It’s 2:30 in the afternoon. A week of waiting on the gas company to turn on my stove inspired contemplation and fantasizing about the first creation this kitchen should behold.
Waiting is hard. It’s the hardest thing ever because it’s not something that we do, it’s something we get through. I like action, I like having a goal to work on even if it is short lived and the end result fades away. But not being able to DO something, a place where I am now, is frustrating. And when times are frustrating a good thing to do is bake.
Christina had left a welcoming gift on my front stoop on her way to work. A book and handwritten card with instructions to read the last chapter first, as it’s the best, and contains the recipe of “the chocolate cake she makes.” The chocolate cake she made for my birthday just shy of a month ago.
The cake is called The Winning Hearts and Minds Cake. It’s like a molten lava cake but better, and Molly Wizenberg says it is sure to win over hearts and minds. She made it for her now husband on countless dates during their courtship. Many of her friends have done the same. This cake has been made for friends to make them smile, for family holiday get-togethers, and probably for a few baby’s first birthdays.
At this very moment, the cake batter sits in a glass Pyrex bowl. In the days leading up to this moment I decided that this was the last straw. I would make this cake with everything I had, which is a lot, but maybe not the right thing. The person the cake is for doesn’t like sweets that much. He doesn’t like chocolate really, preferring plain old vanilla. But he appreciates quality and thoughtfulness.
Sixty percent Ghirardelli chocolate and the most amazing organic pasture butter I’ve ever tasted from a store melted into a cocoa madness as I soberly stirred. This is the heartbreak cake. If I hand it over with a Dear John letter, I won’t make a second, third and fourth like Molly Wizenberg. I’ll probably vow to never make it again.
The batter is still sitting in the mixing bowl, because when I turned to check the oven before pouring it in the baking pan it was stone cold. My oven isn’t working. I’m stuck. In limbo again. Not sure what to do next.
This is the second heartbreak cake I’ve made today. After a girls night at my friends’ new home, I made us three french omelettes with leftover green chili queso and peppers from my cousin’s community garden. Brittany and I then made the chocolate cake, the first thing she has baked in their first house. The Winning Hearts and Minds heartbreak cake is a good welcome cake too, especially with hand-whipped cream.
By now a couple of phone calls with Christina resulted in a plan to bake it at her place. Colored with many girl talks and a handful of tears, her house feels more like home than my previous apartment. The kitchen table’s familiar jars, Chemex, and the nook-shelf with books like Molly Wizenberg’s waiting for the curious to peruse.
Back in the kitchen, I fill the cake pan with the yumminess, toss the chocolate covered whisk and spatula in the empty bowl and fill it with soapy water to soak. The book, in the shelf above the counter, recipe side down, with a dried Thai red pepper from my friend Tina’s mom’s garden, holding my place.
Carrying Christina’s green plate with a bird on it and my batter filled pans, I’m ready to walk the two blocks to her house to finish this cake. As I refill Fernando and Petunia’s water bowl before I leave, the soaking dishes catch my eye, and somehow the film and residual chocolate summon the warm feeling of familiarity and home. I might not have made the whole cake in my new house, but starting it here certainly counts.
*This entry was written and then later uploaded, resulting in the time discrepancy.*