24 March 2012

Fire! Fire! (Alternate Title: Let Me Eat Cake)

By Joyce Azria of BCBGeneration, via

In celebration of the release of The Hunger Games movie this weekend, I set my oven on fire. Just kidding! My oven did catch on fire, but it's just a coincidence.

Last night I decided to make delicious marble cake. I've been obsessing over finding the perfect not-too-sweet recipe ever since I had marble coffee cake at William's Coffee Pub, our local spot for write-ins, a while back. I turned on the oven, got out my shiny food processor, loaded up an episode of Mysterious Universe for the requisite kitchen project ear stimulation, and started getting out ingredients. (Is it wrong to talk about The Hunger Games and delicious cake in the same post? Whatever. Those of us in the first world know we basically are the Capital of Panem, right?)

Seemed the oven was taking a little too long to heat up, so I took a closer look: flames! Okey dokey no problem: perhaps there was some goo or something in the bottom. I turned it off, and the flames kept going. Snapped off my headphones, cocked an ear: there was a zapping sound coming out of the oven. Zapping, as in the kind of sound that accompanies the inevitable Jacob's Ladder in a mad scientist's laboratory.


I yelled like ninjas had just invaded the kitchen called for Dave to come give me a hand, grabbed the fire extinguisher, and emptied the whole thing into the oven while Dave went downstairs to throw the breaker. Turns out, the fire extinguisher was not necessary or useful: the fire was a result of the oven's bottom element melting through itself and making contact with the oven floor, thus creating a mighty, power-drawing, flamey circuit.


We've got a shiny new element waiting to be installed, but first, there is the small matter of cleaning out the oven. It's basically like somebody (me) threw a giant bucket of finely ground sand all over it. Last night, Dave and I spent a couple of hours cleaning the floors and loading up the dishwasher with all the stuff that got spritzed on, but the oven is just coated. Can you think of a better way to spend Friday night with your awesome boyfriend? No, I didn't think so.

It's going to be a while before there is marble cake.

But regardless of how the cleanup goes, I am going to see The Hunger Games tomorrow night. Can't wait.


Mark K said...

Your soundtrack for the day is, The Prodigy's, 'Fire Starter'. Just think of how lucky you guys were in reality--Marble cake would have gone straight to your hips.

But glad no one was hurt and the outcome has had one positive result: the oven gets a good cleaning ;)

Deborah Walker said...

Oh, man. That sounds totally scary. I'm glad you're both okay. Notwithstanding the tedious clean-up.

Folly Blaine said...

Wow. What a horrible turn of events. Glad you guys are okay.

Sherry Ellis said...

How awful! So much for that marble cake. Maybe you can go buy a slice after you see Hunger Games. Good luck with the clean up!

Elizabeth Twist said...

Thanks, guys. We are fine, though the cleanup has been really gross. Yes, Mark, the oven is ridiculously clean now. The stuff in the fire extinguisher (ABC type) was really noxious and corrosive. Degreased the oven (and my lungs) quite effectively.

Notes: If the element in your electric oven is glowing much more brightly in one spot than elsewhere, replace it. It is a sign that it is wearing down in that area.

For your kitchen, purchase a BC fire extinguisher, not an ABC one. BC fire extinguishers are appropriate for grease fires and electrical fires and usually contain a variation on baking soda. Not nearly as gross to clean up as the ammonium bi-whatever that's in the extinguisher I used.

Safety first, everybody!

Traci Kenworth said...

Glad it didn't get out of control. I just found a perfect recipe for Starbuck's Coffee cake, I know it's not marble--but it's spectacular. Good luck in your search of the cake.

Unknown said...

Ugh, I hate a kitchen mess! I few months back I made hot wings. I pulled a bottle of BRAND NEW wing sauce from the fridge and proceeded to shake it to mix it. KA-SPLUT! The lid came off, wing sauce EVERY-FLIPPING-WHERE! Under the cabinets, between the fridge and counter, the ceiling--you name it. It was horrifying. : )

Glad everyone is safe and sorry about the mess. Let us know how the cake turns out should you brave it again.

Fantasy Writer Guy said...

Wow. That's a really neat adventure. You know what? I don't know if this is remotely relevant but "Eat pumpkin spice cheescake" is on my bucket list and probably the only food on my bucket list. I still haven't figured out how I will make this happen. I don't know where to get pumpkin spice cheescake. Well. I guess I'm going to have to read the Hunger Games. It was fun thinking I would be the only human left on planet earth either withiout a cell phone or without reading Hunger Games but obviously all you people are just going to keep on talking about Hunger Games Hunger Games Hunger Games Hunger Games Hunger Games until I finally read the damned thing and then maybe I can get on with my life and seek the pumpkin spice cheesecake. It's like a holy crusade, okay I should really have shut up a while back.

Elizabeth Twist said...

Sounds like you cook like I put out fires: both have far-flung implications.

Weeks later, you'll probably still be finding splotches of wing sauce in unexpected places.

Elizabeth Twist said...

Hunger Games Hunger Games Hunger Games! Really it is a good book. Guess what I am planning another Hunger Games post today.

p.s. I didn't see the damn movie yet. We were too tuckered out from inhaling noxious fumes all weekend to face the swelling crowds of superfans.

Pumpkin spice cheesecake, huh? I have made pumpkin spice cheesecake. I'm not even sure I still have my springform pan (a must if you are cheesecake making), but I could see bringing some to a write-in at some point. Do not be fooled and purchase the rather lame version by President's Choice. It will not help you and you will be disappointed.

Hunger Games! Hunger Games!

Fantasy Writer Guy said...

What!! You've made pumpkin spice cheesecake!! Oh my gawd. I don't know what to say. Except that I wouldn't let PC ever be any kind of provider for something as important as a bucket list item. No worries there. I had been assuming it would eventually come from a schmancy bakery somewhere...

Elizabeth Twist said...

Yuppers. Cheesecake is not that hard; it's more a matter of patience and having time to hang around the house. I would be into making it again. The recipe I remember making before produced a terrifyingly huge cheesecake. HUGE. TERRIFYING. Once my oven is no longer producing toxic fumes when I turn it on, I will look into this.