Last night I made the cake part of Elle’s birthday cake. As the rich aroma filled the house, I began thinking of why I love to bake.
I can take 4 egg whites, a stick of butter, flour, sugar, cream, vanilla, baking powder, and salt, and turn them into something unrecognizable from its components. That’s different from regular cooking. When I make corn chowder, for instance, you see the corn kernels, see the chunks of potato and onion, see the milky broth, see the flecks of pepper dotting the surface. You know what’s in it because it’s recognizable. But you look at a cake, and even though you know it has flour and sugar in it, you can’t see them in anything resembling their original state.
It’s so gratifying to see that a bowl of butter and sugar that refuses to turn into a light creamy mixture can still be incorporated with the other ingredients to make a thick luscious batter. It’s wonderful to smell the aroma of baking cake. It’s delightful when I see that lining the entire cake pan–bottom and sides–made my cake come easily and beautifully out of the pan. (And I certainly won’t deny how delectable the cake batter tasted when I licked the beaters!)
So tonight when I go home and make the lemon curd and buttercream, and begin putting everything together, even if my attempts at decorating the cake are still amateurish, I’ll still be content. It’s a labour of love for someone I love.
And no, my dearest darlingest sister Elle, I will not make the frosting black. That would be a travesty!