What I Learned from a Cake

I spent a good chunk of last Thursday, when not ordering a mojito or reading a trashy novel, thinking about someone baking a cake.

I should back up and bring the rest of you along with me. The Thursday before I left for vacation, the colleague who is leading the negotiations I’ve been working on mentioned that he had a hard stop at 4 pm. He had to go home and cook a birthday meal for his partner, and he had to bake a cake. Not only a cake, but her mother’s recipe for birthday cake. No boxed mix; this was the real deal, which he had to ice, because as his partner pointed out to him, birthday cakes have icing.

Now, my colleague is a smart and capable guy. When I asked if he’d ever baked a cake (He’s in his early 60’s), I wouldn’t have been surprised if he’d said yes. He hadn’t. He looked at the recipe, googled a few things, called his mum and figured he could get on with it.

I should remark – it wasn’t especially that he had figured out how to make the cake. It was the fact she asked for him to bake a cake.

For years I have made the cake my friends’/niece’s/nephew’s/partner’s choice for their birthday. But telling a partner?


I marvelled. At her moxie, her braveness and her boldness for even asking. She told him she wanted dinner and a cake and left the house for a manicure and pedicure. What if he’d said no? What if she just wound up making her own cake because he was so lackadaisical it became clear it wasn’t going to get done? She didn’t nag, she didn’t pitch a fit and she didn’t seem to be worried. (Can you see what it might have been like to be married to me?)

And then I realized – it’s a cake. A bloody cake. It’s not rocket science. It was clearly important to her. So she trusted he’d figure it out. And he did, because he loves her (Actually, he *adores* her).

Mostly what I spent Thursday thinking about is the notion that someone might love someone else enough to bake them a cake, with no fuss and no muss, because that’s what they asked for.

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1 Response to What I Learned from a Cake

  1. Debby says:

    I think that there is a certain beauty in a relationship where one can ask for their hearts desire, and then step back, quietly confident that they will receive it.

    A beautiful moment captured.

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