Basics of baking

Bake, Bake, Let’s bake a cake.

I had been terrified most of the day. Emma and I were going to bake a red velvet cake for Layce’s birthday. Emma was under the mistaken impression that I knew how to bake a cake. I am a grown up after all. And grown ups know how to do every thing. I was not willing to admit in my newly acquired parenthood that I do not know all things. I was enjoying my “All-Knowing” status. I wanted to hold onto it for a little while longer. I just had to get through the baking thing. I mean how hard can it be to bake a cake? It comes in a box. With directions.
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Emma came home from school and she was super-psyched to make this cake. We donned our aprons. She got out the mixing bowls. Layce was eyeing us. I felt her stare on the back of my neck. I studied the box.
“You’ve made a cake before, right?” Layce asked.
“Well, of course I’ve made a cake,” I replied indignantly.
“When?” Emma said, expertly sifting the flour stuff into the mixing bowl.
Why are children forever interested in specifics? Okay, it had been a while and at the time there had been some issues.
“Yes, when?” Layce asked.

Ugh, this was proving more difficult than I thought. I couldn’t break the social contract and lie because telling the truth was imperative to preserving the very framework society was built upon. I hedged. “Well, I’ve never made a red velvet cake. That’s a down south kind of baking. Up north we bake different kinds of cake.”
“What, they have special northern cakes?” Layce inquired.
“Like what kind of cakes?” Emma asked.
“Oh, you know, linseed oil cake and huckleberry double layer cake,” I said.
“I’ve never heard of those kinds of cake,” Layce said.

“You need to crack the eggs. I’m not very good at it,” Emma said, handing me two eggs.
“Sure,” I said. “Not a problem.” I cracked the egg and put my thumb through the shell. Several chunks of shell fell into the bowl. We all looked down at egg in the bowl now flecked with shell.
Emma stared at me incredulous. “I could’ve done that.”
“How long has it been since you made a cake?” Layce demanded.
My skills were obviously in question. I did the math. “It had only been forty-six years. That’s a mere blink of an eye in a geological time. I mean the Rockies weren’t created in a day.”
“FORTY SIX YEARS???” Emma said, astounded.
“It seems like just yesterday.”
“Let me do the eggs,” Emma said. She carefully and expertly cracked the eggs and folded the egg mixture sans egg shell into the flour.
Layce beamed.
“Show off,” I said.

beaters

Emma must have felt bad for me because she offered me the job of beating the mixture while she greased the cake pan.
Now you put a little flour in the cake pan so after the cake had cooled it will come out easier,” Layce instructed. “Just a trick my mom taught me.”
“Know it all,” I said.
Layce shrugged. “Just saying.”
I snapped the beaters into the beater thingy. I tried not to remember what happened the last time forty six years ago that I held this particular piece of kitchen machinery. I was older now. I had better motor skills. Every thing would turn out fine. I took a deep breath and turned the fuckers on. They worked great.
“Aren’t you going to put them in the batter?” Emma asked, watching me holding the beaters in the air while they whirled.
“Of course,” I said, confidently. I turned them on high and stuck them into the mixture. Evidently one should immerse the beaters and then turn them on because when I stuck the high speed beaters in the red mixture all hell broke loose.
Red stuff went everywhere and I mean everywhere. The beaters got away from me and bumped around the bowl sending batter all over Emma, Layce, myself, and the dog who happened by on the way to her food bowl. I was confused and rendered senseless in this crisis. Layce took control of the situation and yanked the cord out. The maniacal beaters stopped beating.
“Is this why you haven’t baked a cake since you were six?” Layce said.
“Yes, last time it was chocolate. I was banned from the kitchen forever.”
“I can see why,” Emma said. She licked her arm. “It sure is tasty though.”
I grabbed the car keys. “Come on, Em.”
“Where are you going?” Layce asked.
“To BUY a cake like a normal person,” I said.
“You might want to wipe some of that red shit off your face first,” she said, throwing me a dish towel. “You look like an axe murderer.”
“No, she’s a cake killer,” Emma said.
They laughed uproariously. I didn’t find it funny in the least. Where’s a bakery when you need one?

 

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5 thoughts on “Basics of baking

  1. Nice to know there’s someone slightly more inept in the kitchen than I. I LOVE store-bought cake. Mmmm!

  2. Thanks all of you, especially you Saxon for writing this blog. My first smile and laugh for the day. Never a dull minute reading your work about your life. Applause to Emma on sifting the flour and cracking eggs. I had to learn to crack 2 eggs in each hand and twist the shell so the yoke and whites fell out without any shell pieces. Every morning, only had 10 min to crack 350 eggs. Emma, try sprinkling sugar in the bottom of the pan, works like the flour your mom spoke of, but it melts into the cake, thus more flavor. Look forward to seeing all of you at Jewel book club next year.

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