This week’s excitement was me baking a birthday cake for my daughter’s one friend. This whole process reminded me that, if you don’t train/practice you do eventually lose the skills/fitness of that which you once could do in your sleep.
I was surprised how nervous I was about this cake. I had done the planning and idea sourcing weeks ago, I had even done some of the big decorative details that needed setting, a week before, but the implementation was what I was fearing. I had not baked and decorated a proper cake in over a year. Suddenly I was staring at my equipment and though they looked familiar and homely, it also made me feel nervous and unsure.
I found myself in a tiny panic when I couldn’t find my trusted cake recipe either. I was frantically searching everywhere and in the end I found it on my laptop. I am, however, still puzzled as to where my laminated printed recipe disappeared too.
So, with all the pieces available, my checklist and work plan ready, I set off baking the cake. It did not take long before I started to feeling that familiarity of baking a fun and interesting cake. My brain and imagination working overtime and running over all the decorative details to be built, while I was busy combining the ingredients to make the basis of this edible fun statue.
I was over the moon when the cake came out just as I remembered, trusted recipes are the best. They are like good friends, best friends, actually. Though you might not use them often, when you do, they never disappoint, even when you have doubts, they will always pull through for you.
With cake done, I started blending the colours, this too was a bit of a worrisome ordeal, but as I worked on, using all the pieces that make up the various components of the cake, it all came back to me, and I found myself working automatically, blending colours and fondant/gum paste. I do not even remember transitioning from prepping to doing the sculpting of the piece, and by the time I blinked I had completed the majority of the cake. I had been so focused and in the zone while working, that standing staring at the cake I realised I had not even taken any photographs along the way.
Needless to say, I had finished the cake soon after, and as always, I was not entirely happy with the end product. That is something I find happens often though, especially with the cake decorating. To me it is never right, what I had in my head does not necessarily reflect what I had built, a big part of being a perfectionist, but I have learned over time that when you feel like adding a little bit here and there, or change here and there, don’t! Just step away from the cake, wrap it and hand it over. Overthinking and over fiddeling only ends in disaster.
I love making the cakes though, I realised that when I was busy making this cake. I miss making the birthday cakes for the orphanage children, but it does take lots of time, something that I do not have a lot of these days. It will also never be able to replace my love of baking biscotti, that is and will always stay my favourite.
The cake has been delivered, and I now wait in anticipation for the response that of the girl when she sees the cake.
All keep well and safe.