The One Baking Rule You Should Break This Summer

Making cake just got so much easier.

My family is really bad at waiting. Waiting for food to be completely ready to eat, that is. Case in point: Last weekend I pulled a skirt steak off the grill and let it rest on a cutting board while I finished whipping up some quick chimichurri sauce. In the five minutes I turned my back, my dad had sliced up a good section of the meat for snacking. Fat rivulets of juice ran down the cutting board.


He looked up, his face the picture of innocence.

"Resting" and "cooling" are two words that don’t seem to exist in the Goldman household vernacular. Pies stand zero chance of cooling and cookies are devoured straight off scalding hot baking sheets. Chopped up veggies become as irresistible as potato chips the moment it’s apparent that they’re not a snack, they’re headed for my dinner salad.

Surprisingly, this sense of impatience recently led to a great — perhaps even life-changing — discovery.

Let me quickly set the scene. It was my sister’s twenty-fifth birthday. I was baking my family’s end all and be all favorite recipe: espresso chocolate sheet cake with chocolate buttercream frosting. Anticipation for the cake was sky-high, and when it came out of the oven, someone announced that cake was best enjoyed warm.

Now if you’ve ever baked a cake, you’ll know that one of the cardinal rules is to cool the cake completely before frosting. Because while everyone knows warm chocolate chip cookies are damn delicious, and stealing hot apple pies from the windowsill is an American trope, no one eats cake warm. Warm cake equals melted frosting and the potential for Slip 'N Slide layers.

Normally I’d sternly deny the request. But there were no layers to fuss with, and if my sister wanted hot cake for her birthday … so be it. I pulled the cake from the oven and slicked on the icing about five minutes later.

Warm espresso chocolate cake ended up being the dessert equivalent of that scene in "Princess Diaries" when Mia takes off her glasses and gets a blowout for the first time. We loved her lots before, but now … bam, who’s that sexy princess?

Yep, the frosting became shiny in places and melted a little bit. And the warm cake — lighter and airier and more buttery than ever before — soaked it up, then practically dissolved in our mouths.

Warm cake with the frosting sliding off irrefutably tasted better than cold cake.

Which is why, ladies and gents, everyone can and should stop cooling their sheet cakes. May I suggest starting with Food Network's Chocolate Sheet Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting? Live on the edge and try it with layer cakes too. That snacking cake you’ve been eying that doesn’t even have frosting? Yeah, eat it straight from the oven (and invite me over).

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