Welcome to the 11th annual edition of April Fools in the Kitchen — where your King Arthur Flour test kitchen bakers demonstrate, once again, our selfless dedication to progress through failure — in all its glorious culinary guises.
Let’s jump right into yeast bread.
As someone did here. That towering balloon of rising dough was just itching to be slapped down. Who did it? DNA was inconclusive, but we think we might have some palm prints…
Yeast does have a way of having its way — always. Even when seemingly confined in a lidded pain de mie pan.
Sometimes it’s not the bread that acts out, it’s the filling — “out” being the key concept here.
Still, if anything is ever going to escape the gluten-y clutches of its intended home, let it be melted cheese. I think this loaf is laughing at me…
What goes up must come down…
And sometimes what goes up must stay up, and never mind what’s happening over there on the other side, right?
There’s going up — and then there’s staying down: WAY down.
This actually isn’t a failure at all: it’s my preferred method for disposing of the “discard” excess sourdough starter you end up with during the feeding process. This is several days’ worth of dried excess. My husband, Rick, thought it was the beginning of pizza; he was disabused of the notion when he snitched a taste.
And here’s a loaf that was destined for sourdough bread perfection — until it spent some time in an oven with an over-zealous top element. Talk about a burning question…
Q: What happens when you fill a Berry Blitz Torte with whipped cream and berries and walk away?
This happens. Dang, I KNEW I should have used pastry cream!
My fellow baker Susan Reid had one of those “walk away” moments with her cake as well. You just can’t trust these layer cakes — they’re real slippery characters!
Filled bundt cake, test #1: chocolate cheesecake filling. More like chocolate cheesecake spilling.
Filled bundt cake, test #2: vanilla cheesecake filling. MIGHT have been OK — had I remembered to put the baking powder in the cake. Talk about lowered expectations…
And then there was the time Aime and I got together to make a birthday cake for fellow digital team member Tracy, a pumpkin lover whose birthday falls on — you guessed it, Halloween.
Clearly, neither Aime nor I possess the Martha Stewart gene. While the cake started out looking OK (and I confess to extending the reach of that word here), it quickly developed some gaping cracks.
We cut a few slices, and one side toppled, glacier-like, onto the plate.
Still, did that stop anyone on the team from enjoying a pumpkin-face fudge birthday cake with peanut butter frosting?
Of course not! Nothing stands in the way of duty: sampling every cake to make sure it’s just as good as it can be. Taste-wise, at least.
Can you guess what this is? No, I couldn’t either, until my fellow blogger, MaryJane, clued me in: homemade maraschino cherries left in the oven overnight. Shirley Temple, anyone?
How about this — any guesses? Sorry, can’t confirm one way or the other; no one would ‘fess up to having anything to do with… whatever this is!
Does lower-protein flour + extra butter + forgetting the egg make EXTRA-tender pancakes? (They really did taste good, though.)
Speaking of breakfast plates, how about this selection of banana bread one-offs? The best place for this tower of treats is probably the mess hall!
Ah, banana bread; as our Recipe of the Year, you’ve been on my mind (and in my oven) a lot. Clearly, this version didn’t spend quite enough time in the oven. Still, it’s awfully goo(d)!
Pumpkin pie, deconstructed.
This is what happens when you need a gorgeous picture of a perfect slice of pumpkin pie, and you didn’t cool the pie quite enough, so that perfect slice just ain’t happening.
And apple pie, reconstructed.
I could tell you what I was trying to achieve here, but clearly I fell far short of my goal. Unless you’ve interested in apple pie that looks eerily reminiscent of a spatchcocked chicken.
Finally, because there’s just nothing better than apple pie, enjoy a slice on us. Like many of our test kitchen experiments, this pie went slightly awry.
Still, beauty is only crust deep. And the true beauty of this pie is that it illustrates our King Arthur Flour test kitchen motto: We make mistakes so you don’t have to!
Happy April Fool’s baking, one and all! Don’t be shy; share your favorite baking disaster stories in comments, below.