Stump Cake

A lot of schools have gotten rid of what we used to call Home Ec–classes that teach all sorts of useful skills, from how to wash a goddamn dish to basic sewing. the replacements have either been nothing, or a variety of class meant to turn kids into effective fast-food workers, mostly by having them work in the lunchroom. Which is all sorts of OMG.

The Princess’s high school, however, actually has quite a good program to teach kids basic kitchen etiquette and use. It was a revelation to her, finding out so many of her classmates had no idea how to handle a knife or clean a stove. She and the Prince have been in the kitchen with me their entire lives, either watching or helping out in whatever age-appropriate fashion they could. My experiments in cooking, once I got over my own childhood fears and angsts, no doubt helped. It was kind of weird, seeing how few kids knew even basic things, like how to cream butter and sugar. There are reasons for that, of course–wage stagnation means cooking at home is more of a time-drain than even many two income households can afford.

One of the interesting things the Princess learned was how to make a variety of Stump Cake. The teacher valiantly tried to instill some aesthetic and pastry-making basics into a group of teenagers, but finicky fondant was (and is) a nonstarter for that age group. However, the basic idea–FOUR LAYERS OF CHOCOLATE CAKE! EAT IT WITH YOUR CHAINSAW FINGERS!–is intriguing enough by itself to make the stump cake a frequent project around these parts.

The Princess had Monday off from work, and had brought home cocoa. Needless to say, after her leisurely lie-in and brekkie, she began mixing, baking, pouring, and making parchment-paper frosting cones to practice her piping. The result was SO. MUCH. CHOCOLATE. CAKE.

I know, I know, a great problem to have. I’m pretty sure my blood’s been replaced by pure syrup. I REGRET NOTHING.

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Cheryl Byers

Mmmmm! Chocolate the most important food group!


no Squirrels in that stump?