This wasn’t a surgery or baby call. This was a funeral call. These are the really important ones. I remember several times growing up thevarious church members that served us a meal after a funeral of one great-grandparentor another. (I had 6 until I was 15.) It was truly a blessing after a long andtiring day to sit down to a delicious meal and share memories. I couldn’t just give them a few cookies. I couldn’t just give them a box cake mix. I had to give my best, which meanshomemade. For baking, this is so not aproblem. Because I grew up watching myMamaw bake, I know that homemade is really the best and only way to bebaker. Not to put down anyone who doesn’tdo it that way. I’m just saying Mamawingrained in me the need to bake to the best of my ability. Feeling that way, I have been baking that waysince I was in Jr. High. (And I am old enoughthat it was still called that.) Sobaking a cake on a Tuesday isn’t a big deal, normally.
However, this Tuesday it was a special cake. It was a cake that will be ministering to agrieving family. I am now officiallyentering adult womanhood and I’m terrified. I searched through every cookbook I have looking for the perfectcake. Something that everyone likes andisn’t too experimental. Something thatonly needs 3 eggs because that’s all I have. Something that doesn’t have too many ingredients because I don’t want todrag out a bunch of stuff. So Ieventually decided on a yellow cake recipe from Betty Crocker. Then I had to find an icing. I looked at the suggestions the cookbook gaveand went with the chocolate. I made alist for my husband because I was out of flour and chocolate and somethingelse. I didn’t have anything to transportthe cake on, so I also asked him to look for that. Of course he didn’t find anything and theunsweetened baking chocolate was difficult to find, but he came through like achamp with only 2 phone calls home. Whilethat was going on, I was talking to my mom because the recipe I picked said tomix it with an electric mixer on low for 30 seconds and high for 3minutes. The problem with that is thatour electric mixer stopped working. I’mpretty sure the motor was burnt up. Sohow long do I mix it with my hand to replace an electric mixer? For those of you that know my mom, the factthat I’m calling her is a bit funny. Sheisn’t a chef or a baker. She followedin Grandma Ann’s footsteps instead of Mamaw’s. The kitchen is not her strong suit.
Anyway, we decided that I would just have to mix it until itlooked right. Drew got home and Istarted to bake. Mixing the ingredients,sifting the flour, and even the hand mixing wasn’t impossible. The hard part was buttering and flouring thepans. I’m just not very good atthat. My mom is AWESOME, but she was 5states away. I got it done, got it inthe pan, and in the oven. After baking,then came the cooling. That was the nextchallenge. I had to get it out of thepan AND onto a makeshift cooling rack. Do I use foil or not because this isn’t really a cooling rack? I got it out without breaking them and putthem on foil. After a few minutes I tookthe foil off and some of the cake came with it. Crap! Not too much and I wasicing it, so no biggie. Of course theone layer that is totally lopsided is a problem. It’s the presentation that throws me off. The baked good tastes good, but doesn’talways look good. Once again this was abig deal, so I have to fix it.
Before I could dothat, I had to make the icing. Melt thechocolate, mix the other ingredients minus the milk. It isn’t looking right. There is no way a tiny bit of milk could fixthis mess. I’ll try it anyway. And the milk worked MAGIC! It was icing! I cut off a little of the lopsided layer. Put the two together into a relatively levelthing that appears to look like a cake. I iced the cake and it looked good. My iced cakes never look good, but praise God this icing and this cakeworked well. The icing sat up a littlemore than I wanted, but it worked well when I covered it up with foil. The icing didn’t stick to the foil. It wasn’t perfect, but it was better than Iexpected. So I genuinely hope and praythat cake brought a small relief to the family that lost their loved one.