I had a whole proper post planned today, on birth stories, on telling them, or not telling them. This post still wants to be written, but not tonight.
Four years ago tonight I was on my gym ball, in the darkened living room, husband asleep next door, preparing for my baby I knew would be born on his due date after all.
Tonight, I am dancing my other baby to sleep in the darkened dining room, Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris singing Love Hurts quietly on the radio, taking a break from the mess of bowls and cake tins in the kitchen.
I’m not sure what possessed me to choose this particular cake for Kaya’s birthday cake. He requested chocolate and strawberry. I wanted to use this book (my birthday present), which has a Chocolate and Raspberry Opera Cake in it. I only ever baked one cake from it (from a recipe labelled easy and kid friendly).
Oh, I should have stayed with easy and kid friendly. This cake is serious stuff. Why didn’t I realised that when the list of ingredients, albeit basic, spanned the whole two pages of instructions?
We started early, got everything out, separated the eggs.
“What now?” Kaya asks. “Mix it up.” I say. – “But our mixer is broken.”
Yes. That. I forgot.
If we had a decent whisk and there wasn’t quite so much mixing to do, I might have attempted it by hand. But not today.
Out we go, bundled up, walking into town. The hardware shop has one hand mixer. It is the Daihatsu of mixers, that turns out to smell of overheating as soon as you get to the faster speeds. (Nothing against Daihatsus, it’s just the most rickety car I could think of. My Mama used to drive one.)
Ten hours later, I have made several sponge cake layers, a chocolate ganache, a strawberry and blueberry syrup, a french buttercream. I learned several things.
1. Don’t try to bake a really sophisticated cake with a toddler and baby as helpers.
2. Don’t let the syrup boil on its own while you quickly go change a nappy.
4. Spreading slippery filling on slippery syrup is impossible to do as neatly as it looks in the book.
5. In a bag with frozen strawberries and blueberries, you will find them in a ratio of 1:10. I hope the little guy who asked for strawberry and chocolate won’t notice.
5. Having a kitchen dusted in icing sugar sounds a lot more romantic as it actually is.
So now, there is only a glaze of golden syrup and chocolate to make still. The birthday ring is set up, the present need wrapping. I finished a new hat for the little guy yesterday already, so no last-minute-late-night-knitting for a change!
The baby needed to be danced to sleep at the right time. A little break from the baking frenzy was just what I needed. Remembering this night four years ago, and feeling so very grateful for the little boy sleeping upstairs, his last few minutes being three. And this littlest boy who pulled me away from stickiness and washing up for a bit of loving.
Remembering what it’s all about.
Thank you for sharing this little break with me. I shall go back to the kitchen, melt and mix and rinse and wash, all in preparation for my big boy’s special day tomorrow.
See you soon!