Friday, September 9, 2011

Baking up a blessing

Last week I was asked to join one of the women’s cookinggroups at our church.  Several women aregetting older and no longer able to participate.  Of course, I said yes.  I figured a dish here or there wouldn’t be abig deal.  Tuesday night I was called onto make my first dish.  The group leaderasked me what I wanted to make.  Ofcourse, I said that I prefer to bake.  Whydid I say that?  Who knows!  I just say whatever comes into my head.  So I had desserts.  It didn’t matter what I made.  No big deal right?  Throw a few cookies in the oven and go.  Except….

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.  

7 comments:

  1. eh i honestly dont know what it is life for one of those greiving families because i dont think we have ever had to have one of those "here feel better with our fattening products". but all i know is that my mom is on one of those things and well she always has a hard time on it, i dont think that she puts in as much effort as you do always but i think what you did actually showed a little bit of care and determination in trying to make that family feel like you actually genually cared about how they were doing and in the situation that they were in. next time when it is not a funeral try to buy them a KFC bucket of chicken, that would always lift my spirits up!

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  2. Thanks for the suggestion! On a serious note, thanks for the encouragement.

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  3. I love to bake but ive had something similar to this happen before. I started putting all the ingredients together and realized that i had put to much flour or something in it because i had a blonde moment and thought teaspoon and tablespoon were the same thing.Then after i baked it and took it out the cake was falling apart so it wasnt good.

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  4. Once when I was in youth group, we were having a dessert night or something. So I hurried home after school to bake something before church on a Wed. I tried to bake 2 things, but they both failed and I ended up with several burns on my fingers. In the end, I had to get something from the grocery store. I wasn't happy!

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  5. ah i wish i could bake, even from the boxes, i still manage to always mess something up. The first time i ever attempted to make a cake, i burned it and somehow forgot sugar....? Needless to say, it was not edible. i am getting better though! But i think it was a good choice on your part to make it from scratch, was probably more appreciated by the family then one that doesn't take much effort!

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  6. I think its awesome that you can bake things homemade. I tried that once with a friend and put wayyyy to much water in it and well the cupcakes were kinda disgusting....well I'm sure the family considerred it a blessing to know that someone took the time to bake a cake for them. I'm sure it tasted delicious as well! - jordan

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  7. Once when I was in high school and spending the night with a friend we were going to make brownies or something. However we forgot there were rolls in the oven with plastic on them. Needless to say, plastic rolls aren't that good. We had to throw a bunch of them out!

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