Plate Expectations

Sometimes we have high, high hopes, but life serves us something messy.

Story time. Today, in a sugar-starved fit, I set out to make the world’s sugariest cake.

Meet the Salted Caramel Layer Cake.*


Brown sugar vanilla cake, covered in a brown sugar cream cheese frosting, and topped in a salted caramel glaze. Oh yes.

This is the kind of cake that hogs all your butter, cleans out the sugar bins, and fills your sink with sticky dishes. This is the kind of cake that seduces you into a lick every two seconds, so much sugary goodness that you start to stuff kale in your mouth out of pure guilt.

This is also the kind of cake that will only be coaxed out of its pan if you properly flour and butter the pan. I learned this the hard way. When I flipped my 10-inch cake pans onto the wire racks to cool, the pale brown circles came out broken and crumbled. Noooooo.

Thankfully, a quick consultation with the head chef (mom) gave me hope: all was not lost!

We made it into a trifle instead.


This cake took a lot of work, and it didn’t even become a cake. What to make of that?

We could have started over. I could have cried or raged that my cake failed to become a cake.

Or thrown a fit. (Unfortunately, I have thrown fits in kitchens: over melty ice cream cakes and underdone snicker-doodle bars. Not my best moments.)

But I put a lot of work into making this recipe a reality. Take caramelizing the sugar, for instance. I stood at the stove stirring and stirring, watching the granulated sugar swirl round and round as the heat rose and rose, until it finally started to clump, then melt, and fiiiinally turn an amber color.

I mixed, poured, watched … taste-tested. And it was good. The final visual result just didn’t quite live up to the expectations I formed when I saw that perfect picture.

But, honestly. If the end result is good, than who cares if it doesn’t live up to expectations?

** The recipe for the Salted Caramel Layer cake belongs to Please visit and do your best to replicate its deliciousness.


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