The Ugly Cake Shop Cake

…IF I were to open a cake shop, it would be called The Ugly Cake Cake Shop.  This week anyway-ALL of my test cakes looked terrible. Tasted delicious.  Looked terrible.  I have adopted the “gutter sundae” term.  “Gutter sundae cake”?  Christina Tosi uses this term in the Milk Bar cooking book.  Its where all the left over ingredients go.  Literally in a gutter. The gutters that collect water.  The ones for purchase at the hardware store.  So, ‘gutter cake” that can be a thing right?  …I mean Sweet Lady Jane in Los Angeles has a Vanilla Creme cake that is quite whimsical.  It could have been decorated by a child or an adult.  And then there is the Eton cake.  Also, quite non-conventional.  For sure my ugly delicious tasting cakes would sell.

Example of a birthday cake from Sweet Lady Jane on Melrose one year!.. whimsical and absolutely delicious.. ok and maybe a bit prettier than the one I make below.

My friend has a birthday and me being me offered to bake a cake. With ice cream.  Tow options come to mind.  And adult version and a a fun child-like version.  Which one won?  The ugliest child-like version.  This little cake was a mess.  Delicious, mess.

The Cake:

Angel Food cake ingredients.  Baked in regular cake pan.  I use egg white powder and gluten free flour sifted a couple of times instead of the non-self rising cake flour per usual. has a great recipe for this cake.  I feature the recipe as it provided guidance to me.  I did not use all ingredients suggested but I have made this cake before.


  • 1-1/4 cups egg whites (about 9)
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


Place egg whites in a large bowl; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Sift 1/2 cup sugar and flour together twice; set aside.
Place oven rack in the lowest position. Preheat oven to 350°. Add cream of tartar, extracts and salt to egg whites; beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining sugar, about 2 tablespoons at a time, beating on high until stiff peaks form. Gradually fold in flour mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time.
Gently spoon into an ungreased 10-in. tube pan. Cut through batter with a knife to remove air pockets. Bake 35-40 minutes or until lightly browned and entire top appears dry. Immediately invert pan; cool completely, about 1 hour.
Run a knife around side and center tube of pan. Remove cake to a serving plate. Yield: 12-16 servings.

Test Kitchen Tips

  • Be sure to use an ungreased (but not a nonstick) tube pan for angel food cakes. This type of batter needs to “climb” the sides of the pan to reach great heights for its light-as-air texture.
  • Inverting the pan while cooling helps prevent the cake from compressing and losing volume. If your pan doesn’t have prongs or feet to keep it suspended, suspend it on the neck of a wine bottle.
  • Be patient when adding sugar to egg whites. Going slowly allows a beautiful foam to build. Adding too much sugar at one time can deflate the air you’ve worked so hard to incorporate.
  • For added style and flavor, stir in the seeds of a vanilla bean or a bit of vanilla bean paste.

As for the chocolate sauce.  Oh my god!  This one is so delicious!  The cocoa powder that I use is some of the best and a heavy cream water mix is my recommended whole milk.  I recommend making the recipe as intended first, if you want to but breaking the rules here most certainly rewarding.

The recipe is from the  A five minute recipe it is!  So easy.



  • 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (whole milk recommended)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

How to Make It

  1. Place the granulated sugar, cocoa powder, flour, and salt in a medium-sized saucepan, along with 1/2 cup of the milk and whisk to combine into a thick paste.
  2. Add the remaining milk and bring the mixture to a boil; whisk to blend thoroughly.
  3. When sauce the sauce comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer very gently for 5 minutes, whisking often. Remove from heat, add the vanilla extract, and let the sauce cool.
  1. Store the sauce in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, covered.
  2. Warm the sauce in the microwave or on the stovetop, if desired.

Cooking Tips

  • The sauce may be used hot or cold; on ice cream, cake, fruit, or combined with milk to make a quick cup of hot chocolate (blend milk and amount of sauce to your own taste).
  • Keep this sauce on hand throughout the year, as it is a low-fat treat and a little bit goes a long way. For a light dessert with a chocolate fix, slice a few bananas, sprinkle them with walnuts, and then drizzle some of this chocolate sauce on top: an elegant and satisfying dessert with lots of texture, flavor, nutrition from the milk and bananas, and very little fat (though it does have sugar). It can be made with low-fat or even skim milk, for a wonderful treat when seriously watching fat intake. Will it be as good as with whole milk? No, but it will be almost as good–a fair compromise for such rich, chocolate flavor.


  • Add orange liqueur and a bit of orange zest for a chocolate orange sauce
  • Add a couple of tablespoons of bourbon and some cherries for a cherry bounce chocolate sauce
  • Add some mint extract and chopped fresh mint leaves for a chocolate mint sauce
  • Add some crushed peppermint candy for a chocolate peppermint sauce

The recipe makes about 3 cups of chocolate sauce or about 2 dozen 2-tablespoon servings.

And at one point I thought, Oh I will make a chocolate birthday cake crumble speaking got the Milk Bar cooking book and Christina Tosi.  You can better believe every recipe in that book is delicious and has been tested.  I want to break the rule and add to the already perfect. I made the crumb but didn’t use them after all.  Just because, if yo feel so inclined, here is the recipe of that too.  And if you don’t have her book, I recommend.

Birthday Cake Crumb

This is fun for addition for sprinkling with the additional sprinkles or in between layers.. not necessary but adds a bit of texture..


makes about 275 g (2 ¼ cups)

100 g granulated sugar (1/2 cup)
25 g light brown sugar (1 1/2 tablespoons, tightly packed)
90 g cake flour (3/4 cup)
2 g baking powder (1/2 teaspoon)
2 g kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon)
20 g rainbow sprinkles (2 tablespoons)
40 g grapeseed oil (1/4 cup)
12 g clear vanilla extract (1 tablespoon)

1. heat the oven to 300°f.

2. combine the sugars, flour, baking powder, salt, and sprinkles in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed until well combined.

3. add the oil and vanilla and paddle again to distribute. the wet ingredients will act as glue to help the dry ingredients form small clusters; continue paddling until that happens.

4. bake for 15 minutes at 300°f.

5. let the crumbs cool completely before using in a recipe or scarfing by the handful. stored in an airtight container, the crumbs will keep fresh for 1 week at room temperature or 1 month in the fridge or freezer.

A few Cake Crumb Photos

I added cocoa powder…
this is the first round and break up into clumps and place back in to the oven..

Cake photos and sauce and build below..

final out takes.. i don’t even know if I got any “good photos” before the melt..


The Chocolate Sauce photos..

The build..

and the ice cream…The lid to the ice cream as the guide.. sort of..

cut the ice cream in the carton to fit the cake in perfect theory.. pack additional ice cream where needed and place cake with ice cream in to the freezer to set..

first cake round cutting not so successful.. bread knife not the best choice for the cutting..?

the Leaning Tower of Pisa cake.. also known as the gutter sundae cake before going into the studio …


And some other test cakes for fixing and such..

same cake batter as above…cooking times vary as sizes are different..

The birthday cake despite appearances was a hit and a reminder to celebrate your life. And maybe judge a little less.  Each year we become older yes, but hopefully are the wise and richer for it. Always celebrate life no matter what.  And YES, eat the cake!


Pictures of pretty cakes from the past..

more text kitchen cakes really.. but still a bit prettier.. no Molly on the Range but not bad.. and super delicious..

Chai latte buttercream vanilla cake last November.. rose petal garnish..

the cake pans helped here for some but still..I am actually digging the ugly version.. aka gutter cakes..
ice cream cake.. recipe from the 1970s
same angel food cake recipe above..


Until Next Time…