Cooking With Tumblr: “Why Are We Here? Just to Suffer?” Edition
Tumblr, I come to you as a woman on the verge of fulfilling her destiny. Thanks to a viral poll by @relientk, the newest meme on Tumblr is vanilla extract, specifically the act of using too much of it. Pure vanilla extract is, of course, expensive and also strong in small amounts. Who among us has that much vanilla extract on hand and is foolish enough to attempt this?
For personal reasons, I have a lot of vanilla extract in my apartment. It was here before the meme, and it will be here after. I had all the ingredients for the horrible poll cake except for milk, so I went out and bought some milk. It is three in the morning and very cold outside. Why am I doing this now instead of waiting for the poll to finish? Two reasons: the first being how fickle the internet in burning through memes, and the second being that five days gives my better judgement enough time to convince me not to do this.
Will God stop my sinful hands before the cake makes it into the oven? Let’s find out!
Mise en Place
Here are all the ingredients in their Tumblr-approved quantities. No, your eyes are not deceiving you! That is indeed a teacup of vanilla extract. I laid everything out in twee little teacups to try and lessen the blow of this culinary affront to man about to occur in my kitchen. The baking powder is in a souvenir shot glass because I ran out of twee little teacups.
The exact measurements come courtesy of @princessmuk, who carefully adjusted a white cake recipe (LINKED HERE!) to the proportions of the poll. The percentages at the time she wrote her addition (left) are only negligibly different from the percentages now (right), so there’s no need to adjust.
I’ve cut the her quantities in half because even I have limits, but the cooking time, temperature and everything else will match the recipe she based her post on.
Tumblr, I’ll be frank with you. This does not look, feel or smell like cake batter. For those who didn’t read princessmuk’s post, I’d like to inform you that the source recipe is called “Simple White Cake”. This is not white, and nothing about this can be called “simple”.
That said, I’ve put it in a buttered and floured cake pan and am baking it for at least 40 minutes in a 350 degree oven. I don’t know off the top of my head how the poll will affect the cook time because I’m very tired, but I will be checking the internal temperature just in case. Now, all there is to do is wait!
The Moment of Truth
My entire apartment smells like vanilla. It’s not unpleasant, but it is definitely apparent. After fifty minutes, I opened the oven and found what appeared to be a firm enough cake. After cooling it in the refrigerator, I removed it from the pan and laid it on a plate.
Physically? It doesn’t seem that bad. There’s a distinctly crispy-looking crust around the rim. While it’s certainly denser than most cakes, it springs back when pressed and feels fully cooked. My kitchen thermometer read an internal temperature of just over 200 degrees Fahrenheit or 93 degrees Celsius. Many had predicted it would become an amorphous, soupy sludge due to having nearly twice as much liquid as necessary, but the batter was still thick enough to form a cohesive solid mass.
But how does it taste? Without further ado:
Imgur: The magic of the Internet
Tumblr won’t let me insert the video directly, because of course it won’t. I should also preface this by saying that this is the first and only instance of my face and voice on the internet, so if you misgender me I will force-feed you the rest of the cake.
With that out of the way: it’s honestly not that bad??? Is it good? No. Of course it isn’t. It’s a cake with several dozen times’ more vanilla extract than required. But is it inedible? I honestly can’t say that it is. I should point out for those uninformed that vanilla extract is a tincture, meaning that the active ingredient is dissolved into alcohol. In this case, 35% alcohol, the low average alcohol content of gin and dark rum. Minors have actually gotten drunk by drinking vanilla extract. That overwhelming bitterness you associate with the ingredient? Part of that is the vanilla itself, but most of it is the alcohol that typically evaporates away in the oven. Because of that, the cake is bitter but not overpowering.
The texture alone is actually quite pleasant. Its texture is best compared to that of banana bread, with a rich, heavy moistness and a slight chew along the rim. Its thin shape and density makes it ideal to be eaten by hand. I personally enjoy bitterness to the point where I’d seriously consider this palatable if the sugar content was at least doubled. It wouldn’t be better than a regular piece of cake, but it would be good.
To those that feel disappointed, I express my sincerest apologies. Even I was legitimately hoping for some sort of Cake From the Black Lagoon that would explode in the oven and taste like paint thinner. To remedy any disillusionment, I will end this culinary journey in hubris with a poll. Thank you.
#*salute* #food #overly literal interpretations #the more you know