Another Fugly Cake

It happened again you guys. Another fugly cake was baked, and this one possibly more fugly than the last one. And definitely more dangerous.

Surely you all remember last Thanksgiving when my mom baked that strange pumpkin cake? A laughable little cake, albeit tasty, that defied all of the norms and melted our hearts with its goofy black liquorice grin and lazy lime candy eye. This next cake won’t be melting any hearts. It’s just gunna melt a slow and painful death, unfinished in the fridge. And to be frank, it might even cause a few nightmares before it goes the way of the trash bin.

My sister texted me a couple of weeks ago with a potentially tasty cake recipe for my upcoming birthday. She called it “a raspberry jelly roll toblerone ice cream cake” and I was all for it. She’s a great baker, I’ve absolutely no reason to distrust her intentions. I like to eat, and I like all of those things. If I were more than an occasional Pillsbury baker, I might have spared a moment’s thought for execution. How exactly does one pull off “a raspberry jelly roll toblerone ice cream cake”?

Simply put, they don’t.

another fugly cake

The internet can be both weird and wonderful all at once. Apparently the recipe for this glob of cake above comes to us courtesy of the internet. I recommend that the recipe be sent immediately to the bowels of the internet to live out the rest of its days in unseen obscurity. For the greater good.

This cake was both ugly, and uncomfortable to eat. All of the individual components taste good on their own. I’m not going to argue that. But united, they are an ill-combined slight against the palate. It’s a Franken-cake, that’s what it is. All of these scavenged parts mashed together and brought to life at the hands of a madwoman. It’s a crime against baking. Actually, this was my sister’s “no bake” solution for a hectic weekend that lent no free time for actual baking, but even so, it’s a crime against something. We can all agree on that.

The ice cream had been seriously overpowered by all of the other ingredients. A couple of times I bit into the frozen berries and suffered immediate brain freeze. I chomped and slurped my way through the generous helping I’d been served, then begged off of seconds. Please sir, I don’t want some more!

Feast your eyes upon its heinous and hateful innards, if you dare.

it's black innards

Others were less critical than I. My uncle commented that it was “crunchy and cool”. I don’t know about you, but I don’t consider “crunchy” a desirable quality for a cake. I prefer something smooth, generally. And maybe with an even consistency. I don’t like it when I’m eating cake and every bite needs to be taken with caution. It felt like I was engaged in a risky battle to maintain the integrity of my teeth.

We suffered through our slices, some more than others, and eventually, this fugly cake was drained of all its fight. It began the slow, melting death that it deserved. And I rejoiced. Go back from whence you came, villain! Back to the pit of hell from which you’d managed a dastardly, if only temporary, escape. And henceforth, the good people of our household shall partake of smoother and more aesthetically pleasing desserts. Cue the applause.

it's dying!

Looking at the demon Franken-cake again, reliving all the not-so-fond memories, I know that my sister’s intentions were pure. It just didn’t work out. That happens sometimes, that’s life. But I would never want to discourage anyone from trying; I very much appreciated the effort. Trying is what makes us great. If we try and we fail, that’s okay. Hell, it’s preferable because it gives us a chance to learn. We’ll just try again. And eventually, we will soar.

I tangled with another fugly cake this weekend and I still have all of my original teeth. I’m counting that as one of my successes for this year.

Happy birthday to me.

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A Fugly Cake

My mom is crazy. Just, like, totally nuts.

I don’t know if she’s always been crazy, or if I’m just noticing it more now. It’s possible that she was just as crazy as she is now when I was younger but I was too self-involved to notice. Either way, she’s fucking crazy, you can trust me when I say that. And she reads this blog, so please know that I mean that in the best possible way, Ma.

It’s always something. Every time we head back home for a family thing or a holiday there’s some new strain of craziness that’s making its way around. It’s usually harmless though. Just some run-of-the-mill everyday insanity that we can all have a good chuckle about. Like the time she thought her eyesight had drastically worsened overnight, but then realized that the dog had just chewed the lenses out of her glasses. Or the time she thought that “bobody” was a word. That time she punched the neighbour’s lights out, with an admittedly precise uppercut. And who could forget the slew of wildly inappropriate jokes she’s always got handy for the telling. Seriously, a couple of weeks ago she told me this joke about a woman who masturbated with a Chiquita banana and insisted that it was just a “cute little joke”.

It’s just part of the deal I guess. You go back home, you have some craziness, and then you have to leave so all the crazy can start regenerating again for your next visit.

We went home for a belated Thanksgiving dinner last weekend and the craziness was in full force, let me tell you. There was that mothering intensity over my fracture, mom wanting to dope me up with all kinds of old pills she had leftover from her accident a few years ago. Which is sweet, that she’s so concerned. But really, I’m not just going to start taking a bunch of dusty old pills because a) who the hell knows what will happen to me if I do and b) I’m not insane. Then she pulled out some weird plastic contraption, from who the hell knows where, that supposedly helps you make your own ribbons and bows. It’s a technological revolution, I tells ya! Inevitably, the insistence that she needed help figuring out how it works followed. But that turned out to be a reasonable enough request once I opened the instruction manual and immediately noticed no less than ten typos. Again, where did this ridiculous thing even come from? Doesn’t matter anyway does it? You know the end result will be the same. We did our best with it, but damn did that plastic piece of shit ever cause a world of unnecessary frustration. Then there was also the bartering of her crocheting skills in return for a 50 lb bag of potatoes from a relative. And there was family and neighbourhood gossip peppered in for good measure, because let’s be real here, everyone is crazy and it wouldn’t be the holidays if we didn’t make time to swap all of our respective stories on the continual craziness that colours our collective lives.

And then, of course, there was the Thanksgiving dessert.

Normal families would just have pumpkin or apple pie and call it a day. But not us, oh no. Mom decided to be creative this year and try something different…

fugly cake

It’s different alright.

I took one look at that lump of frosting and wondered if maybe my mom had started dropping acid on her days off. Probably not, but a cake like that does bring up a lot of questions.

It’s two pumpkin cakes that were made in bundt pans and then stacked and iced to look like a pumpkin. For decorative flair there’s also a black liquorice stump and some candied leaves on his head, and a delightfully retarded little face. But that’s not all! Inside the pumpkin cake awaited another strange surprise…

back of fugly cake's head

Might be a little tough to see, but the fugly pumpkin cake’s head was filled with little pumpkin candies. So when we sliced it open it felt like we were all working together to perform a risky and delicate brain surgery. Or, you know, committing a really fucked up murder.

The cake itself was actually really good. Moist, light, and sweet. Covered all the bases in terms of what you’d want from a cake. We always used to love helping my mom with her baking when we were little. It was fun. She made a lot of carrot cakes, which I always loved. But they’d usually just have a nice light dusting of icing sugar on top. And banana bread. Oh hells yes, my ma could make the best banana bread you ever had the pleasure of eating. But the homemade baked goods of my youth were much more modest in appearance than my mom’s current day creations.

I’m not sure which I prefer.

On the one hand, I see a cake like that fugly little pumpkin one and I worry that a couple more of mom’s screws have tumbled loose. On the other hand, I kind of enjoy the zany, if not slightly affected, manner her cakes have recently adopted. Not a lot of people can say that they got to eat a cake that had a lazy eye.

fugly cake too

And I suppose that’s kind of special. Like my Ma.

She’s crazy, most assuredly crazy, but in a very special way. It’s okay though. I dig it, Ma. After a bit of consideration I think you should keep the weird little cakes coming. They’re fun, and they’re offbeat. Just like you.