Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Cake Two

I posted this story of the birthday cake a while back but now I have found the photo!  So here is the story again.

Dad and I arrived back home in Albion very late one evening – we had been out visiting hospitalized church members all the way over in Rochester. It was Dad’s birthday, October 13, and we had been gone all day – we had pretty much forgotten about celebrating.

We entered through the back door into an almost completely dark house (most unusual since my mother usually kept every light on in the place when she was alone). Mom was nowhere to be found but there, in the corner of the kitchen, on top of the chest freezer and illuminated by one gooseneck desk lamp, was a cake.

This was not just any cake. This cake had a rusty orange zinnia with a broken stem drooping off to one side of it. A large white candle kind of angled out of the cake like a cannon. The chocolate frosting was flecked with  cake crumbs; the frosting was all over the cake plate. There were little birthday candles stuck here and there into the cake’s frosting and we also found several egg shells and a couple of spoons wedged into this amazing creation. A few pieces of the cardboard cake mix box were also sticking out of the frosting.

Mom soon emerged from the darkened dining room and related the story of this cake. As usual, it was a layer cake that she had tried to bake. And as usual she had encountered problems removing the layers from the pans. When she had finally succeeded in prying the chunks of cake out of the pans, they really weren’t in “layers” anymore so she tried to “glue” everything back together with frosting. A few toothpicks inside to hold everything in place – voila!

Mom always had trouble with layer cakes because the layers never came out of the oven flat or even – they always dipped in one direction or the other – that is why she had to use toothpicks to hold the layers together. It was many, many years later that I discovered that ovens came with leveling feet – and that my poor mother’s years of problems over unlevel cake layers was not her fault but the fault of unleveled parsonage ovens.

But on this day in October this particular birthday cake was not cooperating with her and soon crumbs were in the frosting and frosting was everywhere. First she got mad - then she got creative. And because enough time had elapsed between when she made the cake and when dad and I came home, we all had a good laugh over the cake and cut it up and ate it. We just had to be really careful and watch out for those toothpicks.