Sometimes a cake is just a cake.
I decided to bake today. I thought the scent of spices, apple and vanilla would warm hearts on a rainy weekend. Spices were ground, flour sifted, eggs beaten. Sugar and butter weighed and mixed. I took my time. Concentrating on the small details. Letting my mind be filled with the task at hand.
Sometimes a cake is a metaphor. All that mixing and measuring. The coming together of separate things to create a whole. The batter tasted sweet, with a promise of what was to come.
I feel a million miles away from people I love this week. Cake doesn’t shorten the distance. But it tastes good. It smells good. I can post pictures of it on instagram and pretend my life is one great big old piece of cake. Easy. Lovely. Sugary. Life as cake.
The thing is, cake doesn’t always turn out the way you hope. Sometimes, even with following the method to a tee it doesn’t do what you want it to.
Sometimes, cake doesn’t come out of the tin. You prise and poke, you tap and shake. But nothing happens.
I foolishly thought if I baked a perfect cake, the day would get better. I foolishly thought if I baked the perfect cake, I wouldn’t think about cancer for a while. Turns out cake doesn’t know my wishes. Turns out cake is, after all, just cake.
In my mind the cake would come out of the perfectly prepared tin in one easy, syrupy upside down tap. In my mind I would be posting another picture perfect cake image on instagram. See? The image would say, today is just one big happy cake filled day.
But cake is just ingredients. It’s just flour and sugar, egg, spice, vanilla, butter and milk. It can’t make distance shrink. It doesn’t remove hurt, or missing, or sadness. It didn’t know I needed a perfect cake.
Turns out even crumbled, falling apart baked goods taste just as good as the ones the keep together. It seems even if the cake doesn’t look the way to should, the tears don’t fall.
Nothing has changed. I’m still sad. I still wish I could place cake in a tin and drive to share it with the people I miss most. But I can’t.
The cake may have crumbled. But turns out I didn’t.
Cake. Stupid, delicious, uncooperative cake. Perhaps it is more than the sum of its parts after all.