I don't know what I was thinking when I tried to bake a 9-by-13 cake in a 9-by-9 corningware dish.
Here's how the disaster unfolded -- or bubbled over, I should say. I had just whipped up the batter for Dan's birthday carrot cake, when I realized both of my 9-by-13 pans were at friends' houses, and I had just one round cake pan. I could have made the cake with two of those.
I searched and searched for the guitar-shaped cake pan from my mother-in-law, but I couldn't find it.
The square dish seemed like a good choice at the time -- and the only one -- but if I had understood how much the cake was going to rise, I would have just used half the batter in it, and the other half in the round pan. Hindsight is 20/20, as they say.
Well, about 15 minutes into the 40-minute bake time, I smelled smoke. I went into the kitchen, and smoke was streaming up out of the oven through the stovetop. Yikes!
When I looked inside, the batter was dripping down onto the oven floor, and that's what was burning. I put a baking sheet on the shelf below the cake to try to catch the drips.
I took the cake out of the oven, scraped up the burn bits, and thought -- stupidly -- that the cake could continue baking, although the whole middle part was wiggly as can be, while the outside parts that had bubbled over were crispy.
Eventually, I took out the uncooked batter and poured it into the round cake pan. That's how I ended up with a half a cake. I used a LOT of frosting to make it look nice because the layers I divided it into were not so pretty.
On a positive note, Dan said it was the best carrot cake he'd ever had. Ever. Really. I couldn't believe it but must admit that it was indeed a pretty damn tasty cake. (Click here for the final edible version and recipe.)