I hosted our end-of-the-school-year PTO thank-you party at my house yesterday afternoon. The idea of the party came from the PTO president, as a way to show appreciation for all the moms and dads who worked so hard at the elementary school this year on various committees and fundraisers.
The idea to make it a dessert buffet? All mine, baby.
I figured this was a great chance for me to try Smitten Kitchen's Big Rhubarb Crumb Cake recipe, since heaven knows I've been yammering on about how great it was all week. I was a little worried when I had such trouble finding rhubarb, and then a little annoyed to see the plant, which you purchase by the pound, consisted primarily of leaves.
And yes, I understand the concept of paying for produce items you'll never use .... the peel of a banana, the stems of the grapes, etc .... but when I realized that even by weight, I was throwing away over half of what I paid for ... well, I starting thinking I might try the recipe with fresh blueberries next time.
Anyway! Complaining about Extreme Produce Challenges aside, I was excited to make the cake and share it with my friends. I took pictures throughout the process to share here on the blog .....
But during the process, I noticed that my rhubarb filling didn't look quite like Smitten Kitchen's. I assumed it was because I underestimated the weight (more specifically, underestimated the weight of the leaves!) and less fruit meant my filling was runny. Which in turn, meant I didn't have enough to completely cover the bottom layer of cake. Which in turn, meant the middle of my cake was a little soggy and didn't bake up quite as fluffy as the parts around the edges of the pan.
Had I been sitting in the living room, with a spoon, and the pan on my lap (not that I would know anything about THAT -- ahem) it would have been smooshy and melty and perfect. But since I wanted to slice it and serve it on plates, it made a difference. Only the outside of the cake was serve-worthy. And still didn't have as much rhubarb as it needed.
There was absolutely nothing wrong with the recipe -- the dessert tasted fine -- just a learning curve for me for next time, no biggie.
This morning I was writing down my receipts from last week in my checkbook and I noticed the receipt from when I bought the rhubarb. Although, closer inspection revealed that apparently, I didn't buy rhubarb --- even though it looked just like the red celery that Deb used and I bought it from a bin clearly marked "rhubarb".
According to the produce receipt, I bought swiss chard.
Which is a beet.
A beet that looks strikingly like rhubarb, as best I can tell.
Which means, in a nutshell, I served my friends pieces of runny beet cake.
Something tells me I won't be asked to host again next year.
Kristie: "Blaine, would you please cut up the rhubarb for me?"
Blaine: "What the hell is rhubarb?"
Kristie: "I don't know, but I've been told it looks a lot like swiss chard."
Ok, seriously. Can anyone who knows the difference tell me which one this is?
Well, at least I didn't mess up the cupcakes.
Banana pudding. Gag.
Death by Chocolate. Yum!
The table. The empty spot in the middle was for my friend's brownies that she was bringing. Please also note the bowl of fruit on the back of the table, which I set out simply to be polite, and which some
Proof that I am a real cook.