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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Dark Chocolate Cake

Flour? Check. Cocoa powder? Check. Coffee? Check. Eggs, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, buttermilk, oil and vanilla extract? All check. Time to shake and bake.

Amira knew how awfully wrong it must seem to use Will Ferrell and John Reilly’s Talladega Nights catchphrase in the actual baking context, but she used it nonetheless since it always made her smile, and starting her annual baking project with a smile helped her get into a good mood, and she needed the extra endorphins. So, time to shake and bake.

She started, as always, by preheating the oven. She then quickly greased and floured her 9x13 inch pan which she only ever took out once a year, for this specific occasion. She then took out a large bowl from the cabinet under the sink, rinsed in a little to clear the dust that must have gathered there for sitting down there for so long, and started putting the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder into the bowl and mixed all those dry ingredients together. She preferred doing this step by hand. It helped her feel connected to the cake, like she was contributing a little bit of herself into the cake as well, like an integral extra ingredient.

She then made a hole in the middle of the dry mix with her fingers. She knew just how big to make it, since she’s done it more than ten times already. She then put in the eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla extract into the well she has dug. Lastly, she picks up the last remaining ingredient on the counter, the cup of coffee and takes a sip. She closes her eyes and carves a smile on her face, savouring the strong, rich taste before pouring the whole glass in with the rest of the ingredients in the bowl.

She then mixed the batter with a wooden spoon for a minute before putting it on the electric mixer at medium speed for two minutes. She would beat the batter herself, but it was a hard day at work, as usual. All of her body just wanted crash on the bed and wake up late tomorrow in the middle of Saturday. But she had to make this cake first.

 Amira stared at the little machine doing its work and thought back to the first time she did this. She didn’t have this electric mixer. Heck, she didn’t even know these little things existed, so she happily mixed the batter by hand, wearing her arm out in mere minutes. She remember she had to put the batter aside several times just to let her arm recover. Only after the phone call to her mother was she informed of the existence of the mini-miracle that is the electric mixer. Then there was of course the other phone call.

The two minutes were up. She took the bowl out and and deftly spread the batter into the pan. She made sure that it was nice and even before popping it into the oven to cook for 40 minutes at 175 degrees Celcius. Done. Now to clean up.

She collected all the bowls and gave them a thorough wash, wiped down the counter and took out the wire rack to cool the cake on when it was finished baking.

Amira wiped her forehead with her wrist and puffed out a breathe. She stared at the cake baking in the oven and caught her own reflection in the oven door. She chuckled at how old she had grown. Her hair was starting to turn gray. Not that many, but she noticed them anyway. More and more wrinkles have etched their way onto Amira’s face. She wondered if Jeff would still find her attractive in the state that she was in. 

He had always said that she was the most beautiful person in the world. She knew he was lying, but it was sweet of him, nevertheless. Those words never failed to make her smile. He would even bring it up in the fights they used to have. 
“Wait a minute, may I just have one little minute for something very very important!?” 

“WHAT IS IT!?” She would snap at him. 

“I just want to take a moment to take in the fact that I am right now quarreling with THE most beautiful person in the world.”

At which point she would throw anything her hands could reach as hard as she could at him, a smile on her face always betraying her.

The ding of the oven snapped her back into reality. She casually swiped away the tear running down her cheek and put on her oven mitt and took out the cake. She put it down gently on the cooling tray and took in the smell. Delicious, as always.


And now, it was time for her to wait. She will wait for Jeff. It didn’t matter that she knew Jeff wasn’t coming. It didn’t matter that five years ago Sergeant Rowley called to tell her that her husband, Jeffrey Nesbit was “missing in action”, as he put it, while on active service in Afghanistan. It didn’t matter that Jeff was most probably dead. All of that didn’t matter to her. What mattered was that it was his birthday today, and they always had dark chocolate cake on his birthday. And she’ll wait for her husband to come home and eat the dark chocolate birthday cake his wife made for him. She’ll wait.

5 comments:

VioletRose said...

Great story of a love from a wife.

Amirah Azmil said...

I'm Amirah, and I happen to love baking..like a lot, actually. Anyways, this story teared me up :'(

Syarafina Sabri said...

Encik Anwar, sedih...

Nur Almaz said...

woi.

kurosaki ichigo said...

Wowww.. beautiful story