Every cake has a story. It’s true. I know this because I make a lot of cakes, and nothing lets you into someone’s life quite like cake.
Being a pastry chef has given me the privilege of meeting so many extraordinary people and their families. Each interaction, each order, sets a connection into motion that has the possibility to blossom into something bigger than I ever could have anticipated. It’s my hope to share some of these moments with you.
I wish I could say that I had my ‘every cake has a story’ epiphany all on my own, but in all honesty, a friend/business cohort had it for me. I was meeting with my chief marketing expert, Deb LaFlamme, owner of For the Love of your Biz. As usual, we were catching up with each other before we dove into our ‘work’. How are you? Good. How are the kids? Great. Life? So busy. Work? All goes well in sugarland…just finished working on Eddie’s grandmother’s 100th birthday cake. Blog??? Struggling with a particular post on my job and connections…think I might table the entire thing. Huh…that’s unfortunate. Maybe you should write about how every cake has a story.
And just like that, Deb summed up exactly what I had been trying to capture. Welcome to my new series.
There is perhaps no better story to initiate this series with than to tell you about a cake that I made about a month ago. I received a call from a customer right before Easter, asking if I could make a Boston Cream Pie for her to pick up in two days. My deadline for holiday orders was long gone, and we were in the thick of production with very little time to spare. I responded by saying that normally I could help her, but in light of the holidays, the huge volume of Easter desserts we had to make topped with the fact that we were short-staffed, I wouldn’t be able to do this for her this time. Anyone who knows me, even if it’s just a little bit, will most likely be stunned by that last sentence, because I very rarely say no to anything or anyone. It goes against my nature, as I am a ‘pleaser’ through & through. I felt like I had no other option…to say yes would put an additional burden on the kitchen that I just couldn’t risk. I then told my customer what I could make – a chocolate mousse cake. She responded by saying, ‘well…ok. It’s just that my friend has cancer, and all he wanted was a Boston Cream Pie. If you have time to make that, it would be great, but if you don’t, chocolate mousse cake will be ok.’
Say no more. Boston Cream Pie it will be.
I hung up the phone and felt such a heaviness in my heart & in my body. I hate cancer. I hate feeling squeezed for time. I hate that I said no, only to put my customer in the position of having to explain the background so that she could just get a Boston Cream Pie. I felt guilty that I added another order on top of everything we had to bake. I questioned whether I would ever be a ‘good’ business owner, one who is responsible and makes wise decisions that increase efficiency, not deter it. I missed my kids and just wanted to be home.
My customer arrived two days later to pick up her order, and when she asked if it was the chocolate mousse cake, I responded by walking over to my fridge, pulling out her cake box, opening the lid & showing her that no, it was not chocolate mousse; It was the Boston Cream. Her gratitude was palpable & I relished that moment of being able to participate in something bigger than me, in something bigger than one Boston Cream Pie.
I will never think of a Boston Cream Pie in the same way I would have before this experience. I will always associate it with one man’s wish and this memory will remind me of how lucky I was to be able to help make this happen. It’s not a cure to cancer. It’s not life-saving. It’s not even something that lasts, in the physical sense, through time. But, it is comfort. It is love. It’s made with compassion and intent, and in the end, it’s my way of saying thank you for trusting me with this small little piece of your life.
Yes, every cake does have a story, and I look forward to sharing these stories with you. Feel free to join in & share your cake stories too…