As my mum returned from a distant relatives birthday meal she handed me a piece of cake. I am an open advocate of all things baked and appreciate the gesture but one bite in and there was not a happy expression about my face.
I’m sure the cake was beautifully iced with an appropriate amount of time dedicated to its creation.
But cakes should be an expression not just an appropriate amount of time. A cake can say a thousand things from the symbology of different flowers for ages and symbols representing the occasion or the knowledge of what the person you are celebrating likes.
While we add a beautiful expression we should not forget about taste. I will endlessly despair of a bland sponge, tasteless butter cream to heavily contrasted by the sugar fuelled icing above. A celebration is meant to be felt and tasted. I desire no calories from food that has no taste where it ought. It keeps, it ices but there is no joy in its eating other than a sickly after taste.
But on the matter of cake I digress other than to encourage you to put a little love, a little effort and a necessary amount of full-fat butter and essence happy whisked eggs into your creations.
The matter at heart is of the ocassion of birthdays and the difference as you age. I would much rather have a single messily decorated attempt at something made with love from someone I love than a divine looking or even tasting cake from a professional or more to the point a supermarket. As often as I can I have been known to bake and spend upto 5 hours painting cakes for loved ones. Not everyone can, in recent months my efforts have dwindled a little but I say this because everyone should at least once.
As I age regardless of a lesser presence of presents and gatherings I would love to know that each card had been read for meaning before being sent and each message thought through from the select few people I consider myself closest too.
Bland birthday cake staples an age, not a people but it’s just as bad as our crisis of technology when flavour becomes as much a thing of vision as our surroundings.
My optimistic philosophy on this most formally phrased occasion is that despite what you see and the disappointment you may feel at your own efforts not always appearing as good as the polished pinterest pictures, they probably taste better because you made them for a cause with it in mind instead of a visual expression to be placed and left in a visible realm.
Have your cake and taste it too!