Making cakes in the year 2014

I've been trying to make a cake. There are lots of published recipes out there for how to make this cake, but the one that I used came with only a very blurry image of what the finished cake should look like. So I really had to hope that the recipe was a good one, because I wasn't entirely sure if I would be able to tell whether it worked or not.

To get started, I used one of those online shopping services that can deliver all the ingredients to your door. Even though they claimed that they stocked everything on my shopping list, they then informed me that there were a small number of ingredients that they were not able to physically access at the moment. Frustratingly, they weren't able to tell me which ingredients would be missing when they delivered them. How odd. 

Something else that seemed unusual was that my cake recipe specified that I needed almost 100 times the amount of ingredients compared to what will end up in the finished cake. Seems a bit wasteful, but who am I to argue with the recipe?

Before I could actually start the baking process, I found that there were a few issues that I had to overcome. Lots of the ingredients had become stuck to the packaging and I had to use a tool which could separate the two. Only, some of the time it didn't get rid of all the packaging, and some of the time it ended up getting rid of not just the packaging but some of the ingredient as well. There's actually several tools on the market for doing this, but they all seem to perform slightly differently.

After I got rid of the packaging I noticed that lots of the ingredients had started to spoil and had to be thrown away, but some of them could be salvaged by cutting off the bad parts. There also seemed to be a lot of implements that you can buy to help with the cutting. Wasn't obvious which one was the best, so I used the first one that Google suggested.

At this point it was kind of frustrating to notice that a small proportion of my ingredients weren't cake ingredients at all. I had to throw them all away, but I think that some of them may have ended up in the final cake.

When it came to the actual baking, I was a bit overwhelmed by the fact that there were dozens of different manufacturers who all claimed that I could make a better cake if only I used their brand of oven. Nearly all of these ovens just let you put your raw ingredients in one slot — after you have removed packaging, the spoilt ingredients, and the non-cake ingredients — and voila, out comes your cake!

I chose one of the more popular ovens on the market and waited patiently for many hours as my cake baked happily in the oven. When the timer buzzed and I took the cake out, I was surprised to that many of the raw ingredients were left behind in the oven's 'waste overflow unit'. The real surprise however, was that the finished cake didn't really look anything like the — admittedly blurry — photo that came with the recipe. 

The cake had many different layers, but they weren't quite all the same size and some of them seemed to have been assembled in the wrong order. The pattern on the cake decoration — yes this oven also decorates the cake — was inconsistent at best. It would mostly use one color of icing, but every now and then, it would insert a different color. The same thing happened with the fillings, it would randomly switch from one flavor to another, and then back again. It was almost like there were two different cakes which had  been squished together to make a new one.

When I finally showed the cake to one my baking friends, I was hoping that he would enjoy it. However, all he kept asking me was "How big are the layers?". When I told him, he replied "My cake has bigger layers so yours can't be very good", and then he left. How rude. I took it to another friend and she just said "Your cake is smaller than mine so mine must be better". She also left without trying it. Finally, I took it to another baking colleague. Before I could show him the cake he just said "My cake has most of the common ingredients expected in all cakes, how many does yours have?". I didn't know so he left.

Making cakes is a very strange business.