Sweet Failures and a Delicious Dessert
5/23/13 — In Denzel Washington’s UPenn commencement speech, he said “
I was reminded of this concept recently, when my dear friend Andrea shared pictures of the birthday cake she tried to make for her niece.
Here was her inspiration.
…and here was her creation.
Andrea clearly recognized at a certain point that the whole thing was a bust, but she still “finished” the project, took a picture and unashamedly relayed the experience at work. I dig that. Between Facebook and PhotoShop, you would be tempted to think there’s no such thing as imperfection or failure. But the truth is, we all fall on our faces sometimes. No offense girl.
At that UPenn graduation, Denzel also pointed-out that Thomas Edison failed a thousand times with his landmark endeavor. Finally attempt #1,001 yielded the light bulb. His advice for 2011 grads: “Fall forward. Every failed experiment is one step closer to success.”
I’d say Andrea definitely “fell forward” in her baking (from the looks of it, she landed directly on the cake). But I admire the way she ventured outside of the box (in multiple senses) and just went for it. She handled the subsequent disaster pretty well too, first with a whimper, but then with a fork, camera and hearty laugh. A few days later she tried again, and crafted the cutest Little Mermaid-themed sweets ever. Just look at this stuff!
Like Denzel says, a resilient spirit can serve us so well, and it ultimately leads to some form of deliciousness. It may not be a cake, but it will still be sweet!
So thank you for the inspiration, my sweet friend. I think it’s motivation for us all to brush-off our respective smushed cakes, and just keep on cookin.’
Betty Crocker White cake mix (plus ingredients called for on the package)
Several shades of food coloring
Stiff icing recipe here, add blue food coloring as desired
Follow the instructions on the box to prepare the cake batter. Once the batter is mixed, divide it amongst five bowls.
Mix a different food color into each bowl.
Take a tablespoon of batter from each bowl, and drop it into the cupcake paper. Repeat with all the colors, until cupcake papers are filled 2/3 of the way. Using a knife, make one large swirl with the batter, from the outside-in. Be sure to wipe-off the knife between swirls, and don’t over-swirl!
Bake & ice cupcakes as normal.
Andrea’s Clam Cookies
1 package Pepperidge Farms Lemon Cookies
**Stiff frosting, recipe here
Wilton brand Candy Eyeballs (sold at HEB)
White jelly beans or yogurt-covered raisins
**Use 3 cups of powdered sugar. Set aside 2-3 tbsp of white frosting. Add red food coloring the rest of the batch, until it turns pink.
Put your PINK icing in a Wilton piping bag (or Ziploc plastic baggie) and snip the corner.
Place half of the cookies face-down on a platter, and squeeze a layer of icing over the bottom surface. Place a white jelly bean (or yogurt raisin) in the icing, about an 1/8 inch from the edge – it’s a pearl in the shell!.
Gently lay another cookie on top of the frosting, to make resemble a cracked-open open clam shell.
For the eyes, place the WHITE icing in another Wilton piping bag. Snip the tip of the bag, just enough to let out a little bit of icing. Squirt 2 dots of the white icing onto the top cookie. This will be the “glue” for the eyes. Gently stick the eyes to the white frosting.