Denver can have cake and eat it, too. How good it is, depends on the ingredients.

I was recently asked, “What would be your recipe for this team?” It got me thinking (look out!), and those thoughts led me to…cake. Now, I’m not a big cake person, but one thing I do know is the topping doesn’t make the cake, it just enhances it.

Right now, Denver has a half-made cake. It’s lacking ingredients, and to make that cake awesome, some of those ingredients will need to be expensive. It’s going to take some time at 350° and the right measurements to make that cake great, but we have a budget, so we can’t go on a billion dollar spending spree. A budget is this thing where you’re given X amount of cash and that’s it. You can only spend what you have.

When we go shopping, we can decide how much to spend on the cake and icing. A really good cake needs little icing since it’s so good, the topping is just the garnish, the extra flavor. Fans are focused on the icing thinking it’ll make the half cooked cake amazing.

Ever had a bad cake with good frosting? I sure have, and you end up trying to make that icing cover as much of the cake as you can. In order for a cake to be a cake and not a bowl of glorified pudding, you do need there to be a lot more cake than topping. And the more you spend on that icing, the less can go into the cake.

If Denver wants to serve up a cake with frosting that wins the top prize, they’re going to have to pick which recipe offers the best chance. Spend heavily on a fondant which means a basic cake. Spend heavily on the cake and use a new untested whipped cream frosting. Spend heavily on the cake, but use the rum from the pantry that needed to caramelize.

A great cake can stand alone, but it’s not cake without a topping, even if it’s just a glaze, so you have to have some. The key is to make the icing good, but not take away from the cake because what happens if the judges don’t like the icing? Or, you get jostled and some of that fondant slides off?

To me, without a great cake, who cares about the topping? Expensive or brand new recipe, it won’t change the cake. It could enhance it, give it more flavor, but when you slice that cake, the icing is but a fraction of the whole.

If the icing isn’t good, the cake will still save the day and you can always eat around it. Or since you used ingredients in you pantry, that barely counted in your budget, you just scoop it off and bring in a ready made one. Either way, the next time you enter a competition, you’ll have a cake recipe worth it and next time only a tiny adjustment will need to be made to the cake/topping balance.

The Broncos want to have their cake, and eat it, too. The best shot is to spend big on the cake, plus bring in some new ingredients and use the caramelized rum drizzle for the topping. Don’t knock it, ’til you try it.

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