One particular Sunday, my boys decided that an angel food cake would be nice. It would be fluffy and sweet, iced to perfection with dark chocolate dribbles cascading down the sides. They cajoled my elderly mother into helping them find the recipes and lay out all of the ingredients. Once she got into the swing of things she was cracking open eggs and separating the whites. White clouds grew in the bowl and soon the batter was slipped into the oven and began rising to the occasion.
Now in order for an angel food cake to remain really tall and fluffy it must be cooled upside down. Many years ago, my mother had a special stand on which to put the cake. However, through the years that was lost so we improvised and balanced the cake on the edges of tall glasses. The cake would come out of the oven and everyone would be ready with a glass to prop underneath, careful not to pierce the top of the cake.
The cake came out of the oven and we were armed with the glasses as my mother proceeded to flip the cake over. Caleb, my youngest son, held his glass solemnly, making sure the edge was just right. Joshua, the oldest, studied his glass for a moment then shrugged his shoulders and shoved in his glass. Caleb looked over at him and started to protest about its placement when Joshua scowled at him and said, “Caleb, I DO know what I’m doing. I AM sixteen years old!”
Oh dear, the same old teenage argument. What else was new?
With the cake propped up, my mother, now weary, went upstairs for a rest. Later, when the cake was cooled, the boys decided that they would ice it themselves as a surprise. I sat in the living room listening to their banter. I heard cupboards banging and refrigerator doors slamming. I heard bowls clanking and spoons tinkling. Soon the mixer was roaring away. Mixing done, they giggled in excitement and then suddenly it was very, very quiet. I heard Caleb whisper, “Oh NO, Joshua. There’s a big hole in there. I TOLD you that the glass was in the wrong place!” I heard a choke in his voice. I started to go out and see what the commotion was about but then sat back down. Better to let them sort it out themselves.
Still dead quiet in the kitchen except for renewed clanking and scraping and the beating mixer again.
Finally, almost an hour later my two disheveled boys trotted into the living room. Caleb had powdered sugar on his nose. Joshua had chocolate on his new shirt.
“Well, guys,” I said. “How’s the cake looking?”
“Well we filled up the hole,” piped in Caleb. “With LOTS of frosting!”
I walked in the kitchen and looked at the drooping cake. It sagged to one side with icing and chocolate now settling at the bottom of the serving plate. Behind it sat the cooling glasses. One glass held the remains of a tube of cake that had come out when the boys had lifted off the cake. The cake was solidly stuck in the glass.
Innocently I asked, “So what’s that part of the cake in the glass?”
Joshua gave me a chagrined look and said, “Well, I guess I didn’t really know how to prop up the cake. I put the glass right in the cake rather than on the side.”
“Well at least there will be extra icing!” chattered Caleb.
I could contain myself no longer and burst into laugher. It was contagious and soon we were literally slumped down on the floor in hysterics. What fun to have with the kids!
My mother came down stairs during all the hoopla and assessed the damage. Then she too began to laugh. The cake turned out to be delicious when served and sent us on a sugar high for the rest of the afternoon. True to nature, Caleb turned adversity into triumph and had extra icing to scoop out and serve with each piece.
There’s a lesson somewhere in that. One we can all learn.
2011-04-12 08:35 编辑：kuaileyingyu