Why you should not let me in your kitchen

by Luke Butner

On Feb. 28, I decided to bake a cake for our editor, Breanna “Bree” Adamick. As the title suggests, you should not let me into your kitchen. My intended gesture of kindness quickly developed into a nightmare, leaving only the story as the truly sweet thing from this experience.

Before I dive deep into the story, I would like to mention that I love baking. The cake was so bad, Bree questioned whether I had baked before in my life. Upon review, I quickly understood why she had asked me this. The day I baked the cake was special, involving an unfortunate set of circumstances, which was only amplified when I found my brain absent.

The story begins on Feb. 24, when my girlfriend, Heaven Thornton, and I wanted to show our gratitude towards Bree. Bree is so kind to not only us, but the whole Collegian staff. Therefore, we planned a day when Heaven could come over and we could bake Bree a cake. We picked the day, but when it came, our plans were canceled – I was on my own for this mission. Not having someone to keep me in check would prove to be a mistake, as things would quickly go awry.

Around 7 p.m., I decided I was going to bake this cake. I quickly found cake mix in the pantry, but it took 30 minutes to find the icing, the first sign of bad luck. Potential doom threatened to strike again when I searched the refrigerator for three eggs and discovered nothing. I blame the lack of eggs on the fact they are worth their weight in solid gold these days. A half-cup of oil was needed, so I decided to substitute the oil for milk and proceeded to stir some into the concoction. To make the cake double-layered, I oiled two circular pans and poured the mess in, before throwing it in the oven and hoping that whatever came out would not be disgusting.

I knew this cake was going to be whack, so I decided to add cream-cheese frosting. Thinking I was a super-chef, I decided I did not require a recipe. I needed four ingredients: powdered sugar, butter, cream cheese and vanilla. I searched the pantry for the first ingredient, powdered sugar, and only managed to find granulated sugar. I threw a healthy amount of it into the blender, believing this would create powdered sugar. It did not, but despite its heaviness, I used it in the icing. Next, my search for butter yielded only one-fourth of a stick. Undaunted, I threw the butter straight into the blender with the sugar. The cream cheese was suspiciously easy to find, while the vanilla took an exhaustive search.

After only a few seconds of blending, the blender started to slow down significantly before finally stopping. It then dawned on me that I had forgotten to soften the butter, so I then determined that the best course of action was to microwave it. After some time had passed, I tasted a little bit of the solution I had made. To my surprise, it was good, except for the consistency – you could not tell the difference between my icing and a mouthful of sand. I microwaved the icing once more to make it runnier and blended the solution a few more times. Eventually, the icing resembled mechanic’s soap, which contains grit to remove oils and grease. Pleased enough, I finished the icing and pulled the cake from the oven to assess it, finding it surprisingly normal.

After the cake cooled, I assembled the layers. I flipped the first pan to find the cake sticking to the bottom of it, and because the cake had the structural integrity of a towel flapping in the wind, the layer split right down the middle. Panicking, I took a fork and quickly tried to salvage the remains. I then acquired a rubber spatula and splattered a large globule of chocolate icing on the wasteland of a cake and attempted to spread the icing smoothly, to no avail. Instead of spreading, it decided to accumulate chunks of cake. The ball reminded me of a large pig, rolling around in mud, only adding layers of mess to itself. Microwaving the icing seemed to solve the problem, allowing me to paint the top of the cake with half of the icing in the container.

In the arduous process of trying to carefully transfer the next layer of cake onto the first, another casualty occurred in the form of a hand-sized chunk of the cake falling off. After a long while of wrestling against gravity and the integrity of the cake, I successfully glued the chunk back on with icing. The small amount of icing left went to decorating the top of the cake, but since there was so little, it had to be severely thinned in order to cover the bald spots of the cake. To heighten the appearance of my cake, I added words made of the white icing from earlier. I thought for a moment of what to write, then slowly spelled out “This cake is for you!”

A quick assessment of the cake displayed a mess of unique features. The cake caved in on one side while the other side rose up, creating a large hump of icing in the middle. Then there was the balding nature of the cake with its sparse icing, resulting in the cake resembling the hairline of an 80-year-old man. The sad, sandy white icing did not help, nor did the vague phrase it spelt out. I remember wondering if I should actually present this cake to Bree, as it was possible someone could be offended to receive such a cake.

The next morning, I brought my abomination with me to school to show Heaven what I had created. Later, at Heaven’s dorm, I began explaining the story of how the cake came to be. About halfway through, when I explained how the icing would not smear well, I opened the container, giving her a good look at the cake.

“Wow,” she said, clearly shocked at what I had made, “this is so nice!” Her response took me off guard, so I asked, “What do you mean?”

“You never gave up on this cake, even in the face of all these obstacles. Plus, the story is very funny, much better than the cake itself. Bree will love this!”

I instantly felt better, and we arranged to present the cake to Bree later that day over dinner. After classes, Heaven and I left campus, excited to see Bree and eat at a new restaurant, called J. Butler’s, which Bree had suggested.

Upon arrival, we walked over to where Bree was seated and greeted her, placing the cake on the table. “What’s this?” she asked, examining the cake with a certain curiosity.

“A cake for you” Heaven replied, warmness in her tone, “Luke has a story that you’ll love about it.”

With that, I launched into the tale of its creation. The three of us enjoyed discussing the hilarity of it throughout dinner and by the end we all agreed upon the necessity of the story being retold for others to enjoy. Therefore, I started the article you are reading now the very next day after that conversation.

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