Thursday, November 8, 2007

Fluted

Product review! I rarely write about kitchen tools, but this one is my new favorite.

Several years ago, a woman I worked with became one of those Pampered Chef hostesses. To avoid having the actual party at her house, she just passed the catalog around at work and we all ordered. Frankly, I prefer it that way. Nothing I dislike more than baby/bridal showers, make-up/ makeover evenings, or Tupperware parties. (Although, I'll make an exception for pedicures, especially when it involves the Scary Feminists. Love me a pedicure and love me the Scaries!)

So, I ordered this pan from Dana via her P.C. catalog. When it arrived, it intimidated the hell out of me. I mean, this is not your grandmother's aluminum bundt cake pan by any means. This is a PAN. With emphasis on PPPPP-AAAAAA-NNNNNNN. PAN. Of course, being the good, adventurous cook that I am, I did the sensible thing with this new tool. I promptly put it in the cupboard with the other cake pans. Which is where it has been for the last two years.

Until last week. Finished with dinner one night, I decided I wanted cake. So, ignoring the standard directions on the back of the box, I grabbed a box of Duncan Hines marble cake and added four eggs, one stick of butter, half a cup of sweetened condensed milk, one cup of water, and a package of vanilla pudding. I set the oven at 350 degrees and then I decided it was finally time to use my fluted pan from Pampered Chef.

I dug it out of the cupboard (it cried for joy when I did), read the instructions, rinsed it out with hot water, patted it dry, sprayed it with Pam, and poured in the batter. Forty minutes later, I took the cake out of the oven, inverted it on a wire rack to cool, and let it rest for 20 minutes or so before my patience ran out and I cut a slice and ate it warm.

The result was decent. I mean, it's marble cake from a box. You can't expect too much, can you?

Or can you?

The next morning, I cut a slice to take to work in my lunch. Little did I know what was in store for me. Around 1:00, I bit into my cake, died, and went straight to heaven. This was the moistest, densest, yummiest cake I'd eaten from a box in a long time. Certainly the rich recipe modifications I make to the boxed mix contributed to the moistness, but this was beyond superlative. (There's that word again. I've used it twice this week. And I digress. Again. Sorry.) Maybe I'm reading too much into it or endowing the tools with too much power, but I'm convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt, as they say in the faith of my upbringing, that my Pampered Chef fluted pan had a hand in the delectable outcome of this cake.

And the best part: it has stayed that moist and yummy all week. I had the last piece after dinner last night and it was still good.

So, if you like to bake, find yourself a Pampered Chef hostess and get one of these pans. To steal a phrase from the dude at the Men's Wearhouse, "You're gonna like. I guarantee it."

Photo copyright: The Pampered Chef (fluted pan) and D.C. Confidential (cake)

13 comments:

Cele said...

I pretty much gave up boxed cake mixes eons ago. But boxed cake mixed interupted by genious, is out of this world. I am going to have to try me one.

I hate those parties. Candles, crystal, cooking stuffs, tupperware, children's toys, and lingerie parties are painful. Oh wait the lingerie party was hysterical. But the rest, I'm with you give me the cataloge and don't hog my parking spot when you're hosting.

Di said...

Mmm, cake.

janeannechovy said...

Ha! I was going to type, Mmmm, cake, but then I see Di beat me to it.

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

Cele: I'm trying to go boxless, but sometimes when you need a cake fix the box will do. And Amen! on the parties. (Funny irony, though: I once won all of the games at a baby shower for my cousin's wife and I was the only woman in the room who wasn't married, didn't have kids, and isn't towing the party (i.e. Mormon) line, so to speak. It was hilarious!)

Di and JA: Mmm, cake is right!

Adriana Velez said...

OK, you got me. I've been invited to a Pampered Chef party on Saturday (I think I'll have to skip it but I've been perusing the online catalogue) AND I've been wishing I had a bundt pan.

AND mmm, cake.

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

Adriana: Even if you don't go to the party, get this pan. Seriously! I also very recently bought a pizza stone, too, which everyone tells me is a must-have if you like good, homemade pizza with thin crust.

Mmmmm, caaaaake. Gooooooood.

Terri@SteelMagnolia said...

I love Pampered Chef...
and I've been a consultant for about 5 years now...

did you know you can bake bacon in the jelly roll stoneware?? No spatter and perfect bacon!

Catalog parties do just as well (for me that is) as a kitchen show..
I had a blast doing kitchen shows...
I actually never asked anyone to have one... but at my parties, they used to book a party ~ no one is better to their hostess than Pampered Chef!

Since Matthew ... I can only do catalog shows.... :-(

Liseysmom said...

I love my pampered chef pizza stone! I have another square one that I bake cookies on, and the cookies are always perfectly brown but never burnt on the bottom.

And I also have the bread pan which really really does make the best crust. I believe!!

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

Terri: I've become a convert of Pampered Chef. Now I'm trying to get 8" or 9" cake pans.

Lisey's Mom: We bought a rectangular one, as well, for making cookies and brownies. That's going to be my next baking project: oatmeal coconut chocolate chip cookies! Yum!

NG said...

I don't have a Pampered Chef pan, but I made cake according to these specs today and it was the best thing I've put in my mouth all week. (And I don't really even like cake.)

I stuck some poppy seeds in the batter that I've been trying to find a use for and this recipe will henceforth be known as Tewkesbury Cake in my house.

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

NG: Glad you enjoyed it! And I'm honored you'd name a cake after me. (Or my blog, anyway.) I've been making my cakes this way for years and it's the only thing that redeems a box mix. The recipe originally appeared in the mid/late 80s on the back of Duncan Hines cake mixes as an alternative. I think when the country started being health conscious crazy in the 90s, they discontinued the alternate instructions. Fortunately, my brother had the foresight to write them down and it's all I've used. Cake like this is just plain yum!

P.S. I just retrieved your email from 10.24 tonight. I'm such a lame ass. I'm sorry I missed out on the Five Guys opp (I emailed you back, btw and fwiw....) I suck.

NG said...

J: No biggie. I figured you probably hadn't seen the email. I know I have your main address somewhere but couldn't find it. Actually I felt like the lame ass emailing you that late anyway.

I didn't get your email though. Looks like it was devoured by technology (remember how it was supposed to make our lives easier?).

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

NG: Darn, technology! Well, I'm still sorry we missed each other. I'll email you privately and we'll see if other opps for FG&F exist. I hope they do...