First off: I sent my first query letter to an agent last week. Then I immediately curled up on the couch because oh God, what had I done? Eventually that passed, and now I have 3 more super-drafty, bare-bones query drafts ready to be edited.

But I’m not writing about query letters today. No. I am writing about CAKE.

Bundt cake, to be precise, and the two failed cakes that forced me to stop being lazy, buckle down, and make cakes the way my mom taught me.

So, without further delay: CAKE.

Photo of a beautiful chocolate chip bundt cake dusted with powdered sugar.

CAKE

Last year, some of my friends had an awesome get-together. I love baking, and I really wanted to make something impressive. So I decided to make a bundt cake! And even though I hadn’t made one in years and years, I didn’t remember it being that tricky. So I winged it. I failed hard.

Photo of a chocolate bundt0 cake on a table that broke in half when it came out of the pan.

Delicious failure.

Awful.

I tried to make another one a couple of weeks ago. The same thing happened.

While I was busy sulking about my poor, broken cake, my boyfriend looked it up on the internet. “It looks like you’re supposed to use shortening and flour,” he said.

It hit me all at once. Of course. Of course. I had totally forgotten about that. That’s the “right” way to grease a pan. I’ve used cooking spray for so long that I forgot that was even an option. Cooking spray works for most things.

But not bundt cakes. No. I sprayed the pan the first time. I sprayed way more than I should have the second. But it failed both times.

But then I made this:

Photo of a beautiful chocolate chip bundt cake dusted with powdered sugar.

The moment after this picture was taken, we tore into it.

Here’s how I did it.

Use Shortening
Grab 1/8 of a cup of shortening. Or, if you have a tub of it, just grab some. Accept that your fingers are going to be disgusting and dive right in.

Rub that shortening over every nook and cranny in that pan. You don’t want clumps, so smooth those out. But you want a nice deposit on everything. Remember to get the post in the center of the pan, too.

Cover Everything with Flour
Once you’ve cleaned your filthy, filthy shortening hands, you can flour it. Here’s the trick: Grab a big handful of flour and toss it in. All of it. Doesn’t matter where.

Then pick up the pan and tilt it. The flour will do all the work for you. It should stick to the places with shortening and not stick to places that are floured. Ultimately, you should end up with a thin layer of flour on everything.

Keep doing this until everything is covered. When the flour won’t stick to anything else, turn the pan over and dump the extra flour in the trash.

Let the Cake Cool for At Least 10 Minutes
Once your cake is baked and out of the oven, leave it somewhere to cool. Like all baked goods, the cake’ll be softer when it’s oven-hot, and soft cakes crumble into pieces.

And that’s it! That’s all it took for me to make a beautiful little bundt cake.

It’s just obnoxious that it took me so long to remember. I kept hoping that maybe, just maybe I could find the right amount of cooking spray to make that cake pop out.

But no. Laziness really, really doesn’t pan out. (And is that… almost a pun? Kind of? I think that’s a good a sign as any to stop.)

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