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.
We are not supposed to play favorites with our children. We are supposed to love them equally. And we do. Really. We do. Maybe we let our 5 year old sleep in our bed. (coughs) Every night. That does not mean he is our favorite. Each of our children have amazing qualities that we adore. Yet face it when 2 of 4 are fighting, screaming and throwing things you might be more inclined, at that moment, to gravitate more towards the sweet, calm, quiet one who is happy. And then it changes and some other boys are fighting and a different one is “child of the day”. Oh, wait, we are here to talk about cakes not parenting, right? There can be similarities in fact. We fret over our cakes, baby them, fuss at them, pet them, love them, adore them, and sometimes they give us grey hairs and scare the bejiminy out of us. It’s true! But this cake…. aaahhhh… this. cake. Yes it was a fret and worry fest. Yes I had moments of yelling “Say my NAME!” and moments of almost crying with worry. Which is how I knew this would be my favorite. Ever. Or at least so far. Elizabeth, my beautiful bride, is a martial arts instructor. So is her husband, Martin. (Insert thought of “I so must make these two black belts happy!!” haha!) You would never really guess that her body is a weapon because she is so gentle, soft spoken, mannerly, and her eyes dance with light! I felt so very protective of her (Shh! Don’t tell her!) and she is more than capable of protecting herself I am sure. Yet… she is so sweet and happy! Elizabeth had the most gorgeous pinterest board filled with top of the line luxurious photos that made my heart sing. She wanted an Asian inspired design and she really liked my last dragon cake and she had peacock colored orchids!! She gave me her complete trust from the beginning. Complete design freedom. That is a cake designers dream. Or at least mine. I immediately connected with the images she had collected. Opulent, rich, decadent, exciting and bold. I have been ecstatic over this wedding for months. When it was finally time to make the cake… I started sweating it. Sometimes what is in our heads can be very intimidating. What if our result falls short of what we envision? What if we see magic but we can not make it reality? I shook for a few minutes then told myself “Yeah, so? What IF? What if I totally rock this cake and make the best thing I have ever made and Elizabeth loves it and I love it too?” What if. What if can go either way and you will never know which way it is going to go if you do not just leap. Attack it. Pour yourself in to it. I am never going to be perfect. Never. No matter what or how much I learn and grow. That does not mean that I will ever give up or give in or let fear of failure stop me from trying. Someone commented when I posted this cake to my social media sites that they had always been told that blue and green should never ever go together and that I had proven them wrong. That has been on my mind ever since. Peacocks, the blue summer sky with the deep green trees, a beautiful sparkling blue swimming pool in a green lush yard… of course it goes together. Follow what speaks to you. If you never learn the rules you never have to follow them. Trust your heart. That is what brings two people together to commit their lives to each other. It can make a pretty cool cake, too.