When Life Hands You Lemons…My Baking Disaster


Our food column in The Forum this week features a lovely Lemon Poppy Seed Breakfast Bread, but that wasn’t the originally intended recipe. No, instead I had high hopes of showcasing a lovely lemon pound cake, based on a new recipe I discovered in a cookbook all about the secrets of baking.

Faced with a surplus of beautiful lemons just begging to be used, I zested and juiced with great anticipation. Unfortunately, after several rounds of sifting dry ingredients and creaming the liquids (which included a pound (!) of good butter), I encountered utter failure – not once, but twice.

For the first batch, I used a specialty pan to create beautifully shaped mini cakes. Unfortunately, I left them to cool in the pan too long and while the tops were a lovely golden brown, the sides and bottoms were…not.

Mini Cakes failure

I switched to my trusty old light-colored metal loaf pan, and the cake looked nearly perfect when I pulled it from the oven. Sadly, when I went to turn it out of the pan after waiting the recommended 30 minutes, it fell out with a tumble and promptly broke in half. I was left with a jagged mess beyond repair, just a heap of broken bread. Sadder still? The battered remains weren’t even all that tasty.

Broken bread

I’m not entirely sure what went wrong, and maybe that will always remain a secret. Was it the recipe? Were my baking pans at fault? My oven? Or perhaps it was the absence of vanilla in the recipe? (I am naturally wary of any baked good recipe that doesn’t call for at least a smidge of vanilla.)

Alas, I will probably never know, as this double defeat may have put me off this recipe for good. Luckily, I still had enough ingredients on hand to turn to an “old reliable” recipe for Lemon Poppy Seed Breakfast Bread. Again, I made two batches and this time the results were much more promising. For more on this story and the recipe, feel free to visit us in Wednesday’s Variety section of The Forum.

Baking is a passion for me, a form of therapy and entertainment, and even when things don’t turn out as expected, I still enjoy the process. But it’s always more fun when they do.

I would love to hear from you and invite you to share your comments with me below.

Have you ever had a baking failure? Did you figure out what went wrong? Did you try the same recipe again, or look for a new version? Did you ever bake again? 🙂

2 Responses

  1. LeAnn

    Hi. I enjoy reading your column faithfully. I’m wondering if you’ve ever done a column on freezer meals? I am always looking for good (and basic) freezer meals. As a working mom of two, freezer meals are my go-to for feeding my family but I’d love to get some new ideas. Might be an idea for a column sometime? Thank you for your articles – I find them fun to read!

    1. Sarah Nasello

      Hi Leann,

      Thank you so much for your comments – we are so glad to know you enjoy our column. Your timing could not be more perfect, as I am hosting my first freezer-meal class this Friday, for a private group. For this event, I am using recipes that we have previously featured, which are all freezer-friendly, which includes: bacon-wrapped meatloaf, Gio’s meatballs, breakfast scones, chicken tricolore (stuffed chicken breast), Italian sausage baked ziti, and mac and cheese. I have really enjoyed preparing for this event, and hope to create a repertoire of family-friendly, easy recipes for the freezer to share in our column. This is new territory to me, as we are more accustomed to preparing our meals “a la minute,” and I would love your feedback, if you’re willing. What kind of freezer meals do you currently prepare? Do you typically freeze just one component of the meal, i.e., a main course? Do you use a slow cooker to prepare any/all of your freezer meals? What makes a freezer meal recipe appealing? Any tips or guidance you can provide is greatly appreciated.

      Thank you, Leann, and I will be sure to keep you posted on our developing freezer-meal plan. Have a great week and happy cooking! Warmly, Sarah

Comments are closed.