Sunday, February 5, 2012

Taking the Cake

Ten children have necessitated I learn how to plan and organize.  But every once in a while, I'm reminded that this is not my natural state.   It is an adaptive skill I've learned to survive; a nurtured Darwinian response to the level of things that must be attended to in a given day.

This past Friday was the last day of Catholic Schools' Week.  As a parent of currently six kids in Catholic school, I wanted to be supportive.  The sixth grade parents were in charge of a luncheon for the faculty and on Monday of that week, I said I'd bring a dessert.

We even went to the store specifically to purchase the ingredients.  I had in mind a special German Chocolate cake where you put the frosting in the batter.  It's awesome and then I cover the thing with more frosting.  The plan was to make the cake Friday morning while the kiddos were at school and bring it when I did pick up as it was a half day.  

There was one problem.  On Thursday, my daughter had experienced a hard day and in a fit of sympathy, I made pancakes.  I used up all the eggs. I'd forgotten that I was making a cake the next day.  The next day, after I'd packed off the top six for school, I got out the ingredients and the non existence of the eggs loomed.  My youngest son goes to public school for a 2 1/2 hour program.  I had to wait for him to get launched on his bus.  Then I loaded the car with the remaining two kiddos and off to the grocery store we go.  

Anyone who goes to a grocery store with a less than perfectly disciplined mind knows you never get just the things you went shopping for...and thus it was with me.  I'm out with my daughters.  It's fun having my four year old put bananas in the cart.  I think about that evening's dinner of chicken fajitas with black beans and yellow rice and add a pint of guacamole and some chips.  We always need milk and ooh, Diet Coke is on sale!  Yes, I went through the store with the equivalent of a magpie's eye...shiny.....and got to the check out line...I forgot something...what was it......eggs.  Sprinting back with the cart to the first aisle, I grab the eggs.  Now I look at the clock.  It's an hour and a half later.  It's 10:35.  The cake takes 55 minutes to cook.  It takes fifteen minutes to get home and ten to load and unload.  That puts me at 12 with the cake needing to cool for 20 minutes before it can be flipped out of the pan.   It will be very very close. 

Wisking us home, I throw the cake together in 5. Hah!  But you can't rush baking.  So at 12 noon, after I've walked down the hill to get my son from the bus at 11:40 and started loading the car with my purse and diaper bag and shod the kids, I pull the cake from the oven.  Out to the car go the kids.  The cake is a problem.  It's in a bundt pan.  It needs to cool.  I put the pan on a plate.  I take it out to the car.  It will slide if I just put it on the floor of the car. It will slide if it is put on a seat.  It will burn anyone it is near if they touch it.  I put it in the trunk.  I create a wall to stop it from sliding with two twelve packs of diet coke that I hadn't yet brought in from the car. 

It's 12:10.  We're off!  (Some would say psychologically)  The first road out of my home neighborhood has a sharp incline and wavy curves, I hear a shukunk!  It sounds like a case of diet coke flipped sideways when I made a sharp turn.  Visualizing the corner of the coke box impaling the cake, I tell myself there is nothing frosting can't fix.  Then I make a right turn and I hear another shussssssssssh.

I don't know what that sound is. 

I come to a four way stop.  The cake on the plate slides up to the driver's seat in an "Order up" type fashion.  I now have a problem.  The oven mitts are in the trunk, still safely trapped by the diet coke cases.  I'm on a straight away with no easy to pull off place to allow me to get out of the car, grab the mitts and then transport the cake back to it's proper place.  After a momentary panic and wonder that it slid straight and didn't crash into a forgotten backpack, coat or diaper bag, I consider the problem. It is a straight line drive to the school until we turn into the school. This will prevent the cake from becoming the equivalent of a chocolate hockey puck so I just decide to live with it.

Arriving, my kids climb into the van and I park.  It is now time for the moment of truth, the flipping of the cake.  It makes it except for a 2 inch gash that is because I used full sized chocolate chips in my haste. I had mini's, I just didn't look.   That's a frosting band-ade for sure.  I begin slathering the coconut goo.  Some of it falls immediately from the knife onto my daughter's thigh as she's holding the plate with the cake.  Undeterred, I keep pouring on the frosting.  It's done.  It's 12:30 and it's done.  With the assurance of a friend to watch the car and the kiddos, I'm in the home stretch. I just have to get it to the library.  

The school runs an aftercare program.  Today, because it is a half day, there are more older kids than usual.  They are out playing ball.  As I cross the parking lot to get to the door, a ball comes bouncing towards me with an 8th grade boy in hot pursuit.  I'm not sure which way to duck. I'm thinking DOOMED.  But the ball bounces over my head.  At this point, I hand the cake to  the woman coordinating the lunch and grab some napkins for my daughter so she can clean off the goo.  I'm getting out of there before I ruin the luncheon.  

Just so they know, I really really appreciate those teachers.  But next time, I'm bringing diet coke.


Kristen @ St Monica's Bridge said...

Thank you! I needed to read this as I scramble along with so many things like this of late. :) Where there's a will there's a way and you had both!

Helene said...

They need to put that scene in a movie! I was afraid to breathe until the end. No, wait. There is no way to duplicate it.

Anonymous said...

Still laughing. Erma B. would be proud.

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!