Wanna hear my first genius idea about RV cooking adaptations and the aforementioned limitations I have with my current set-up and familiarity with propane as a heat source for preparing foodstuffs?

If not, you shouldn’t read this entry. Otherwise, proceed.

My cakes have burnt in the oven, thought I, so why not cook them on top of the stove? This would require applying heat to both sides, lest the top of the cake remain raw, so flipping would be necessary. I would use a shallow metal skillet, and I would call my creation: pan-cake.




It seemed like an idea that might possibly work. After a couple of misfires with judging how “done” the underside of the cake layers were, I ended up with a respectable stack of lemon pan-cakes.

You can see the problem, though: uneven size and shape. Even though I used a consistent amount each time I poured, my lack of skill in shaping and turning the pancakes lead to a hodgepodge of yumminess.

They tasted fine, but I realized that this might pose a problem later. Had I used a thick icing, I could have faked it. Alas, that was not to be.

A cream cheese frosting was my plan. I put the fat-free cream cheese into the mixer to soften it up and then realized that I was out of powdered sugar. I covered the mixing bowl in foil (Jim gave me his deceased parents’ KitchenAid when I moved into the RV. Score!).

Over the next few days, I routinely forgot to purchase powdered sugar when I was at the store. The cream cheese hardened a bit, permanently, and Daphne and I ate about half of the lemon pancakes. They were just that delicious.

By the time I finally did bring home ye olde confectioner’s, the cream cheese had developed a permanent skin. I scraped that off and worked with what I had left. I also learned that fat free cream cheese does not make a stable frosting. It’s too thin, and I had to use two pounds of sugar just to make it spreadable (versus pourable). It still tasted great, though.

After layering and frosting, I had a decent-enough pile o’ cake. I wouldn’t have taken it anywhere as a showpiece, but Daphne and I enjoyed the whole thing over the week or so. It settled over the next few days, as the pancakes were weighty and the icing was so thin. In the end, the icing oozed out the sides of the cake and pooled on the plate. We ate that, too.

I’m sure I learned something from this experiment. What did I learn?

1) Make sure you have all of your ingredients before you start. (I know; Cooking 101. My bad.)
2) Don’t use fat free anything when trying to produce something yummy.
3) Don’t be afraid to trim stuff down to make it uniform in size.
4) If a cake is taller in the middle, gravity is not going to be your friend, icing-wise.

That’s it for this installment of Cooking in a Van Down By the River. Carry on, peeps!