Saturday was my boyfriend, M's, birthday. I had grand dreams of creating him a luxurious layered birthday cake. My very first layered cake.
He requested a coconut cream cake. We recently ate the most decadently wonderful coconut cream cake together at a farmer's market and have been drooling over its memories ever since. After careful consideration and consultation with M, I chose to make what seemed like a laboriously wonderful recipe, Bobby Flay Throwdown's toasted coconut cake with coconut filling and coconut buttercream.
Preparation began days in advance. I read and re-read the recipe and made a list of ingredients. I had to buy a new cake pan. I had to hit the liquor store for coconut rum. I had to track down vanilla beans.
Saturday morning (birthday day) I was at the grocery store and home toasting coconut by 9:30 AM. I worked on this cake until 7:00 PM. Not constantly, but I was more or less was mixing, cooling, baking, assembling, or thinking about some cake related detail this entire time.
First, I toasted coconut to pat on the outside of the cake.
Next, I made a coconut-infused simple syrup to brush on each cake layer.
Then, I made a coconut custard to incorporate into the filling and buttercream.
I made the cake batter and baked off two cake layers.
The day progressed and after the custard cooled for 2 hours, I incorporated it into the coconut filling
and the coconut buttercream.
Finally, I assembled what I anticipated to be the most magical birthday cake M or I had ever experienced. Magical because I had created it and magical in its deliciousness.
After dinner, M and I returned home from a nice dinner out, where we happily resisted the dessert menu in anticipation of the homemamde cocnonut cream cake awaiting us.
Candles were lit, the cake was cut, and slices were served alongside cool glasses of milk.
I shoved a piece in my mouth with a smile and paused. This cake, my creation, it wasn't great. In fact, it wasn't even really good. It was too light, a bit bland, not sweet enough, the buttercream was too buttery, and the filling wasn't at all what I had thought it would be.
I kept eating. I even went back for a second sliver. I kept waiting to be satisfied. It never came. The cake just wasn't what I wanted it to be. Disappointment washed over me.
M understood, he had seen all of my hard work. Of course I'm sure he wished it was more like the cake we of which we had both imagined, but it was what it was, and he was satisfied. He kissed me, thanked me, and he told me he had a wonderful birthday.
This morning, I've moved on. Well, after I clean up that mess in the kitchen, I will have moved on. And maybe, just maybe I'll take the leftover cake outside and smash it on the pavement and scream, with a smile on my face (mind you), what the f*#! Bobby Flay! What the f*#!.
A Serious Interjection: Sometimes, despite hard work and planning, disappointment strikes us down. It's ok to be hurt for a moment (or two). But, don't forget to pick yourself up, smash a cake on the ground, and start over with a smile on your face.
Previous serious interjections: