Cake is but only a slice of love

270 | 365

baker, baker baking a cake
make me a day, make me whole again
-Tori Amos


When I was a teenager, I once upset my grandmother by refusing a slice of cake. I can’t remember the reason – was I simply not hungry, was I in one of my “I don’t think I’ll eat today” phases, was it a calorie counting thing, was it a “you want me to eat this and I don’t want to do what you want me to do” thing. Odds are, it was far nothing more calculated than not being hungry – I have and have always had an insane sweet tooth.

But to her, it was an unbearable slight – to her, I hadn’t just rejected her cake but her love, love that she put together with her own two hands. Ingredients that she pulled off the shelf, out of the refrigerator, butter and sugar creamed together for the sole purpose of sharing cake with her grandchildren.

In the speech that I wrote for her funeral I said that food was her love language. I didn’t realize it when I was younger – had I known, perhaps I’d have accepted that slice of cake. I’d have eaten bite after bite, until finally, pressing the tines of my fork to the plate I would have captured every final crumb to savor in my mouth.

I remember when I was young thinking how trivial it was – who gets upset over cake?

And then as I get older, I realize more and more than often it is how I show my care and my concern and my heart is through food.

Not through my cooking – because lord knows, that might put you in the hospital with food poisoning or a terminally bored palate – but I bake.

Like my grandmother, I don’t like to arrive somewhere empty handed.

And when a birthday rolls around, yes, you better believe there will be cake.

Or three.

Unfortunately, in my quests to show my care and my love and heart in the form of a birthday cake – I always have these grand visions. It started on The Princess’s first birthday. I envisioned this tiered cake – smoothed with buttercream frosting, a different color frosting on each layer. Each layer would have a different design – one stripes, one polka dot, and so on.

Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans.

Actually, what DO they say about the best laid plans? I don’t know.

Anyway, which the cake was delectable and every bite was devoured – it was ugly as hell. And even today, years later as I had grand visions of the cupcakes I would make for The Princess’s gymnastics team tomorrow, I muttered and swore and wrapped myself in frustration that my vision wasn’t coming together on that damn cupcake.

As if somehow, perfectly piping those sunflower petals in yellow-orange frosting would show her just how much I love her – would show her how my life has changed since she has been in it. As if this pastry, surely to be gobbled down in three bites could even come close to saying what she means to me and how happy I am to be her mom, and what my world is like with her around.

Not even close.

I scraped off the marred frosting. Smeared a new layer on and doused it with sprinkles. I could never make a cake that tells her how much I love my daughter, but hopefully my words say it often enough that my cake doesn’t have to.


About sarah

Sarah is a book nerd, a music lover, an endorphin junkie, a coffee addict. Oh, and a goof ball. She writes, she tweets, and she sings off key.


  1. Beautiful post. Congrats on your oldest turning nine. Just a few years now and she’ll be a teenager!! 😉

  2. Happy birthday to nine. There is nothing nicer than a home baked cake, no matter how it looks.

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