Last week I was asked to make a cake for a neighbor. No big deal, you ask? The answer is it turned out to be a very big deal for me. You see, I haven’t done any baking like that for a lot of years. I can hear you wondering why. Well, I’ll tell you why.
My husband has Type II Diabetes, which he controls quite easily with diet and a small amount of Glucophage. I don’t eat sweets either because of other health issues, so neither of us needs the temptation of having sweet things in the house.
I had almost forgotten my commitment and when I remembered I was at home without transportation, without a cake mix in the house, without powdered sugar for frosting, and furthermore I couldn’t find the recipe my Mother-in-law had given me years ago for a quick, easy and moist chocolate cake. First thing I did was call my daughter to confirm the recipe from my memory. Check.
Luckily I found that I had all the ingredients and I easily whomped up the cake and put it in the oven to bake. Next problem to deal with was the frosting. In looking for the cake recipe, I had discovered a frosting recipe that I had in my book which my Mother-in-law had also shared with me many years ago. I had never used the recipe, but I had the ingredients for it: 1 cup white sugar, ½ cup brown sugar, a cube plus two Tbsp of real butter, and ¼ cup milk. I had no choice, so I placed all the ingredients into my pan, brought it to a full boil and boiled it for a minute per the instructions. Next it said to beat the mixture until it thickened, so I did. It took about seven minutes and it thickened right up just like it should. I was feeling pretty good about how it was turning out. But…my celebrating was a little premature.
Just as I finished the frosting, the cake came out of the oven and it looked beautiful. Oh, I chortled to myself, things are going so well. I decided to let the cake cool for a while before I attempted frosting it. Sounds reasonable, right? Wrong!
After just a very short time I came back to find that the frosting was more on the solid side than just thickened. Since the cake was still warm, I thought I would just push ahead and I put three blobs of frosting on my beautiful cake and attempted to spread it. I quickly could see that it would destroy the cake to proceed with that effort. So I lifted two of the blobs off, along with a fair amount of crumbs from the cake.
I was in trouble, but there was nothing for me to do but keep pressing forward. I gingerly smoothed the first small blob as best as I could do it without ripping up the cake. I then proceeded to roll out small amounts of the frosting into thin layers and began placing them on the cake like some jigsaw puzzle. It was looking pretty bad because I could not control the shape of each rolled section. I looked at the clock and realized that I had one hour to be finished with this project—I couldn’t just start all over again. I said a fervent prayer for help and continued on. I rolled and placed those rolled-out pieces on my cake until it was all covered.
It didn’t look very good even when all the disjointed “pieces” were in place, for it resembled something like a road map. Now if this had been for the family, I could have gotten away with the looks of it. But this was not for the family and so more had to be done. I pondered for a moment then the thought came to me to heat a large stainless steel serving spoon on the top burner of the stove. I moved the hot spoon over small sections of the frosted cake, which helped to weld the jigsaw pieces of frosting together—this took four or five times of heating and smoothing. It helped a whole lot toward having a more cohesive look, but I wasn’t totally satisfied.
I remembered that I had some chocolate chips in the freezer and so I placed those little hummers here and there on the cake at the most strategic spots until it looked like it was supposed to be that way. It was acceptable to me, and I was so grateful for an answered prayer. I had been in a very bad spot and I had been delivered out of it.
I wanted so badly to taste the frosting to make sure it was good, but I have an allergy to cane sugar and I knew it was everywhere present in this creation. However, my neighbor told me later that it was good. She said that the frosting tasted like the old-fashioned homemade candy we used to make called Penuche.
It was a matter of honoring the recipient of the cake—I wanted it to be my best. It mattered only to me in the whole scheme of things, yet the Lord heard and answered my prayer. It confirmed to me that the Lord watches over us and blesses us individually according to our faith. A miracle is a miracle and I knew this was a small, but important miracle for me. I’m grateful that the tender mercies of the Lord are real.