A Case for Regular-ol’ Cake


As a general rule, I prefer cakes baked by 70 year old women or, at the very least, baked with their recipes. These girls know what’s good. When given the opportunity to choose a dessert at a pot luck, I always go with the cake on the most out-of-style pan; a casserole dish in Corning Ware’s “Spice of Life” pattern or a Tupperware carrier that has yellowed with time and multiple cycles through the dishwasher.

I, like many a woman my age, am struggling to reconcile real life and Pintrest. I have delusions of being the mom who serves cupcakes that have been baked in designer wrappers, topped with fondant sculptures and adorned with monogrammed toppers. The taste of a cake ends up taking a back seat to the aesthetics when you head into the kitchen in such a mind set, and that would bother me less if I actually achieved the look I desired in the pastries I destroyed my kitchen to create, but of course I never even come close.

My daughter requested cake pops for her class birthday celebration later this week, and I tell you in honesty and a bit of shame that I tried to talk to her out of them. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to run off to Wal-Mart and get her the cupcakes that have been frosted with neon crisco, but cake pops? They just look like an awful lot of trouble. Oh, but they’re really good, she says. Well, guess what else is really good, my almost-ten-year-old darling: regular ol’ cake.

I made the cake pops, of course. They are homely. They ended up costing so much more to make than a plain cake, were even more of a pain than I had imagined, and they aren’t all that good – drier for the increased surface area. My attempt at decorating them in the school’s colors doesn’t really communicate. (I paid $2.99 each for three cans of colored “sanding sugar,” and it did not dawn on me until I got home that buying “white” sugar was unnecessary.) Oh, and as the birthday girl pointed out, I didn’t make but one flavor. But they are cake pops. Thirty-something years from now I will be old enough to make her something better, some regular ol’ cake, and in thirty-something years, maybe she will have learned to appreciate it.

9 Comments on “A Case for Regular-ol’ Cake”

  1. Damn those cake pops winning! I hate when crap is even more complicated than originally intended. I also hate when I’m craving something, so I make it, and it doesn’t show up right no matter how many times I did it! Ugh. I feel your stress!

  2. Many fine cooks are much younger than 70, bake original recipes, and knock the socks off with a great cake. Cake pops can be made without being dry…perhaps who the cook is matters most there.

  3. Sorry to hear about your sugar incident things like that happen me all the time so I sympathise! Don’t give up on the pops the more homemade the better… Bee

  4. You know I’m all about the made from scratch cakes and cupcakes! I’ve even tried my hand at cake pops…I’m impressed at your attempt, they are tedious!! Flavor always trumps decorate/design in my book!

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