Last week I made a chocolate layer cake for some friends who were coming over for dinner. It was a cake I had made many times before. Actually the cake wasn’t the showstopper; it was the mocha cream icing. Any kind of wonderful chocolate cake works and I have been known to throw in a Duncan Hines box mix when pressed for time. The icing makes the cake.
The fancy way to make this cake is to bake three layers, put the filling between the layers and over the whole cake. You use a decorative tip to make little rosettes around the top of the cake. Then you melt semisweet chocolate, add a little butter (ok a LOT of butter) and drizzle it over the top so it runs down the sides between the rosettes. It looks gorgeous and tastes wonderful.
I forgot how tricky it is to keep a layer cake straight even especially when it has three layers. I trimmed the center humps but there was a definite slope the the layers. After much ado (and a replica of the leaning tower of Pisa staring at me), I put a sticky note on the recipe that said, “I am too old to make layer cakes!” It didn’t matter; those who could eat dessert thought it was wonderful. (Some of my friends have started getting diet restrictions that really cramp my cooking style!)
When I put the recipe card back where it belonged, I looked at the note again. I am NOT too old to make layer cakes; I just don’t have the interest to fuss around with them anymore. There’s a big difference there. I can make the same cake in an oblong pan with the mocha filling and chocolate glaze on top. No fuss!
Then I thought about a lot of other things I no longer have an interest in fussing over. One is shish-ka-bobs. Too much work and sometimes they fall off and into the grill. You have to pay attention when grilling them. I can do a quick sauté and make a nice little pan sauce. There are a lot more — home-made ice cream and foo-foo drinks (except for margaritas which are really no trouble at all) come to mind too.
It’s not only cooking. Sometimes I take shortcuts with makeup too. I got permanent eye-liner several years ago so I wouldn’t have to do that in the mornings and I don’t always use mascara. It’s such a pain to get off.
I do the same with clothes and shoes. Unless I am going somewhere fancy (and I can’t remember the last time I did that!) I want to be comfortable.
My Mom said this would happen. She laughed at me when I labored over things that really didn’t make a difference or wore uncomfortable clothes to look cool. She said I’d understand when I grew up. I hate when she’s always right. Just one question – why did it take me 60+ years to grow up? I could have saved a lot of time over the years.
Photo credit: chocolate cake by dphock via Flickr