Sunday, November 07, 2010

how not to adjust for self raising flour

Yesterday was the day for cooking with a little friend who visits regularly, so I opted for the easiest cake recipe around: 'Any time chocolate cake' from The Women's Weekly Quick Mix Cakes. I've made it so many times I can almost do it with my eyes shut.

Lately I have taken to not buying self raising flour. There is a half baked reason in my head, but it is slightly crazy and indefensible, having to do with organic wheat and calico bags. So I've been adding baking powder, cream of tartar and sodium bicarbonate to plain flour as per the reliable instructions of a trusty 'substitutes' page. Everything turned out just fine, but yesterday I had run out of baking powder.

'No worries,' I thought, 'baking powder is just cream of tartar and sodium bicarbonate so I'll add extra of both and she'll be right.'

I was a little foggy on ratios of bicarb to cream of tartar, but I sallied forth undeterred. I didn't even bother getting out the trusty 'substitutes' page, because I've done this enough times now to know. Yes I have.

Cue sloshing around a few teaspoons of bicarb here, a bit of cream of tartar there, mixing up the cake and (voila) into the oven. I didn't think about it really - the batter tasted good and it all looked fine.

Forty minutes later we removed the cake from the oven. Actually, that's not quite true, because quite a bit of it is still stuck to the floor of the oven (I hate cleaning ovens)... we removed a gooey mess of tin and what would better be described as chocolate pudding. There was burnt cake around the tin, dripping off shelves and (as I said) baked onto the oven floor.

How could this be? My favourite recipe! The easy one that works every time! What had we done to create this disaster in its stead?

And then it dawned on me. Plain flour, no baking powder, lashings of bicarb... I had inadvertently created a bubbling mess.

Kinda funny I think. And it still tasted good, especially with a scoop of ice cream!

(Now, where's my shopping list? Baking powder Self raising flour it is for me)

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At 9:20 pm, November 07, 2010, Anonymous 2paw said...

Oh no, you poor thing!! I only buy plain flour now because you can bet your bottom dollar that whatever I went to cook, I had the OTHER flour. I make my own baking powder too. I think maybe you should measure and not slosh!! Did you use tartaric acid instead of cream of tartar??
Glad it all ended up happily eaten after!!

At 10:24 pm, November 07, 2010, Blogger cecily said...

Ooh, all fixed up now Cindy! I said 'tartaric acid' for literary variation (I thought they were close enough!), but have corrected it. :-)

What ratio do you use for the baking powder?

At 10:06 am, November 08, 2010, Blogger Cherie said...

Sounds like a glorious mad-scientist scientific experiment. How did your little assistant find the adventure?

At 11:49 am, November 08, 2010, Blogger Sandy's Notes said...

"What had we done to create this disaster in its stead?" this is my favorite quote. So when did it become "we" instead of "I"! This is great, I'll bet it was perfect for conversation.


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