Today I am attempting to make a Dork Diaries cake for my daughter’s 12th birthday (The Dork Diaries are popular books for adolescent and pre-teen girls). I wish that I could be one of those fondant-flipping devas that whip out smooth, picture-perfect cakes. But, I’m not. I prefer to make my decorator’s icing with old -fashioned butter, shortening, and powdered sugar. However, I use cake mix, which seems contradictory to the homemade nature of the icing. I just don’t care about the cake part. I want to hurry up and get to the fun part, which is the decorating.
About ten years ago (I think) I took a cooking class given by some ladies at my church. I already knew how to cook, but you can never know too much about cooking, or any other worthy thing. One of the ladies taught us how to make this amazing banana pudding, without cooking the pudding or making meringue. She explained to us that everything didn’t have to be done the hard way, but that cooking was more about being happy and comfortable in your kitchen.
She also suggested that we keep a few quick meal options in the pantry, for those times when food needs to be prepared quickly. The things she said that night changed my strategy in the kitchen. After that I learned to release myself from my own expectations. Nowadays I put the most time into the things I love doing the most. If the cake turns out ok, I will post a picture of it. If it doesn’t then the girls and I will laugh about it, like we did last year when we tried to make taffy during our Little House on the Prairie unit study.
It was a green, gooey mess with almonds in it. I am still not sure what went wrong, but at least the girls know how hard it was for Laura and Mary Ingalls to make taffy.