There are times when cake, to me, is just an outlet. There may be a picture in my head that needs to be brought to life. There may also be some healing that I need to do and art is a known therapy. This cake was pure therapy. It began with a painting in a local Thai restaurant which I found very beautiful. I took several photos and began to stew and simmer this idea in my head. No idea where I wanted to go with it or what it would end up being but it sat in my mind like a shadow and there were other shadows there as well. In my family there has been a lot of loss. Relationships that never were what I wished they would be. Family that I loved dearly but who seemed haunted and plagued by fear, anger, resentment. They didn’t seem to ever truly shake it. They battled between their love of God and desire to do his will and old bitter habits which, like beasts or demons, chained them down and trapped them in a never ending spiral that just couldn’t quite reach to God’s loving kindness or let them forgive themselves. My father is gone, my grandfather passed over 20 years ago, my grandmother passed 3 years ago and my mother passed 3 years ago. When I made this cake and went through this process less than a year ago my uncle, who was the last living relative that I had grown up with, lay dying and refusing to give up the demons which devoured his heart and led to habits which ultimately killed his body. I was angry, sad, lost, empty, furious. I have watched and loved these people who helped raise me one by one leave this earth. Watched them be unable to let go of all the negative which destroyed everything that our family could and should have been. Despite this they wanted so badly to love God and reach Him. In my mind I see them with arms outstretched, faces lifted, seeing the light of the spirit but unable to escape. Being caught in a spiral, ravaged by a beast. All within their own minds. As my uncle grew closer to death I went to a dark place inside myself and raged at the unfairness and helplessness- I cried and I tossed and turned at night. Then I vowed to never ever ever let myself forget hope, joy, beauty, the perfection of the simple moment that resonates through my heart when God whispers to me in the smile of my child, or in the scent of the earth in the evening after a rain in the moonlight with a soft Florida breeze blowing against my face. or the feeling I get when I give someone a cake and their eyes light up like a little child on Christmas morning. I vowed to never ever give up, never give in, never be chained by despair. Then I made this cake- just for myself- and much of that pain was gone.