Friday, February 1, 2008

Why I Shouldn't be Allowed to Bake or Vacuum

I vacuumed a cake today.

Not cake crumbs off the floor. An actual cake. Please tell me there is someone else out there who has done this.

Here's the thing. Today is Buddy's birthday. He's my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and though he doesn't sit upon a jeweled throne, he acts as though he has one but it's currently in the shop having more rubies and gold leaf applied to it. So dear Buddy turned four years old today, and to celebrate, I thought it would be nice if I baked him a chocolate cake. Well, it was actually more of a chewy brownie type thing. And of course, dogs can't eat chocolate, so that meant we would have to eat it for him. See? The dog didn't get all the brains in the family.

The cake/brownie slab turned out quite nice - dark, chewy, sticky, chocolately goodness. The recipe said to liberally sprinkle icing sugar on the warm brownies, as soon as they emerge from the oven. I did so, and as I sprinkled, I noticed a distinct and really unpleasant smell, like melting plastic. I thought maybe I put the pan on plastic wrap, so I sniffed all around until I realized the smell was coming from the icing sugar, or more specifically, the plastic container it had been stored in. All my hard work, and all that chocolate, would be for naught if I didn't act quickly and get the icing sugar off the cake.

I grabbed the hot pan and brought it to the sink, where I proceeded to blow on the sugar in an attempt to get rid of it. All that accomplished was a coughing fit as I breathed the sugar in.

I tried scraping it off with a spoon, but that didn't work either. In my panic, I looked around and spied my new Dyson vacuum cleaner. It has this nifty attachment that I reckoned would work pretty well on sucking up rogue icing sugar. I thought the trick would be to just lower it and let it hover over the pan, and the icing sugar would just....lift off. It's not as though I was going to touch it with the hose. I'm not a complete idiot.

Now, I don't know if you've ever used a Dyson, but when that British guy in the commercial says it doesn't lose suction, he's not kidding. I sucked up a lot of the icing, but a couple of times, the arm just, well, got away from me and tunneled into the cake. In a couple of spots. Maybe three.

Worse than having a cake full of holes was a vacuum with bits of sticky brownie now going whompa-whompa-whompa around the clear canister, leaving greasy streaks and gathering bits of dog hair, a sight that was both repellent and curiously compelling, like reality TV. The good news is, the cake tasted reasonably good, assuming one stuck to eating bits around the edges.

Maybe the dog did get all the brains in the family.


Ipsey said...

That's too good! Sounds like 50% of the baking I've ever done. I can't tell you the cakes I've ruined. One of my favorites was when I was to make a mayonaise cake, but this was before I knew Miracle Whip and mayonaise were NOT the same thing.

Of course, I figured it out. The taste of that cake has never left me.

A Novel Woman said...

Hey Amy!

Yes, I remember using baking soda instead of baking powder for the very first cake I ever baked. And I doubled the amount, so it was extra salty.

My grandmother, for whom I baked the cake, ate a whole slice, insisting it was delicious, even as my mother tried to pull the plate away to save her.

You gotta love nanas.

klasieprof said...

I feel less pain since laughing my ass off, imagining doing the same thing if I were cool enough to have a dyson.!!!

Deborah Small said...


You are the first person _I_ know of who's vacuumed a cake. Thank you for expanding my world and making me laugh out loud. Good thing I had put down the tea, or might be sending you a bill for a new keyboard. *G*

Wish Buddy a Happy Buddy-day for me!


A Novel Woman said...


What can I say? I panicked! It was the first thing that came to me. I stuck my finger down the tube today, and the sticky powdered sugar now lines it like spackle. I don't even want to tackle the main canister, but I can see chunks of cake mixed with globs of dog hair. I'd take a photo but I don't have a camera.

Did I mention I don't have a camera?

I think I missed your birthday, girlfriend.

Happy Belated One. Want me to bake you a cake?*g*


rambling caper said...

LOLOL! Pammy, please continue to have domestic disasters that result in hilarious recountings like this one. I can just see you. How blue was the air when you finished, by the way?

Have you thought of sending an e-mail to Dyson customer service, praising the as-promised sucking ability? It would be interesting to read their reply! Although I'm afraid they might think it was one of those joke letters, with the author planning to write a book including their reply. You must impress on them the seriousness of your situtation!

Buddy is beautiful!

My Mum used to make gingerbread for our dog, Rascal, on his birthday. Its nice to read of someone else who cherishes their pets like that. Our cats are lucky to get some extra catnip.