The Importance Of The Personal Cake
from Pancake Cake Part 2
Baking is an inherently generous activity. Unless you are planning on eating an entire cake yourself, in which case you are my hero. Most baking is meant for sharing. Cookies, brownies, and other hand-sized treats make it easy to share with a smile because you have your own stash at home. However, it is really easy to tell when someone has taken a slice of cake before the main event. And as much as I love feeding people, I have a hard time keeping a happy expression on my face while watching all my hard work disappear, with the knowledge that I will not be able to eat my fucking cake for breakfast the next day because some assholes didn’t leave me any leftovers.
I have a lot of feelings about cake.
But all this resentment and internal conflict (if they don’t eat it all, does that mean it sucks? if they do eat it all, will I ever forgive them?) can be completely avoided by baking an extra layer and making your own Personal Cake. Cut the layer in half or in thirds, squeeze on the filling, and stack the layers up. Pour your glaze/frosting on top. There! Personal Cake! (Extra bonus: courteous bakers can now can taste-test before serving to their guests.)
Baking Is Supposed To Be Fun
When I describe my baking to other people, most of them say, “I could never do that.” Bullshit. None of this is particularly difficult. I can figure it out. They can do it. They don’t want to.
They don’t have to want to.
None of this is an obligation.
I don’t know why you bake, or why you read this blog, but I’m telling you right now: you do not owe anyone fancy baked goods. You just don’t. (Unless they pay you a fair and equitable wage and offer comprehensive health insurance.) Never, ever, ever make a cake so fussy that it stops being fun. Don’t ever feel obligated to turn a hobby or a favor or a gift into an ordeal because you feel like you ought to work harder. Does baking challenge you? Does it soothe you? Do you feel better while you’re baking than before you started?
Good. That is enough. If you want to go further, you can—but no force in the universe other than your own genuine desire should push you into a project that makes you feel overwhelmed instead of fulfilled. Especially not a sense that you aren’t good enough. The cake that you enjoy making is the best fucking cake in the world. Making a fancy cake won’t make you more worthy. You don’t need to be more worthy. You are enough.
For me, the fussiness is the point. I adore all those steps. I love to tinker. Creating something new is the whole point for me. (Other than yelling on the Internet. I really like yelling on the Internet.) So I’m going to keep playing with this recipe, because that is what I want to do. This brings me joy. I hope that reading about it brings you joy. Read and create in ways that feel right. You deserve that freedom, and you sure as hell deserve that happiness.