Sunday, February 27, 2011

It's the little things that matter...the giving cake!

This cake came about as a surprise to even me! I was sitting in our local bistro being served by a most wonderful young woman. My Husband was out of the country for the moment, and I was so lonely and sad! I had someone watching Skye three times a week so I could catch a break and have tea by myself and read, rewind. This is one such occasion. This gal, my server, always made me smile as I had tea each week, making the time I had to spend apart from my Husband that much more bearable and a little less lonely. Suddenly, I felt the Lord's whisper upon my heart, that I should do something random for this young girl using my cakery skills, whom by her service to me was providing me with so much more than merely tea, but hope...and kindness. I felt like I was supposed to ask her when her birthday was, that I would find out it was soon, and tell her I would make her a cake and deliver it, as a gift. I knew she lives here in Abu Dhabi, away from her home country and family, by herself much like I, and probably didn't have any family to celebrate with. In fact, she and I, I later learned, arrived here at the same time. Hesitatingly, I questioned God. "Really? Seriously? You want me to do what? I'll look like a fool, and those cakes take so much time to make and stress me out!" but He insisted, and promised me I the cake I made her would be a joy to make. He promised I wouldn't be too stressed to make the cake, and so with an obedient heart I approached her and asked her when her birthday was. Inside I was thinking I was nuts.

What happened next surprised me, and confirmed I wasn't nuts. She looked shocked, and said it was merely in a few days. I had the perfect amount of time to make her a cake right away! So, I showed her pictures of my cakes on my phone, and told her I wanted to make her one as a gift, no charge, no strings attached. She was shocked, again, but managed to give in to my insisting it wasn't a burden on me! I didn't tell her why I had asked, living in the Middle East, one can get into a bunch of trouble for talking to anyone about religion or God, sadly enough. Maybe she will someday read this and find out why she received that gift, that I am not so great but God is, but until then my lips are sealed. I have a toddler to care for here, I can't do that from an Arabic prison! Moving on...

The day arrived quickly, and just as promised, the cake was a joy to make. I just allowed my fingers to create whatever they wanted, and I ended up with this...

It is the first time I attempted a homemade buttercream finish instead of fondant, and while I still prefer the velvety impossibly smooth finish of fondant, this wasn't bad at all for a first attempt! I filled it with my homemade european milk chocolate ganache and made one of Rose Levy Beranbaum's recipes called Buttermilk Country Cake for the torte, which was thinly stacked for a total of four layers. The layers were also sprinkled with a fragrant simple syrup. It was so fun! The rose is fondant as are the leaves, made my hand of course and painted with edible pearl powders and painted with food coloring and a paint brush. The pearls are also my fondant, rolled into little balls and then rolled in pearl colored edible food powder. It was simple and elegant, slightly under stated so as to not overwhelm her, and of course, fun. It also just happened to be her favorite color.

This cake was so much fun, and a great lesson in learning to truly listen to the Lord's whispers and trust Him. I am so glad I did. Take care everyone, see you next time!