A Natural Disaster

Yes, that's a cake complete with moving Nascar cars.

Through the wonders of Facebook, I was made aware that the ICES (International Cake Exploration Societe) was having their annual convention this past weekend at the Charlotte Convention Center and for the price of $10, visitors could view the beautiful creations. It promptly went to the top of my "To Do" list and was something that I looked very forward to doing on Sunday.

To call them "beautiful creations" is definitely an understatement because the amount of patience, creativity, and work that goes into each of the cakes is astounding and beyond my realm comprehension. When I catered, I had the idea of possibly adding specialty cakes to the repertoire until I took the series of Wilton cake decorating classes and learned very quickly that I couldn't be paid enough to concentrate on such intricate details of tiny flowers and scroll work. I'm more of a "throw it all together and see how it turns out" kind of girl. Detail is not my thing, and the classes quickly proved that. It's good to find out things like this about ourselves before we take a wrong turn into a career path that we are not meant for ~ sort of like me thinking I wanted to be a nurse when I was a kid until I grew up and found out that I'm not the most compassionate person in the world (according to a few of my former husbands anyway).

After you've taken a look at these absolutely gorgeous works of art (more photos of the ICES can be found here on my flickr page), I'll leave you with a recipe that is more my style of creating a cake ~ the Earthquake Cake. 

My mother raved about this cake several years ago and kept telling me that I just HAD to bake it, so I did.  And I was horrified at what I pulled out of my oven the first time because the cake had overflowed the pan, burnt to a crisp on the bottom of the oven and smoked up the entire kitchen. Under normal circumstances, the cake itself is a frightful looking thing with it's sunken hollows of cream cheese swallowed up by chocolate cake, but this one was exceptionally scary with its burnt molten lava spilling over the edges of the pan.  When the Husband du Jour came home and saw it on the counter, his reaction of "What the hell is that??" instantly declared it a natural disaster (and he said I wasn't compassionate??)

Easy enough for kids to help with (or do on their own) and a real conversation starter when you show up with it at a potluck, the Earthquake Cake is an embellishment of a box mix (make sure you get the mix with pudding because it doesn't seem to turn out as well otherwise) and while it may never make it into the ICES hall of fame, I can guarantee it tastes as good as any of those masterpieces look with its delicious combination of chocolate, cream cheese, coconuts and pecans.

Chocolate Earthquake Cake
Categories : Cakes/Icings

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1 package Devil's Food cake mix with pudding (plus ingredients to make per package directions)
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
8 ounces cream cheese -- room temperature
1 pound confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup butter -- room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325. Spray 9x13 pan with cooking spray.

Spread coconut and pecans over bottom of pan.

Mix cake mix according to package directions. Pour over the pecans and coconut.

Melt butter, add with cream cheese, vanilla and confectioner's sugar to a medium sized bowl and mix well. Dollop with a teaspoon over the cake (cover entire surface).

Bake 50-55 minutes or until done.

And the ICES award for ugliest cake goes to....



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