My biggest baking fiasco occurred on a Thanksgiving of course! It was about 5 years ago and this was the first time I was to cook the fall feast for my husband’s family. I had the oven in overdrive all day Wednesday, trying to get all the baking done ahead of time.

Looking to impress my in-laws, I decided to attempt a homemade pumpkin cheesecake instead of regular ol’ pie. I spent over $40 on premium ingredients and another $29.95 (plus shipping & handling, gr!) on a 9″ springform pan. I had saved it for last because I wanted to be able to take my time with the recipe, never having made a cheesecake before.

So it was around 8:00 p.m. when I started and by 8:30 it was in the oven. About 15 minutes later, I noticed a burning smell & upon further invesigation discovered smoke pouring out of the oven vents! My husband and I open up the oven door and billows of smoke fill the kitchen. I pulled out the cake thinking it had leaked, but it was doing fine. I looked into the oven, and something from that day’s baking had dripped onto the bottom and it was now burning. I scraped out the burnt lump and put the cheesecake back in the oven.

10 minutes later, the smell & smoke were back. I pulled the half-baked cheesecake back out and saw that there was still something smoldering at the bottom of the oven.

Now the last thing I wanted to serve for dessert was a smoked pumpkin cheesecake! So, I figured the only thing to do was cool the oven down and clean it. I worried about how the cheesecake would do, sitting half-baked while I cleaned, but I saw no other solution.

So there I am, oven cleaner, yellow gloves, scrub brush, 9:00 p.m. the night before Thanksgiving, scrubbing away while cursing softly.

An hour later, the oven is clean & I put the cheesecake back in, completely convinced it’s ruined. It bakes another 30 minutes & I pull it out around 10:30. I’m shocked. It’s firm, has no cracks & smells like heaven!! “Yay Me!”, I think smugly.

After letting it sit for 15 minutes, I picked it up to move it to the refrigerator. I very carefully walk it over to the fridge & my husband opens the door for me. I bent down to place it on a shelf and PHUMP! The bottom falls out of the springform pan and the whole cheesecake falls through. Half landed on the bottom fridge ledge and the other half landed on the kitchen floor.

A stunned moment of silence followed, during which both of us just stood there looking at this pile of pumpkin cheesecake. I looked up at my husband, opened our silverware drawer and quietly handed him a spoon. We kneeled down and scooped up a spoonful off the top of the pile, and took a taste. The first word spoken since the cake had dropped came from my husband after he tasted…”Damn”.

It took a good year before I could laugh about it. ; )

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