Yesterday morning my new friend N called. "Are you still interested in making my birthday cake?"
For her party...that night. Granted, we had talked about cakes the previous week, but neither of us made definitive plans.
"Sure!" I said, as I set aside my pen and notebook, tied on my apron, and prepared my cake pans.
I've written about the Moosewood Chocolate Cake before, a no-fail, quick, tasty chocolate cake I could have in the oven in 15 minutes. Then, I could whip up an espresso buttercream, and cover the whole brown and tan fantasy in ganache. I would melt white chocolate and fashion a large "N" to decorate the cake.
I saw, very clearly, a classy, clean, elegant cake.
What I got (yes, I'm really using this word...it works in this context) was a messy, lumpy, disheveled cake, with huge cracks tenuously bonded with ganache.
What went wrong?
Bad decisions: wanting to accomplish most everything on my to-do list, I ignored that inner voice that said "the cake is still a little warm. Maybe you should stick it in the fridge before cutting the layers. Or applying frosting."
And I *know* to follow that voice. My intuition is mostly spot on. But, nooooo.
The cake was a mess. I was upset. I went to the gym, and tried to imagine a magically transformed pretty cake awaiting me at home.
Nope. It was still a mess. I tried to shore it up and even the layers before enrobing the lumpiness in ganache.
I was embarrassed. This was a special 50th birthday party! N was planning a great event! My foodie friends T and J would be there too, along with multitudes of strangers!
But, reader, I had no choice. I took the sad cake with me, apologized to N for the ugliness, and left it covered until it was time to serve cake.
N's daughter took many, many photos. N. loved the white chocolate N. Only a handful of people looked at the cake. N told horror stories of cakes and pies gone awry and served anyway. I cut the cake into wedges and slices, and waited.
"Do you sell cakes?"
"What do you call this cake?"
"Did you invent this?"
N said she needed to go in the house and eat her cake alone to truly appreciate it.
And, when I left shortly thereafter, N announced that I was the baker and everyone applauded.
1. do *not* disregard intuition
2. deliciousness trumps aesthetics