Cake Porn

Confessions of a Chubby Middle-aged Woman

Cake Porn

OK. It’s true confession time. And it’s one to take the cake.

Everybody has an addiction, a guilty pleasure. Mine? Cake porn. Yes, I’m a cake … and cookie … and cupcake … and pie-aholic. I’m indiscriminate and undiscerning. If it’s baked, I’m in. I cannot get my fill of the stuff.

Some people say it’s a good idea to eat dessert first, but they’re all talk. I don’t just talk about it. I regularly dessert first, dine second.

Some people like cold pizza for breakfast, but if you ask me, nothing beats leftover chocolate birthday cake.

My obsession with cake extends way beyond ingesting the stuff, I’m a voyeur as well. I like viewing the goods in all its raw, baked and iced glory. I also read, make that devour, dessert recipes in newspapers, magazines, and online. I download. I clip. I save. I file electronically. And I collect them in a big, overflowing, old-fashioned three-hole binder notebook. I was dessert-Instagram before Instagram was invented!

One Exception

The only thing I don’t do with pastry is bake. I, in fact, have a fear of baking. Flakey crust. Baked to perfection cakes. Icing that’s as pretty as a picture. The mere thought of trying my hand at these tasks makes my hands tremble.

Grandma was a woman who could bake. My mother was a woman who could bake. I am a woman who goes to a bakery or at the very least, the supermarket.

My daughter once complained that I never baked cookies for her. I immediately rushed to the store and bought from the refrigerator aisle one of those rolls of sugar cookie dough. Back home, unaided I bravely walloped the container on the counter, arrayed the cookies on a baking sheet—using a ruler to ensure proper spacing, baked them for the directed amount of time, served them elegantly on a platter, and was mightily pleased with myself. My daughter—and husband—just shook their heads.

12 x 12 Does Not Equal 12

I did try my hand at “real” baking … once. I asked my beloved second cousin Martin if he had a recipe for chocolate eclairs. He did, but asked, “Can you divide by 12?” You see, Martin was a baker by trade. He only baked in batches of 12 dozen.

I should have realized this “divide by 12” question was important. Sadly, I didn’t.

A few days later, my girlfriend Patty and I got cooking. Ignoring Martin’s question, we decided not to divide by 12 or even make the full 144 eclairs per his recipe. Instead, we used the exact ingredient proportions for 144 eclairs, but opted to make just 12 big, I mean GIGANTIC, eclairs. We baked the monstrosities for hours. They never rose. They just smoldered in the oven, looking ugly and raw.

Finally, it was almost dinner time. Patty’s mother walked into the kitchen, needing to make dinner for the family of seven children, spouse, mother-in-law, and me. She looked at the flour-bombed counters, floor and cabinets, and the pots and bowls in the sink, and just shook her head. Then, in a soft, gentle voice, she said, “Girls, you’ve done enough. Go do your homework.”

If she had yelled at us, if she had ordered us to clean up her floured-over kitchen, if she had complained about how much we had wasted of her carefully budgeted money, we could have felt “righteous” indignation for our failed culinary efforts, but her kindness left us with nothing but shame and defeat.

I was baking-scarred and scared for life. I knew at that moment I could no more bake than fly. No more bake than find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Some things were just not meant to be.

The Language of Love Baking

But that doesn’t mean I don’t love other people’s baked goods. And it isn’t just the taste and look of artfully concocted pastries I love, it’s also the language of baking and recipes I adore. Consider the following:

“You will love this soft and tender vanilla white cake that is covered with crunchy bits of caramelized almonds.”
“Try this moist and tender butter cake with its delicious cinnamon sugar topping and filling.”
“You’ll want to try these soft and tender cake doughnuts, coated with a cinnamon sugar, that are baked.”
“The slow process … waiting as the dough rises in the oven
and the house becomes saturated with the scents of butter and flour and chocolate;
pulling the pans out of the oven and finding the dough transformed into something golden and perfect.”

Everything is “soft and tender,” “moist,” “golden and perfect.” It’s no “50 Shades of Gray,” but it’s so sensual. Sure sounds like porn, albeit, high caloric, porn to me.

The Goods about Baked Goods and Goodies

So, I’m a tart for tortes! Yet, I cannot explain this fetish. Perhaps it is as simple as the idea that pastry is celebratory and luxurious. Cakes are for birthdays. Pie is for Thanksgiving. Cookies are for Christmas and kids. Dessert is the reward we’re given “if we’re good.”

If you think about it, baked goods are loyal. They stick around … around your hips, waist, and thighs … long after you’ve eaten them. Friends should be half so loyal!

And as a middle-aged woman, I’m less worried about the size of my hips, waist, and thighs, so that’s liberating. Perhaps that sense of freedom is why I’m comfortable sharing my tawdry cake addiction with you. I don’t even mind if you tell people! You go. gossip, girl!

Of course, stories, even blog posts, should end with a moral. I don’t have one for this culinary confession. All I can offer you is a belated Happy National Chocolate Cake Day (January 27) and my mother’s killer recipe for chocolate icing. Indulge. I won’t tell anybody.

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Dorothy Galatz’ Killer Chocolate Icing

½ box of confection’s sugar
2-3 tablespoons softened butter
Hot coffee – add slowly to moisten the mixture
Cocoa – to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla

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