“Her picture’s in the papers now, and life’s a piece of cake.” – Ogden Nash, 1936
Oh really, Mr. Nash? A piece of cake? Such condescension rolls naturally from a man who probably never tried to make a homemade-strawberry-Belle-from-Beauty-and-the-Beast cake.
I did and, though the incident happened a full 60 hours ago, I still feel like Icarus did as he plummeted into the sea with his stinking, melted wings.
I nestled that cake in crystal and hauled it 100 miles for my daughter’s birthday, smiling demurely and accepting compliments from the hostesses at the Cheesecake Factory — the Cheesecake Factory, for Pete’s sakes — as I carried it to our table.
I’ve been baking cakes since I could breathe and I knew this one was a winner. I mean, I sifted the flour! I separated the eggs! I whipped the whites! I even set the oven timer, a formal procedure I reserve for only the most delicate of baking occasions.
Why yes, I said smugly to my sister, who asked. I did make the butter cream frosting. I always make the butter cream frosting.
Oh, the humiliation.
I hustled the gang through the formalities — the singing, the wishing, the candle blowing, yada yada yada — and waited for the big reveal.
Finally, the knife sliced through the sparkly yellow frosting, and down plopped a heavy piece of cake, the thud heard round the restaurant.
What’s this, I thought as I looked around in panic. What is that sickly looking hunk of partially cooked pink goo? That can’t be my beautiful homemade-strawberry-Belle-from-Beauty-and-the-Beast cake!
Oh, but it was, a fat hunk of shame.
It might have been the Bundt, which inspired a giddy Greek riff between my sister and me, but probably was too deep for my delicate cake. It may have been the on-line recipe (it was not the recipe).
I think, like burnt ole sunken Icarus, I just got a little too cocky. Ego check? Piece of cake.