Cooking Catastrophe Stories: Creativity Turned Disaster Into Perfection

A personal account of a cooking catastrophe.

HOH-Cake Ingredients

Creativity Turned Disaster Into Perfection

Lucie Rihova/Fotolia

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I decided to invite my boss and his wife over for dinner. I hadn’t invited them over since I’d started working for him, so this was my first dinner party with them, and I wanted it to be a memorable occasion.

I lived on a budget, and when I went to the store to buy the ingredients needed to prepare the meal and dessert, I spent the last of my household allowance for the month. It didn’t matter, though, because this was a special dinner.

Preparing the menu

I put a ham and scalloped potatoes in the oven to bake, and then I fixed a salad and prepared a fancy vegetable tray and stuck them in the refrigerator to stay cold. Then, for dessert, I made a lemon cake and planned to frost it with vanilla icing.

All was going well. I checked the ham and potatoes, and they were cooked perfectly. The salad and veggie tray were ready. The cake was cooling, and all that was left was to frost it.

Finishing touch

I got out my special cake plate and prepared to finish up the cake. However, when I transferred the cake to the serving plate, the cake cracked all the way across the center and nearly to the bottom of the plate.

There was no time – and no extra money – to go to the store and buy another cake. I knew I had to find a way to salvage the disastrous dessert.

With the “split cake” still on the cake plate, I gently covered it with white icing. However, it still didn’t look presentable. What was I going to do?

I cut a 3-by-3-inch piece of paper, and then I went to the typewriter. On the paper, I typed three words, then removed the paper from the typewriter. I then taped the piece of paper to a toothpick and stuck it on top, near the edge, of the cracked cake. I stepped back and looked at my artwork. Yes, it would work, I decided.

Unforgettable meal

When my boss and his wife arrived, we sat down to dinner, and the meal was wonderful. When it came time for dessert, I brought out the cake.

On my so-called sign were the words, “GRAND CANYON CAKE.” It was a huge hit. My boss raved about how deliciously “novel” it was, and his wife insisted I give her the recipe.

San Diego