Gist, Story

WHAT I LEARNT FROM BAKING A CAKE 

Almost everyday, people ask me how I manage to smile amidst everything that has happened and is still happening to me, and ninety percent of the time I just go ahead and smile again before I say anything. I don’t know what you’re thinking but I smile because smiling is easy. 

Now, that may not be totally true because I have also been in situations where it took me great effort to smile and I know it goes beyond revealing a gorgeous set of teeth.

So, here is the thing, I don’t have too many reasons to smile but I smile. 

The day I turned twenty one, my friend with whom I made plans for my birthday party asked a question during a Q&A session because he was surprised at the way I responded to the situation that came up. His question was, 

“Bliss, how do you see life and how do you manage to be happy”. 

Before I tell you what my response was and still is (which is the whole summary of this post), I would like to inform you to that for my 21st birthday I invited just my close friends and all plans were made bearing them in mind but at the last minute, each and everyone of them cancelled and I was left with only my Planner. I felt bad and just as he was beginning to feel sorry for me I told him to grab a seat while we both played games like nothing happened. 

We were in the middle of this when some set of people that I had not invited came in singing birthday songs and making merry noise. They said they got the notification from Facebook and decided to come celebrate with me. The place was already set and I must say that in a couple of minutes, I forgot about who and who did not come. More uninvited guests joined in later and my day ended well. Josh was surprised at my response to the situation and he was forced to ask me that question. 

So, how do I see life? How do I manage to be happy? Quickly see image below.

Yes! You read that correctly. 

I see my life as a rough journey to a beautiful end. Before my twenty first, I had heard so many motivational talks and all but most times I wasn’t really motivated because I couldn’t relate. 

One day, a couple of months before my birthday, mum put butter and sugar in a bowl for me and handed me a wooden turner and said “mix”. It wasn’t my first time of creaming butter and sugar but that day I observed carefully. 

As I stirred, I heard the cracking sound of sugar as the wood tried to melt it into the butter, it was noisy and the stirring was tiring especially because mum said to ‘stir in one direction’. Mum would occasionally come and say ‘it’s not yet fluffy, continue’ and I would be like ‘gosh! I’m tired already’ and she would pretend not to hear. 

When it’s fluffy and I am done stirring, mum would make me break eggs in a bowl, carefully, without dropping shells in the bowl of yolk and albumen. I would beat the eggs with a spoon or sometimes whisk till mum says ‘pour it in’. Once the egg is in I am free to stir in different directions but the content of my bowl is now unattractive. Well, egg smells like my teacher in baking school used to say. 

After the egg, the browning (for brown cakes), the flour, the this, the that, and jeez, I have a rubbish look alike in my bowl. Most times at this stage, I have seen people raise their nose and they’ll be like ‘iyama’ because truthfully, that shit doesn’t look edible. But I proceed and grease my baking tin just before pouring in the content of my bowl. 

Mixture in tin, I move to the oven, sometimes lit by me and sometimes by any other person lending me a hand. I put the tin in the oven and close the door. After a few minutes, the whole place begins to smell nice and it is at this point that the ‘iyama’ people start saying ‘I must eat out of that cake that is smelling this nice o’ and in my mind I am like ‘So, it is not iyama again?’.

Once it’s done, sometimes a little bit burnt, I leave it to cool off and nobody who was there with me at the beginning would believe that the mouthwatering beauty on my cake board was the same thing inside my bowl with ugly looking content. But it does not end there, there is the dressing, the coating doesn’t do justice to what will eventually be, but the final dressing of whatever design, be it Royal, Butter or Fondant makes it a beauty to behold. 

At this point,  you start hearing people beg to pay any amount because that cake on that board is exactly what they want. 

Cakes end in the belly you would say, but I say it ends in the belly of those who deserve it. 

All smiley and happy, this is exactly how I see life. I see it in the different stages of cake baking : 

  1. The mixing – That is when it seems like nothing good is going to come out of it and the turner could be anything, any life situation or circumstance trying to blend you in. You don’t change direction, you don’t lose focus! 
  2. Fluffy – There are times when you have to change direction (explore) but you must be ready because if you have not gotten there you won’t be able to navigate properly and if you force it, like my mum will say “if you change the direction at which you’re stirring before the eggs go in, the cake will fall”.
  3. Breaking the Egg – You’ve got to be careful, the egg will allow you to move in various directions but a piece of shell in a cake slaps the teeth like sand and you don’t want your client to think it was produced under unhygienic condition. Truth is, you don’t know who will be eating the piece that contains the shell. Take your time, be careful! Remember, at this stage, you will be beaten too. 
  4. Adding ingredients – When the major ingredients that would make a beautiful cake drop into the bowl it looks like a total mess. Yes, provision might come but it doesn’t mean you have arrived. 
  5. Greasing the Tin – If you pour your content into a tin that is not well greased, you might have difficulty taking your cake out of later. Don’t get carried away, grease your tin. 
  6. Lighting the Oven – Sometimes, you can’t do it on your own, someone else lights the oven for you, other times, it’s just you all by yourself, get up and pre heat the oven. 
  7. Putting the Cake in – It’s going to be hot in there but there would be no cake unless your mixture gets in there. So, push the cake in and close the door. 
  8. Perceiving the Aroma – At this stage you are almost there, your environment is saturated with the consciousness of who you are and is waiting to receive you.
  9. Coming out and Cooling off – You are no longer that ‘iyama’ mixture. You are now what the baker saw at the beginning but you have to come out, a little longer and you could burn. Sometimes you burn a little and the burnt part gets to be scraped because burnt cakes taste bitter. While you enjoy being the cynosure of all eyes, allow yourself to cool off because that’s not the end.  
  10. The Coating – This does not do justice to your worth but it is in most cases the foundation on which the reason for bargain is laid. 
  11. Dressing – Whatever the dressing maybe, make it a good one. Know that this is what people will see before they bargain. It doesn’t matter now what you went through, what matters to them is what they see. Try as much as possible to make it look good and lastly 
  12. The Sale – They want you, they want to have you, you are what they need. Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t forget all the effort it took to get there. 

PS. While checking on the cake before it comes out of the oven, be careful, because a little mistake from you can still make the cake fall, most times it is advisable for you to check it yourself. 

I don’t have it all figured out but when I’m dealing with stuff, I just try to evaluate the situation and see what stage of baking I currently am and that alone gives me a million reasons to smile because I know that it doesn’t matter what it looks like right now, there’s a picture of what it should and would look like in my head. I’ve just got to keep working. 

MiCi 

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you taking your time to read my post. Leave a comment, like, feel free to share and don’t forget to follow the blog.

I love you. 

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