Friday, 24 August 2012
A wedding cake in four movements (true story)
When I married my ex-husband, we opted for a very informal, non-religious, absolutely intimate Dutch wedding. We were short of money, so we decided to prepare all the finger food ourselves. After all, we only had 10 guests.
It was the night before the ceremony, when we were avidly preparing our wedding version of our improvised movie-night tapas, that I realised that we didn't have a wedding cake! It was nearly 10pm, and the supermarket was about to close.
Before rushing to the supermarket, I decided to make a quick call to my mum in the Dominican Republic so that she could take me through the ingredients of the recipe. She used to bake wedding cakes for a living when I was a child, and I used to feel thrilled to be allowed to help her.
(But honestly, in a case like this, who would you call if not mum?)
But mum was not home and I had to be quick, otherwise I was doomed to have a 'cakeless' wedding. So I ran to the supermarket and I got all the ingredients that came to my mind as I recalled the many times mum and I baked together.
I intuitively mixed the eggs, the flour, the butter, the sugar, the cocoa... and by midnight I had a perfectly shaped and neatly scooped steamy marble cake. In the same memory flow as in the supermarket, I also managed to prepare a cream with rum. I let the cake cool before I poured a generous amount of 'crema borracha' over it. It was winter and the cool drafts of the night crawling into the kitchen would keep it fresh until the next day, so I left it outside.
Back in the house after the ceremony: that unmissable moment where the bride and the groom cut the cake and they bite that first little piece of married sweetness they carefully put in each others' mouth.
I don't remember if we kissed, but the cake tasted heavenly.
In all the times my mum supervised my baking (a habit that stayed on until my teens, long after she had stopped baking for a living), I never managed to bake a cake as soft in texture and balanced in sweetness as this one.
Traveling was expensive, so my mum and my family could not attend my wedding. But that cake, THAT cake! had MUM written in every sliced served.
It simply melted slowly, like a tender kiss.