyl or something? It’s like we’re hangin’ with the horses in Lascaux or something.

What about speed baking a cake, you ask?

Well, the thing about cake’s is that store-bought is really just fine to use…so they are inherently quick fix as long as you’ve got all of the ingredients ready to roll. You mix up everything, pour it in a pan or two (or three if you want to be uber-fancy), and let the stove do it’s thing. I made things slightly more time-consuming by making homemade frosting.Since this was German Chocolate Cake, you are supposed to use Coconut-Pecan Caramel Frosting. Apparently, they were out of pecans at the store, so instead, I adapted this Coconut-Pecan Frosting recipe by replacing the pecans with chopped walnuts. Turns out, this was still delicious. [Really, though, how could it NOT be when it’s basically a composition of butter, sugar, and coconut?]But…oops! You know what happens when you don’t let a cake cool all the way and try to frost it [slash] put it together?Uh oh…German Cake is falling down….

This is what we call an earth-cake.Get it? Like instead of earthquake…earth-cake?Sorry. You know I can’t help it.
Clearly it was still delicious, as you can see by the amount of it that was consumed by David last night. [Yes, after eating the entire frozen DiGiorno pizza. I hate boys and their metabolism.]
Maybe speed baking isn’t the best way to impress. But does it really need to be beautiful if it tastes good?I think not.
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Cara January 22, 2011 at 1:42 pm

mmm jealous I wasnt there to try both of those. i am the worst at patience so this all sounds like something that would happen to me.

Mama Smart January 22, 2011 at 1:59 pm

actually I know who Apolllo is because I watched him skate in two Olympics!

Love the pictures and wish I could have some of those desserts.

Maria @ Oh Healthy Day January 22, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Do you need another roommate? I clean, I do laundry, but I also eat a lot. I mean a lot.

Rachel January 22, 2011 at 2:35 pm

I think I need a piece of that cake….NOW!

marie January 22, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Mmmmmm, coconut pecan (walnut) frosting is my favorite. I like nice looking food, but really, I am all about the taste, and that cake looks delicious.

Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean January 22, 2011 at 7:44 pm

girl you were a busy busy bee today! looks so goo!

tehstotehara January 22, 2011 at 8:26 pm

This reminds me of a story from my childhood. My step-mother was always baking things and one day she baked a cake that completely split down the middle so she told me and my brother it was an earthquake cake and we thought it was the best thing ever invented. Apparently my brother still asks her to make it again and she just tells him "No." Hahaha.

Tricia @ Saving room for dessert January 22, 2011 at 10:21 pm

When my pies turn out a little free-form I just call them cobblers! Great looking cake – I bet it was delish.

Eden January 23, 2011 at 1:29 am

First off, I hate men and their metabolisms! I swear they stop adding a tsp of sugar to their coffee and their lovehandles disappear! Its so unfair but we live longer….sigh
I always "speed" bake when i bake because I have little patience. Most cupcakes take only 8-15 minutes. And I'm a big believer in frozen filo dough and puff pastry. Instant homemade baked treats that looked like you put hours of labor into them.

notexactlynormal July 21, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Very nice. ^_^ You're funny.
Definitely checking out your blog from time to time.
You have good stuff here. ^_^

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