Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday Dinner: The Art of Baking a Cake

This weekend my brother's family is brining dessert. My sister-in-law sent me a picture of her son, Ethan helping make the cake last night. That grin on his face reminded me of my own first cake baking experience.

On Christmas morning I rushed down the steps, pushing my smaller siblings out of the way. Mama was always saying one day they would be bigger than me, but on that day they weren't. Santa thought it funny to put my presents at the back of the tree so as I plowed through baby dolls, trucks, cars, and balls - there is was - just what I asked for - my very own Easy Bake Oven.

I had to wait until the next day to finally use it. Going to Grandmother's and then Grandma's took most of the day and when we finally got home that night, Mama said it was too late.

The next morning I read all the directions - it is just something I do and did even back then. It seemed simple and it wasn't long until I was mixing and placing my first little cake through the oven door to be baked by a light bulb. It only came with a few cake mixes so it didn't take long to go through them.

Instead of spending money buying more little packages, Mama taught me to bake a real cake. We read the directions. We preheated the oven. Greased and floured the pans. Added eggs, water, and cooking oil to the mix and then I got to use the electric mixer. All of the ingredients whirled together until the contents were smooth. Mama guided me through each step letting me do everything. Once the cake cooled, she showed me how to frost it making delightful little swirls with the knife.

Years later when I had grown up and had my own family, Mama also taught my daughter how to make a cake. Amanda spent quite a bit of time with Mama and me. By the time she was ten, she could cook just about anything. During the summer when my kids were home while I worked, Amanda would make fried chicken and mashed potatoes - for one - she didn't make enough to share with her brother. I can only imagine what went on while I was at work. Of course when I was a kid, there were four of us. It was best Mama never found out what happened while she was at work.

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