Saturday, June 26, 2010

It Takes the Cake!

On August 20, 1973 I spent the morning baking a chocolate cake, decorating the dining room with orange and white crepe paper streamers (Go Westlawn Bobcats!) because that was all I had. It was my parents anniversary and I was going to show them how grown up I was. I could pull off my very own surprise dessert.

I was 12 and it was their 13th anniversary. My dad was asleep (he worked nights) and my mom was at work. I scrounged for everything I could in the house, pantry and closet. I decided to use my own previous Cinderella and Prince Charming birthday figurines to top the cake. Perfect.

Now it is 2010 and my parents will be celebrating their 50th Anniversary this August. I decided to upgrade my baking skills and take cake decorating classes. I certainly didn't guess that this would open up a whole new world for me. I have found a calling that I am having a blast and my creativity is exploding. I absolutely love the creative flow and it is important for the cakes to taste good too.  No "just pretty" cakes here! Gotta have substance. Gotta go below the surface and dig deep. Looking good is important because that is what draws our eye to the cake in the first place! But once you get there, there's gotta be more.

Same thing in life. I have always believed in depth. More than just looking good. I can appreciate a good outfit, complimentary make up and the hair cut and color that rocks. Jewelry can be an especially critical accent (especially earrings). And don't forget the shoes. I have the perfect shoe for each out fit/mood that I'm in. They are all singularly exsquisite, but together, they can make the difference between cool, wow or fun!

After the first glimpse, though, there's gotta be more. Interesting facts, witty quips or long, deep conversations that pull hearts together for a moment or a lifetime. Ah-ha, that's it. Relationships. Connections. That's what I'm designed for.

Cakes have been a great celebration outlet for just that. Writing was one thing, but cakes, have an expiration. After I've written something, I will re-visit it time and time again. Tweaking, making it "more better!" Always something to correct. With cakes, when it's finished, I can tweak for a while, but at some point, we've got to eat it! And eating it is the point. I don't want something "too pretty to eat." I want it to be pretty, but come on, eat the thing. It tastes good too!

I've worked on flavors and fillings and icing to the point that I dream about them sometimes. "Does hazelnut chocolate really go with dutch chocolate buttercream?" I wonder in my twilight stages of sleep? Every detail matters to me. I wish it didn't sometimes, but it does. That is what makes me, me.

Details matter. Not all details, mind you, but the ones that do -- really do matter! Car parts for instance. Not that I can't appreciate torquing an engine head (because I have done it and know how important it is to buy the right torque wrench and torque each bolt just right, in order and then again -- IN ORDER), but I don't obsess over car stuff. Okay, so maybe I do find car part details important -- but I digress!

Digression is part of the details. As I expound any one detail, it will take me off into another arena of details that I hadn't considered or planned to go. How else can you start out discussing marriage, cakes and car engines and it all makes perfect sense?