Decadence and Delight

Saturday was my friend’s 30th birthday. I wanted to help make it a special day for her so, besides gathering her closest friends for a celebration, I made her a cake. She requested chocolate and I envisioned a masterpiece of confectionery beauty in my mind, tall and elegant and delicious. But, I do not have a lot of experience making layer cakes and I just had a recent fail in a birthday layer cake attempt. A couple of weeks ago, for another friend’s birthday, the beautiful heart-shaped strawberry cake in my mind turned out to be a gooey mess in reality. It might have tasted yummy (though I suspect the cake was rather dry), but it was a visual disaster. So, it was with trepidation that I began to measure and mix together the pile of ingredients on my counter.

I really wanted this cake to be packed full of flavor and love and make my friend feel valued and special. (And maybe I wanted a little redemption from my recent layer cake fail.) I even prayed a blessing over the cake as I stirred and poured it into pans. I’m not sure if I have ever prayed over a cake before, but last Friday afternoon I did.

The two layers of chocolate cake turned out great—rich and moist! The fresh strawberry glaze for the filling was so yummy that I licked the pan! And, the white chocolate buttercream was sweet and rich. (Come to think of it, this is evidence of three miracles since I had never used any of these recipes before!). I even found tiny, greenhouse-grown strawberries for sale on the street by a local farmer. (Another blessing! Perhaps God was answering my prayer.)

The challenge was putting all four components together in a way that I hoped would be beautiful. But if it stayed upright without oozing, I would have been happy.

I cut the cakes into flat discs and spread the strawberry glaze (I learned from the last cake that it had to be cold, straight out of the fridge.) and scattered fresh strawberry slices in the middle. Then, came the icing. That proved to be the tricky part as the white smooth richness was quickly swirled with pink strawberry glaze and dark brown cake crumbs. I remembered reading a review of how much the icing hardened in the fridge and figured that, if I cooled the first coating enough, maybe the top layer would be smooth and white. It worked! (More blessings on this cake!)

The last step was decorating. The tiny, deep red strawberries made this step easy. After placing the strawberries, I sprinkled the top and sides with mini chocolate chips.

Much to my delight, the end result was, in fact, tall and elegant and delicious. I was so happy! (And maybe a little bit proud of my creation). More importantly, my friend loved the cake! It certainly did help her to feel special that day, savoring decadent chocolate and strawberries, surrounded by her friends.

I don’t have any deep insights from this creative experience. I suppose I don’t need to learn anything earth-shattering or feel transformed every time. But, I thoroughly enjoyed the process. It was fun and restful. And, it built my baking confidence and encouraged me to continue this creative journey.

I just realized, reading through the story again, that God did answer my prayer of blessing over that cake in many ways, reminding me that He is present and moving even in the little details of my life. It is always God’s desire to love on His kids, letting them know (whenever they have ears to hear and eyes to see) of their innate worth, unique purpose, treasured life, constant ability to delight to His heart. I think He answered my prayer and guided my hands with each stir and cut and strawberry placement that day to reveal His heart to my friend. Her eyes and ears were open and she did see God’s delight in her as she basked in the good gifts of her friends and her Heavenly Father. What a privilege to be led by the Spirit and be a part of that beautiful revelation!

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