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Cake pan and mix.
Cake pan and mix.
Lisa Graff

Lisa Graff

Can you bake a cake, sweetheart?


This morning I created a disaster in the kitchen. Perhaps you’ve had your own experience? I volunteered to bake a cake for a my friend Laurie’s birthday party which is two hours away now.

The easiest cake to bake is an angel food one. You buy a Duncan Hines box mix, add water, beat one minute and pour it into an angel food pan. And this pan, sweetheart, was the downfall. Literally. As soon as I poured the batter into the pan, it seeped out over the counter, dripped down the sides of the cabinets, and oozed it’s way to the floor.

I didn’t panic. I thought why not use a different pan? The box featured glorious cupcakes! With my rubber spatula, I slid the batter back into the bowl and ladled it into the muffin pan. To hold the remainder of the batter, why not try the new spring form pan my mother in law gifted me Christmas, 1993?

Now for those of you unfamiliar with angel food cakes, the recipes says to hang the pan upside down on a heat-proof glass bottle until completely cool, about 1 and a half hours. Then you loosen the edges with a flat knife and remove the cake.

I tried to remove one half baked and pathetic cupcake. I flipped the muffin pan over onto some wax paper, grabbed the car keys and headed to the restaurant Station on Kings. If you haven’t been there, just imagine Charley and the Chocolate factory, only instead of chocolate, its every sinful cake, tart or cookie ever created and you can’t buy just one of anything!

There is no way, I can serve this cake to anyone but Hitler. I can stick a birthday candle into any one of the decadent desserts and keep my pride intact. “Oh, sorry everyone. I didn’t have time to bake this morning because I had a column due.” Polite nods all around.

“But I knew you all liked Station on Kings as much as I do. And now you can choose which ever one you like. Perhaps we can cut them in half or thirds?” Wide eyes examine their first choice.

Alas today marks another birthday. Martin Larrett, the husband of my old friend, Shelagh whom I met in college. She was an exchange student from the UK and wound up on the second floor of Frost Hall at Frostburg State College down the hall from me. She was panicked because she had brought no sheets for her bed, and I came to her rescue.

After she returned home, we figured out a way to rig the payphone, so that with one thin dime, I could phone her every evening. Thus began a life long friendship cemented with my first intercontinental trip to London in 2003. Our husbands hoisted a pint and loved each other too!

I will phone her now and tell her all about the cake to try to make her laugh because Martin passed away in March of cancer. Today she has bought a new flat closer to her grandchildren and is trying navigate an ocean of grief I can’t really fathom.

Martin with his dry wit and Yorkshire slang could make me pee in my undies.

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