Raise your hand if you have a super mom? I probably wouldn’t be here writing this particular post had I not had help from my mom in the process of making this cake. So before I kicked things off, I thought it was only fair to give credit where credit is due.
Now, as some of you may know, my girlfriend Amber is a cake designer. She has her own business where she makes the most incredible looking and tasting cakes. Ever since we started dating, I joked that I would make HER a birthday cake when the time came. I knew I couldn’t compete in the realm of style, I mean look what she made for my birthday…
But I would do my best to make sure that the cake still tasted good. When I told her I was making a chocolate cake, I believe her words were, “oh, babe. Are you sure you want to do that? It’s really easy to screw up a chocolate cake. I did 11 trials of chocolate cake before settling on my recipe.” I was confident (not in my baking skills) but confident in my confidence. I was also confident that when I showed up to my mom’s house – whose kitchen is well equipped with all the necessary gadgets and doodads and tools to make a cake, that she would inevitably lend a knowledgeable hand and guarantee a well made cake.
There were messes and mistakes – mostly due to my lack of experience in the baking department. And while the cake didn’t turn out the most beautiful, I was 90% sure it was going to taste good.
The cake: chocolate with orange-caramel filling and orange scented buttercream.
Now, Amber makes, undoubtedly, the best take I’ve ever had. I’m not just saying that because I’m madly in love with her, her cakes are the moistest and most delicious of all time! So impressing her with a tasty cake was going to be a difficult task. I did manage to prod her a bit for some useful information a few days before hand to see if she had any tips and tricks — figuring I should learn from the best, and she was more than happy to help. I cannot however for the sake of maintaining her secrets to success, tell you what they were; but they were a key to the execution of my great-tasting cake.
It was a day filled with surprises. I surprised her with dinner, where friends were waiting when we arrived. And then I surprised her with a delicious tasting cake. And then I surprised her with tickets to The Nutcracker.
And I guess it’s only fitting that surprises were the theme of her birthday, as she has been one of the great surprises in my life.
You might say we kind of stumbled upon each. Fate kinda leant a rather unconventional but 21st century hand in our finding each other. It wasn’t the typical story of boy meets girl, but it goes something like this: we met on a pleasant January afternoon. She flashed a big smile and hugged me as if greeting a long-distance lover after months apart.
A day of wine tasting turned into dinner. She locked arms with mine on the way to the restaurant. I couldn’t wipe the smile from me face as we walked. My amorous imagination ran wild, dreaming up a future with her.
We were center stage to tables of other couples and friends and business partners, indulging in plates of food while we indulged in each other. We talked for hours, and then a few hours more, and then a few hours more. And ten hours later as I walked her to her car, the rest, as they say, is history.
She loves to laugh and bake, and I am good at making her laugh and cooking. She loves dogs and goats. I love cats and turtles. She sings commercial jingles and loves Wheel of Fortune. I am a food and wine nerd and love sports. We’re both addicted to playing Scrabble, and overly competitive when it comes to playing badminton. And there’s just a perfect balance of one and the other.
And nearly a year later, here I am making her a birthday cake.
***I cannot divulge the recipe as it would give away some of Amber’s secrets, but I’m sure you avid bakers out there can make do with your best chocolate cake recipe***