“Can we make Red Velvet Cake? Please. See here. I have the recipe.”
“I don’t know. I’m not a cake person. I’m a pie person. Mommy makes great pies. Not cakes.”
I had taken 80 deep breaths. I had never actually made a cake before. I wanted my mother make cakes and they always, always fell. So I assumed. Well, if I make a cake. It will fall. Yet, she was the fabulous Femme Czar of Pies. No one made a damn pie like my Momma. No one. Ever. So naturally I assumed that I too have the superlative pie gene. And I was right. When I make a pie, angels from heaven look down upon me and smile.
So, I have never attempted to make a cake for anyone.
When I was married, I let my husband make all the cakes.
When he didn’t want to bake the cake, guess what… I bought the cake.
I NEVER EVER ATTEMPTED TO MAKE CAKE.
I just didn’t want to fail.
“Can we make Red Velvet Cake from scratch?”
“No. We buy the mix.”
By this time I’m sweating. She is going to know this is the one area where Mommy has fear. I felt weak. Lord… why, this cake, this century?
… but I am no PUNK.
So, let’s make this cake.
“C’mon little one. Let’s get the ingredients and supplies. Let’s make this cake!”
We toddle about Randall’s as though we had never been in the grocery. Up the aisle. Down the aisle. Then she goes … “we are not making this from scratch?”
“Huh! Are you crazy? On a week night? Do I look like Julia Child?”
“So that’s a no.”
And here we had the super curiousity and will of a small child and the fear of a 40’s something single mom.
A Mexican standoff ensued.
There were sniffles.
A side had to concede to cake mix.
At home, now we are washing bowls, using hand mixers, whipping things, MY KITCHEN IS A MESS. A TOTAL MESS. LIKE MY LIFE. MESSY MESSY MESS MESS.
BUT MY CHILD IS SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HAPPY. The smile on her face. The pride that she took in reading each step and learning the process was amazing. She made verbal notations. And now this cake was more than “just a cake”. It was a source of happiness for my baby. This was something that triggered happiness, she was completely involved in baking her way to joy. There was so much laughter and discovery. It was amazing.
And suddenly, I didn’t care if the damn cake fell or not… to me this was a super cake. This was Happy Cake. We were baking happiness. We were making a core memory.
The cake was finished, it didn’t fall. She decorated it.
AND IT WAS ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS.