German Chocolate Cake - it's sort of a tradition around here. My mom always made it for my dad on his birthday and probably Father's Day as well. A few years ago, I took over the tradition. So far, I haven't made a cake as good as my mom's. Usually the problem is that they fall. They completely collapse in the center and I end up piling on the frosting to hide it. I thought I'd found the perfect recipe this year. Usually I make three cake layers, but something happened to my third pan. I came up with the brilliant (hah!) idea of putting more batter into two larger pans.
I could smell the burning about 10 minutes before the smoke alarms went off. If you know anything about baking with egg whites it's that you don't want to open the oven door before the baking time is over. It will result in instant collapse. I turned on the light and when I could see that it was just a few drips on the bottom of the oven, I thought it would be alright to finish making the cakes and then clean the oven at some other time far in the future.
A few drips turned into major spillage and 6-8 inch flames (as the drips on the rack caught fire from the drips on the element). And that meant collapse or no collapse I had to open the door 7 minutes before the timer was due to go off. To make it even more exciting, Miss Ellie was home from church with a cough and she was terrified out of her mind. She kept screaming, "Make it stop, make it stop!"
I blew out the flames -three times- and then began beating them with the hotpad, wouldn't that have been par for the course if it had caught fire as well? I hadn't noticed how the house was steadily filling with smoke, I just thought it smelled funny.
I kept running around opening windows and turning on fans and waving magazines under the smoke alarms all while keeping my eye on the billowing oven in case the flames decided to start back up. And things were a little dicey there for a second.
I only had two hours before everyone arrived to clean the oven, air out the place, and fumigate it with Oust (which mostly worked). Then I tried to make lemonade with my cake lemons. The poor cake wasn't even two inches tall.
Oh well, there's always next year. Mr. O was sweet and told me it was delicious. I love that man.