don’t go baking angry
There is no such thing as break-up cake. Because regret does not taste good. Smother it with sugar and cream and it still just tastes like disappointment. Failure causes chocolate to seize. Frustration causes the fat to separate and frosting to break. No good can come of baking angry. Hurt, sad, nostalgic, sure. These feelings stem from love and help rebuild the blows to our ego. My pavlova recipe was born out of self-deprecation. I have pies flavored with belligerent determination. Defeatist caramel is delicious. But break-up cake? Break-up cake just tastes like failure.
Job interviews are not unlike dating – I just want to do a good job, be pretty and have people like me. With no real tangible evidence, I have to work to convince people of the first, my medusa hair usually thwarts the second, but I can manage to delude people into thinking I’m charming for at least an hour. Smile, flirt a little, convince them that life with me is the best version life could offer. I’ll make it sunny, and wonderful and there will be frolicking and chocolate chip cookies. I once did twenty-two interviews in two weeks. It was like speed dating but in really boring clothes. And every time I do it, I think “I really hope this is the one, mostly so I’ll never have to do this again.”
I recently quit a job I hadn’t been at very long – I knew on day one it wasn’t the best fit, but I was determined to hang on, struggle through, make it work. Just like 78% of my relationships. But all of that stubbornness is exhausting – and while me and the job looked great together on paper, we just weren’t meant to be. So when a great opportunity elsewhere offered itself to me, I decided to take it. Catholic guilt, of course, compelled me to spend Sunday making my boss’ favorite: red velvet twinkies – super simple and fairly failsafe. I may have failed at the job but I can’t fail at cake. I’m awesome at cake. I will feed them this cake and like so many ex-boyfriends before them, they will be so sorry it didn’t work out because I am really good at cake.
I broke the cake. My Norpro twinkie pan failed to release despite attempts of greasing and dusting and carefully sliding a knife edge along each fluffy oblong and coaxing it ever so gently into the world. I did everything right, but no, the cake gave me a big, proverbial middle finger and left me with a crumbly, un-photogenic mess. But I can fix this! However, a dramatic flurry of frosting and chocolate later, the cake was still a stunning mess.
The problem wasn’t the recipe. The problem was it wasn’t “I’m sorry” cake. It was break-up cake. The texture was one of failure and failure doesn’t release. Failure sticks to the pan. So before my last day, I’m going to attempt to bake another cake. Not a recipe to appease, or admit defeat, but a cake to say “here’s to a brighter future, for both of us.” A cake that says “hope you find what you’re looking for.” A cake that wishes my ex-job, like so many ex-boyfriends, only the best, only happiness, because if my replacement turns out to be the girl of their dreams, maybe this new relationship I’m entering will be my perfect fit.