Tuesday, July 5, 2011


One of my dearest and nearest blogger friends ordered a wedding cake as a present for a friend of hers who was getting married at 10:00 AM on Independence Day (that was yesterday). I was thrilled and honored to make one, and we decided that a vanilla cake with strawberry cream cheese filling and frosting would be perfect. We also decided that the cake would be picked up late on Saturday night, after my blogger friend/client had finished an insanely busy day.

And that's what happened. I worked all day on the cake, happily, as the kids ran in and out of the house. I was immersed in it, the baking the stacking, the frosting and filling and cutting and careful planting of tiny yellow fondant flowers and daisies. I had extra batter and frosting and made a tiny cake for us. It came out just right, I thought. Not bad for the old girl.

My friend arrived at nearly 11:00 that night, and I had the pleasure of meeting not just her very handsome husband but her adorable daughter. My sons were enchanted by this little girl, despite the hour, and our two families just enjoyed each other's company for a few minutes before the cake was carefully handed to the husband who then placed it in the back of the minivan for their fairly long trip back home. My friend exclaimed that she wanted to hold the box in her lap but I told her no, it'll be fine in the back; it's too heavy to hold all that way! We hugged good-bye and I turned around and went back inside, happy that I was able to do this, grateful for the order, the money, the support.

Well, you know what's coming.

Look again:

Cake wreck.

I received a very agitated email later that night from my friend, and I just about died. I, in fact, cried a little. We still don't know what happened. The cake literally slid apart. Was it bumped in the car? Should I have stabilized it better in the box? Should my friend have held it? Should I have filled it with something other than strawberry cream cheese? Should I kill myself?

From a professional standpoint, this is a freaking nightmare, and despite my generous friend's admonitions not to worry, that she'd think of something to do before the next morning's wedding and my own protestations that I'd get in the car in the morning and attempt to patch the cake before the wedding and her protests that no, that would be silly and it's not repairable anyway and my rising feelings of panic and feeling terrible for her and her assuring me that it was the story of her life and then finally we both went to bed.

I tossed and turned all night. I felt sick in the morning. I lost perspective and even my sense of humor which is generally dogged, to say the least.

Perspective. Yes, this post was supposed to be about perspective -- and my blogger friend pulled her perspective, seemingly out of a hat, and showed me, again, what it means. My blogger friend has a child with Down Syndrome. This child was also born with cancer, had infantile spasms and a stroke. She is now that enchanting four year old that my children and I fell in love with the night they came to pick up the cake.

I'm still struggling with the wrecked cake and my friend's generosity. Yes, it's a story that she'll tell over and over, I'm sure, and I'll show these photos and feel a cringe, a sense memory.  And I'll try to have some perspective or remember perspective, that pinpoint of something walking away, sliding out of view.I just wish that it wasn't a sliding into the side of a box --


  1. Beautiful. Painful. Uplifting.
    Thank you again Elizabeth.
    And I loved the photo of you that you posted.
    And the cake was spectacular.

  2. Oh , Elizabeth.
    Do you ever feel that regardless of how much you make or have a plan,
    there is a much larger story being written .
    Sometimes , it confounds me, slays me, infuriates me,
    but all that's left most days is trust.

    I wish you peace in the trust. As your mantra says... eat the cake and move on.

    love to you.

  3. I have always wondered how do wedding cakes get transported? Do you bring in a van with spotters who tell you as they sit next to it "hey slow down" or "she shifting stop the car!". I just don't know..

    No blame for you...the cake was beautifully prepared and the couple picked it up. You can only do so much...it's too bad they didn't take you up on coming to repair it. I bet you could have.

    Either way a memory was created and you just have to take it that way.

  4. Oh, god, I felt this coming. I admire your composure and sense of humor.

  5. ay Dios mio.

    It was beautiful. Cakes are fleeting things. Their beauty is fleeting. This one fleeted a tad earlier than expected, that's all.

    Ay Dios mio.

  6. You're right, it's not life and death. But it's hopes and dreams...which are part of the package. Of course you're hurt and upset.

    I'm sorry it happened, can feel your hurt even from this distance.

    The only comfort I can think of is this, You did the best you could. There was not one thing that you knew to do you left undone.

    It will never happen again. You know that's true. You'll over-engineer every tiered cake you make for the rest of your life. You'll have backup cake layers in the freezer and an extra day before it's cut.

    And as much as it hurts today, it's not the worst thing that's ever happened, to any of you...

    Hope you & the kids can go to the beach soon for some ocean therapy.

  7. If I was your friend with the wrecked cake, I would have displayed it lovingly, next to a picture of the cake before its hapless slide, and a beautifully calligraphied sign that read: May all your troubles taste as sweet as this one.

  8. Oh.
    I'm just so sorry.
    It was a beautiful cake.

  9. your friend is my friend and how I found your blog.... you are both wonderful people coping beautifully with whatever life hands you.... very inspiring, and maybe that's all that matters.
    P.S. my son saw your cupcakes...was ready to eat them off the computer.... do you ship to Connecticut yet????? If not it may be time to expand the business!!!!

  10. Yes. A cakemaker's nightmare. But really- it wasn't your fault.
    Oh Elizabeth. But yes, it will all end with funny memories.
    Hell's bells.

  11. I think both you and your bloggy friend has enough perspective for the whole LA area, what you guys need is a break from all the madness. I'm really really sorry about the cakepocalypse, it sucks. You can't possibly blame yourself though, it was an accident. Hugs.

  12. That cake is a thing of beauty...and to me, it still is, even after the car trip. It was obviously made with more love, intention, artistry, joy and PRESENCE than most any other food any of us has been blessed to eat.
    I'd be proud to eat it, rather than a perfect-platic-assembly-line cake. But then, I'm not a new bride, so my perspective is different. I can think of some suggestions for the wedding reception, but my first inclination is to post a photo of that cake as it was when it left your loving hands, and then eat it as it is. It's still delicious, and may just be a perfect metaphor for life - and married life.

  13. I know that cake still tasted delicious. I'll bet it was enjoyed regardless. Take a deep breath, dear Elizabeth. Life goes on. Here's the thing. That cake was made with love.

  14. Oh, Elizabeth. I would have still served it because it was made with love and it was probably delicious!
    (((hugs))) to you!

  15. Oh. NO. I sincerely hope that your friend just served it anyway. That's what I'd have done. Just put it out and cut it like you always do at weddings. Wouldn't you just love the pictures?! The couple posing, knife in hand as they cut into a cake that has fallen over? I think it would have been a lovely metaphor that sometimes life slides sideways, no matter how hard we try to keep it upright, but even when it's fallen over, it can still be pretty damned tasty.

  16. Oy!

    (I can attest to worse things going wrong at a wedding though)

    You had love, sorrow and hope ... And all of it wrapped up in the people - not the cake. Beautiful work indeed.

  17. I bet it was still just as delicious - appearances are overrated (correct perspective?)



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