I have a passion for cakes. I love to bake them. I love to eat them. My archive of recipes has grown over the years and includes only the most amazing ones I’ve ever happened upon. Some I found via internet searches, others go as far back as my grandmother’s cookbook that rests on the shelf in my parents’ pantry, the binding torn, pages falling out by the dozens. I’ve come to master identifying the best recipes knowing which ingredients really make a delicious cake and thanks to my reading ability, patience and an honest passion for the art, I’m usually able to pull off a pretty ‘sweet’ cake in the end. Family, close friends and the people I work with every day are the ones that typically benefit from my love of the hobby. Whenever an occasion warranting some sort of celebration rolls around, there I am in the kitchen for a usually late-night baking extravaganza whipping up the closest thing I know to be heaven on a plate for the guest of honor.
Last weekend as I prepped a chocolate custard cake for my little cousin Jack’s third birthday I mentioned to my aunt that though it was a trial recipe, I thought it would be a good cake ‘cause the batter was so good. “You like the batter?” she asked. “After all my years of baking I was never a fan of tasting the batter.” I love the batter. I know, I know, raw eggs and salmonella, but yum. I actually think one of the reasons I love baking so much is that I get to indulge at the end…ok, and along the way.
On this note, I think about a friend who recently told me she’s taken on a vegan lifestyle. Wow, I thought hearing this. Pretty impressive. I mean, to be so disciplined. I could never do it. I could never give up my ice cream, and my yogurt and cheese, not to mention hamburgers every now and then…and CAKE. What would I do without cake? She revealed her plan to make an exception and have a piece of cake when her birthday rolls around. Ok, I thought- but one’s birthday only comes around once a year. I’d be faking a birthday on a monthly basis to get my fix!
What makes me happy is that in this, I am not alone. I happen to work in an office where even the thinnest of us is watching our waistline, where bottled water reigns over soda and where Lean Cuisine lunches are the norm. Despite the calorie-counting I have more or less made it a tradition to have a cake for the birthday guy or gal on his or her special day. I’ve done the sour cream white cake, the lemon poppy seed with citrus frosting, the German chocolate upside-down cake, homemade carrot with cream cheese frosting, and a few over and over again, and every time, I hear it’s the best cake I’ve ever made. Really it’s not so tough to read a recipe and measure ingredients, but thank you. When everyone’s had their healthy sized slice that ballparks at at least 500 calories per, the leftovers go into the fridge. And I get quite the kick out of hearing chatter in the kitchen the following day: “Oh, goody, there’s cake left.” “Yum, what time do we get to have cake.” “You better leave me a piece.” But the best yet was when at ten A.M. one day I saw one co-worker with a slice sitting on a plate in the corner of his desk. “Cake already?” I asked. “It’s not even noon.”
“No,” he said in reply. “I’m eating it later. I just wanted to make sure I get a piece.”
Fantastic. I’m not alone in my love. Cake it is!