It might be due to my obsession with cakes lately; decorating cakes, studying cakes, mixing cakes from scratch, perusing the baking isle at Ralph’s for new and interesting cake mixes, but it suddenly occurred to me that cake is really symbolic of life. First of all, there are all of the ingredients. The quality of the ingredients influences the quality of the cake so it is important to look for that special vanilla (especially if you are making a white cake and then you must use clear vanilla in order to maintain the integrity of the cake’s color). The flour should be unbleached because why not get as much nutrition out of the flower as possible and the sugar, finely sifted so the batter will not be clumpy and the eggs fresh, very fresh. The proper ingredients are the bases for the cake, but the blending of ingredients and the order in which they are blended is equally important.
Blending cannot be done too quickly or at a speed too high. The ingredients must fold together properly with the wet ingredients being blended first. There is chemistry involved and it always surprises me when science sneaks into my life because I never really studied science per say, yet it just keeps popping up in unexpected places.
At last, ta-da, the frosting, ahhh the fluffy, fluffy frosting, the sweetness, the topping that something extra that makes the cake cry out “Eat me!” Life should be sweet, and colorful and expressive and frosting is also useful for filling in the cracks of life. Relationships that expire, jobs that don’t pan out, and people suddenly absent from your life, frosting helps to fill in those gaps, those little cracks where the cake dips, having stuck a little bit to the pan and with a little frosting, they will never know that there are crevices underneath the surface. Presentation is everything, I like to say, and it does help with cakes as with other objects of life such as houses, and people. A well-presented cake, complete with flowers, decorative icing and a pleasing design, can be the “ahhh” factor needed for that satisfied smile to appear.
Life is full of lessons and cake decorating is too. There are little tricks one learns along the way, that make it a bit easier, such as freezing the cake for a bit before putting the final frosting on top of the crumb coat in order to provide a more workable surface, or putting the flowers in the freezer so they can “set.” There are the boarders, “shells” or “stars” that finish of the edge of the cake and connect it beautifully to its base and of course the fate accompli is the edible glitter, which does nothing but add beauty.
My life is like a cake, complete with trial and error, frosting-filled gaps and goodness inside and though it isn’t always picture-perfect, in its own way, it always tastes the way it is supposed to, and there is always plenty for everyone who wants to bring a plate, a fork and cut off a slice.
A beautiful cake and a beautiful life.