Slip slidin’ away…
My friend and co-worker is having a baby soon. We’re all pretty excited about that at da panty sto’ where I work. It’s a great excuse to have a party.
We like excuses to have parties.
So another friend/coworker took on the responsibility for said party and hit me up to make a cake for the baby shower. She would like THE Chocolate Cake with Gravy Icing. The Sparkette recently made one for Valentine’s Day and posted a mouth-watering photo on Facebook, and it was fresh in her mind.
No problem, I said.
I had no idea.
I asked Sparkette to make the layers for me on Saturday night, fully intending to frost them on Sunday, which was the day of the shower. She did this, but I don’t know if there was a flaw in her greasing/flouring technique or if she let them cool in the pan a bit too long. I suspect the latter. But the end result was that the cake layers didn’t want to release from the pan and came out a bit…um…rough. If the cake hadn’t been for an occasion I would have just patched it all together with icing. But it would have been heavy-duty patching, and not a suitable presentation to honor our baby mama friend.
So I got up this morning to bake another set of layers. They came out beautifully.
I made some icing. It turned out beautifully too, and I filled the cake and slathered the outside generously with it, being careful to get a nice smooth surface.
Then I artfully mounded and arranged a pile of fresh raspberries on top and in little random clumps at the base of the cake, and dusted it all with chocolate shavings and curls.
It was lovely. I wish I had taken a photo.
I needed to transport the cake to the shower, so I found a cardboard box. It still had a few of those biodegradable packing peanuts in it from whatever was shipped in to previously. Mr. Sparky suggested leaving them and just nestling the cake plate on top. The sweet man also carried the box to the van for me.
The box didn’t fit where he thought it would and so he picked it up to move it to a better spot.
And then he dropped it. In slo mo.
Funny, I hadn’t quite considered the ground a better spot.
It slid partway off the plate and skidded sideways into the box. The artfully arranged raspberries went flying, and the only ones left were the ones embedded into the icing, which was now smeared on the inside of the box and smushed with packing peanuts stuck to it.
Here’s the instant replay:
I was beyond horrified, but I think he felt even worse. And yet, in that moment I recognized that this would probably be funny later. Like, not in the next fifteen minutes, but probably fairly soon.
This is why there is photographic evidence.
I picked off the packing peanuts. Mr. Sparky carried the cake back into the house, grabbed a spatula, and centered the cake back onto the plate. I was already late, so I grabbed paper towel to wipe off the icing smeared all over the plate edges, and then a table knife to quickly smooth over the very worst of smushed icing.
My masterpiece was a mess. But dang it…I knew it would still taste great, even if it looked like it was iced by drunk monkeys.
We put it back in the box and I tucked my pride away and took the cake anyway. Between what was consumed at the shower and the extra slices my friends and coworkers nabbed to take home, I brought home a clean plate.
You know…if I crop that photo a little more and you don’t know what it looked like before, it really does look ok…