I know, it sounds funny, but after weeks of worry about my Mom's breast cancer, worrying about caring for her and not being here for the kiddies and Mr. Darcy, and realizing that at least for now the crisis is past, having a simple disappointment - one that is not life altering is, in a way, a nice relief.
Even more so because the disappointment in the big scheme of things in this life is very minor. It's about a cake. Now first let me point out that when it comes to deserts, I'm not really a cake kind of gal. I do love me some birthday cake but that's usually a once a year kind of hankering. But this cake (at least in my mind's eye) is different.
December issue of Southern Living - front cover. A beautiful chocolate cake with white icing and candied oranges and cranberries on top.
I read the recipe. Chocolate cake with a little coffee and vanilla in it. Between the 2 layers is a chocolate orange ganache. The white icing? Vanilla Orange. Okay, so my mouth was watering from the first moment I read the recipe. And I'm not even a chocolate cake sort of gal.
Ever since, my little brain has been hatching the plan to bake this cake for Christmas Dinner's desert. Even though in our house the really big eating day is Christmas Eve with our Polish Wigilia meal - traditional Polish Christmas food, yum. Really my most food driven and tradition day - my favorite day of the entire year. But this year, there was going to be this cake.
Not only would I have my herring, mushroom soup, fish, kapusta, pierogie and green beans done right, but I would have this Chocolate Orange Cake on Christmas Day. The piece de resistance!
But I've been gone. The recipe said it would take over 6 hours to complete. I figured out how I could do it in stages. Candied oranges tonight, Ganache tommorrow, cake itself Wednesday, icing it Thursday evening. It could work.
As I was putting the shopping list together, I re-read the actual steps of the recipe. Four little words ruined it all... "heavy-duty electric stand mixer." While I have been covetous of the electric stand mixer (preferably by Kitchen Aid in Apple Green or Orange), I have never been willing to part with the money that it takes to purchase said item. We were young enough when we got married that such domestic things as baking had not entered into my mental sphere, so it wasn't on the registry nor did I use any wedding gift money for such a thing.
But I still had hope. I did not own a heavy-duty electric stand mixer, but the bakery up the road did and they made cakes to order. Sure it wouldn't be 100% the same, but I bet they could do it. Until I remembered that they had a sign up the other day saying orders for Christmas Cakes had to be in by December 20th. Or was it today? Was it the 21st? I called. It was the 20th and they had so many cakes they couldn't squeeze in another one. I understand that deadlines are deadlines (you know it came from where they'd draw a line in the sand and if you crossed the line they shot you dead).
There will be no Christmas cake. Instead I will dejectedly make pecan butter balls (some people call them Little Mexican Wedding Cakes) in their stead. No one will know the difference really. There may be some sugar cookies left over from Santa too. But no cake.
And yet it's nice to be disappointed over the cake. Sure, I'd rather have had the cake. But at the same time, if I had to exchange a lovely cake for those great test results my Mom had after her mastectomy, I'd never ever do it. Besides, now I have an extra 6 hours on my hands - well, minus how ever long it takes me to make the replacement cookies. But I can make those with the girls, and the cake wouldn't have worked well with little people.
Perhaps some year I will have a lovely Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer in either Apple Green or Orange and that year, I will make my cake. Until then it will be my little dream...