I am a really great cook if I do say so myself. Throw me a can of tomatoes, a piece of flounder, and a stick of butter, and I can whip up something that would resemble a plate at a four-star restaurant. I can cook the same thing over and over and make it taste new and different each and every time. Give me more ingredients, and it turns out even better. I rarely need a recipe, expensive ingredients, or fancy equipment. All I need is a little bit of time, and the inspiration always comes to me.
That’s why I am a great cook… and a truly awful baker.
See, baking isn’t about inspiration. It is about planning. It is about measuring cups and recipes. It is about making sure that your flour is loosely packed and your sugar tightly packed and that you don’t try to make meringues on a humid day. Baking is a science; where if you are off by one-tenth of a teaspoon of baking powder, you might as well toss the whole batch of cookies and buy some Oreos. Really good cooks aren’t always really good bakers. Why do you think the titles of pastry chef and executive chef rarely go to the same person?
The moral of this story is this: if you are a great cook, be happy, then throw all your instincts out the window when it’s time for the school bake sale. Don’t improvise. Don’t improve. Don’t change a thing. Look up a recipe, follow it exactly, and be grateful when it turns out perfectly the same each time.
Or you will end up with a gorgeous cake like the one pictured, which looks like a dream and tastes exactly like baking soda and salt.