Competitive Baking: A Little Humor for the Holidays

Lemon Pound CakePumpkin Cheesecake

If you knew me, seeing a blog post I’ve written about baking would thrust you into immediate laughter.  I don’t bake.  I have baked, but the last 9” springform pan cheesecake I made could not be sliced with a chainsaw, so I hung up my apron.  What’s the deal with baking cheesecake anyway?  Google how to bake a cheesecake and look at the 17 million results you get.  Place it in a water bath so it bakes at an even temperature, turn the oven off and let it continue to bake, take it out when the center is almost set.  What does that even mean?  I asked a coworker and she said in a haughty tone, “I can just look at it and tell.”  Well, good for you!

Let’s talk about how competitive people are when it comes to baking.  I won’t use names to protect the innocent, but they know who they are.  One cheesecake baker told an award-winning chef that she IMPROVED his recipe by adding an ingredient.  Huh?  A pound-cake baker who is very reluctant to eat anyone else’s cake usually ends up complaining about how dry it is and saying what she would have done differently.  We've all heard this before: "They asked me to bake a cake because they won't eat anyone else's."  Here’s the deal.  If you’re on television on a Gordon Ramsay show or participating in the Pillsbury Bake-Off, feel free to trash talk.  If you’re bringing a cake to your greedy coworkers, they can’t even tell what it tastes like.  It’s free food and they are happy to get it.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing better than a good slice of pound cake or cheesecake.  One of my friends made a cheesecake so remarkable that I refused to believe she baked it.  A friend’s sister made a pound cake so moist and flavorful that my aunt, who refuses to compliment anyone’s cooking, broke her code and admitted it was good.  Hats off to all of you who are wowing your families with holiday goodness.  Just don’t get stressed about it, be nice to the other bakers in your family, and remember no matter how good your cake or pie is, there’s someone who bakes it better than you.  Smile.  Happy Holidays.