This past Friday was my last day at work at a pharmaceutical packaging & manufacturing company. I feel like many people would expect me to be jubilated at this & at the prospect of returning to school in about a week. However, I am anything but ecstatic.
I truly enjoyed work. The people, the proximity to my house, the sense of a schedule, and the feeling of being busy - I really liked it.
I would get up at 6:15 am everyday and make myself completely presentable, and half an hour later, I would (hopefully) be on my way to work. I would arrive at 7, don my lab coat and "hair net cap" (which I just looked up because I never knew the name), and make my rounds around the entire company. I would greet the other QAs and continue offering my help to any area that needed it. When I left on Friday, I felt like a true member of the company. My tasks and the results of my findings were actually helping the company. The stuff I was doing was important. And the fact that I got along excellently with everyone and that everyone could be hilarious at times was also a plus.
But now work is over. A coworker who jokingly makes fun of my (lack of) Gujarati accent brought me Pista Peda - yes! We had an awesome lunch out at a Mexican restaurant with really good food. And now school is about to begin - aka organic chemistry is about to begin its slow, year-long torture upon my poor self.
But there is hope, yet.
Before I become a slave to compounds I cannot name & try to determine reaction rates to reactions I cannot predict, I get to enjoy a week of pure summer, sans work or responsibilities.
And before I left work, I had had to make one last item with which to indulge my coworkers. Since this time, I was making cake for everyone, not just the office people, I had to make enough to feed about 50 people.
Simplicity was necessary, so I decided upon yellow cake with chocolate frosting.
I decided upon Paula Deen's 1-2-3-4 cake recipe. What do the numbers mean?
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
Yep. Not so bad, huh? Now multiple all the numbers, add some variables, and take a few derivatives before going the other way and taking some integrals .. organic chemistry also involves some calculus. Just preparing myself, is all.
The cake has a sort of loose crumb. Probably cause of the really long creaming time. I made two batches, and baked both batches in two 13x9" sheet pans. After taking them out of the oven and letting them cool somewhat, I tried inverting the cake out onto a wire rack. No amount of cajoling worked. And all that fell out were a ton of crumbs. So I recommend using another cake recipe if you want to easily layer these after baking them in 3 round pans, like Paula Deen instructs. Or use parchment paper. Greasing generously won't be enough.
I actually ended up not liking the cake so much, but then again, I only see cake in general as a vehicle for the star of the show - the frosting. People at my work complimented it & were surprised it was homemade. People took seconds, as well. And the frosting pairs well with the cake. So I'm sure this would be a hit for a party. And it's so easy!
Bring this to your next potluck! I dare you. And if people around you don't have potlucks anymore, well then, hold your own potluck. MAN UP.
recipe is for Paula Deen's 1-2-3-4 cake
- 1 cup (or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 eggs
- 3 cups self-raising flour (scooped & leveled with a spoon)
- 1 cup milk or buttermilk
- 1 tspn pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 3 round cake pans, and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper, as well. You can use one 13x9" sheet pan, as well. Do the same preparation process.
- Cream butter until fluffy. Add sugar, and cream for 6-8 minutes, until super fluffy and basically white in color.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add vanilla and mix in well.
- Alternate adding flour and milk, starting and ending with flour.
- Divide batter into the three pans. Gently tap the pans on the counter, or drop them from a height of about 2-3 inches. This gets rid of air bubbles and makes for a more level cake. This is a good technique to use when making any cake.
- Bake 25-30 minutes. If using the sheet pan, bake for about an hour. Toothpick should come out clean from center. Also, if center is lightly poked, the cake should spring back.
- Cool in pan for about 10 minutes. Invert and remove parchment paper. Frost and serve!
I used this chocolate frosting, as I always do. Use the full batch for a generous amount of frosting.