Yesterday, it was twenty degrees out and snowing (IN EFFING APRIL), my broken foot was aching from the cold, and I was stuck in my parents’ house. I tried writing and failed because my head was foggy from weather-induced depression. The family dog, also suffering from cabin fever, was determined to spend the entire day either licking my nose or biting my right forearm (not sure why my arm and nose are yummier than other parts of my body) in spite of every treat, game, or other scheme designed to distract her. I was PMSing and on the constant verge of tears. So, after a few hours of trying to be productive and positive, I gave up on and decided I was going to bake an AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL chocolate cake with cream cheese icing from scratch, because IT WAS AN APRIL SNOWSTORM OF DEATH, SCREW EVERYTHING.
The cake itself turned out beautifully; the icing was easy to prepare and tasted great. Then I tried to put the icing on the cake, and it turned out like this:
I don’t know what happened, but every time I tried to apply icing to the surface of the cake, it, like, tore the top of the cake up. I tried a knife, a spatula, a spoon, my fingers–it was all a bust. So, after mangling my beautiful cake with ill-applied icing for ten minutes, I gave up and began to cry.
Now, I realize that crying over a badly-iced cake is…not rational. But I was SO tired of the day, and my aching foot, and my foggy winter-in-April brain, and all I wanted was to PRESENT A PRETTY CAKE TO MY FAMILY AND EAT IT FRONT OF THE SAD-EYED, HUNGRY DOG AS RETRIBUTION FOR HER NIPPING AT ME ALL DAY! WAS THAT REALLY TOO MUCH TO ASK, UNIVERSE?
My mom, engaged in reading on her Kindle, basically rolled her eyes at my temper tantrum, and I snapped, “OH, FUCK IT!” and spooned a glob of cake-and-icing into a bowl and took a bite.
It was delicious. My parents had some for dessert and loved it, and the dog looked at us all as we ate with a satisfying mix of envy and yearning in her eyes (HA, DOG, THAT IS WHAT YOU GET).
As I sit here typing this and eating more of my leftover mangled cake, I realize that yesterday I WAS this cake: messy and ugly, but yummy inside. I took a useless, gross, bad-mood day and tried to make something good of it. We all do this–some of us more often than others–and the results are mixed. Sometimes we rally and create a beautiful masterpiece, complete with vanilla fondant and sugar roses. Sometimes, our best achievement is a shower and clean pajamas, and store-bought cake if we’re lucky. Most often, though, we end up somewhere in the middle, with a delicious chocolate-and-cream-cheese glob of almost-but-not-quite greatness to show for our efforts. All of these outcomes are okay, because despite the messy icing, we are all sugary goodness underneath.
Today, the sun’s out, and the cake will be gone soon if its current rate of consumption continues unabated, as will the snow. I hope you make the best cake you can today 🙂
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