You found the right ingredients in your cupboard. You’ve followed the recipe step by painstaking step. But somehow, somewhere, you messed up the baking recipe and your cake looks absolutely nothing like what it’s supposed to. (On the plus side, it might scary enough for Halloween!) One of the best places to see some unexpected fails is the ‘Expectation Vs. Reality’ subreddit, home to 709k people who just love sharing that the Universe sometimes has a pretty good sense of humor. We’ve collected some of the best cake fails they’ve featured for you to enjoy, dear Pandas. So scroll on down, and upvote the best worst cakes.
Your cake might come out bad because of a dozen different reasons. You might have mixed up Celsius and Fahrenheit on the oven or accidentally used stale ingredients without checking the expiration date. Whoops! But fear not, brave baking adventurers, for all is not lost.
Bored Panda reached out to talented baker and pie artist Jessica Clark-Bojin to talk about when we should follow recipes to the letter and when we should experiment with our baking. Scroll down for our interview with her and with Canadian baker and cake designer Darci.
Pie artist Jessica told us that tinkering with baking recipes can be a bit tricky. We ought to learn how to walk before running; however, sometimes, experimentation can pay off if we've got the right attitude.
"There are certain chemical reactions that need to happen for pastry to become pastry, for cake to become cake, and if you alter certain variables (heat, time, acidity, etc.) you may get a result you aren’t thrilled with... That said, you may be pleasantly surprised!" she said.
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"And what better way to learn, 'Oh! That’s what an egg does in this recipe' or, 'Oh! That’s why they say to chill the dough overnight first' than by jumping in and trying it? If you’ve got the time, and are cool with learning from failure (something I do all the time) tinker away!" Jessica suggested that the best way to get in-depth knowledge about baking is to get stuck in.
However, if you're short on time and ingredients (and most importantly patience), it's best to stick to baking recipes without deviating from them. "Or take a few hours to research the chemistry involved in your recipe and what the correct ratios for substitutions are," the baking expert said. "There are lots of great books on baking chemistry out there—if you’re a tinkerer like me I highly recommend you check ‘em out!"
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Cake maker and designer Darci from Canada, founder of Kake by Darci, told Bored Panda that if you understand why you're breaking the rules and if you get what each item does in a recipe, it's easier to start creating your own delicious concoctions.
"Baking is a science. Every ingredient has a purpose," Darci said. "Leaveners provide lift. Gluten/flours provide structure. Eggs [act as] binders. Liquid / oils [provide] moisture. Sugars [give] tenderness and sweetness."
Previously, Darci told Bored Panda more about baking cakes and the major mistakes that people tend to make with Darci as well. Now, according to Darci, some of the most common mistakes that people tend to make are related to adding the ingredients in the wrong order. You might have heard that baking is an art, but Darci reiterates that it’s a science and you should be careful and precise while making your cakes.
You should also take care to weigh your ingredients properly and make sure not to over- or under-mix them. “All of these small factors can make or break the cake!” the Canadian baker said.
Most of us can immediately tell when a cake looks good or bad. That line becomes blurred if you add too many unnecessary details. “I prefer simple designs and simple details. I feel like you can have a beautiful cake and go overboard with too much—flowers, candy, colors, textures. It can be a fine line between too much and not enough,” Darci told Bored Panda about the importance of simplicity.
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So remember, dear Pandas, when in doubt: keep things simple, follow the recipe to the letter, and only start experimenting with baking when you’ve got a dozen cakes under your belt! Otherwise, your cake might just end up on the ‘Expectation Vs. Reality’ subreddit.