Some Thoughts While Making a Cake

Monday, June 7, 2010

-Inspiration for deep and shallow thought. This post is mostly the latter.-

I made myself a little birthday cake this weekend as I turned 27. I figured, why not? It wasn't that I was desiring cake, needed to make a wish for some yearning desire, or was to have a huge shindig to share it with others. The impetus just suddenly struck me, like a hand reached into my brain found the bakery string, and plucked it.

"I'm going to make a cake." So I did. It was cake for the sake of cake. Cake doesn't have to have a reason to exist and it does not question itself. Cake just is.

Still, I do have some thoughts and musing to share that occurred to me in the making of this cake. But that's all they are. Thoughts and musings.

To begin with, fuck Williams-Sonoma. Seriously, you guys. What the hell?

On a similar note, hooray for restaurant supply stores who sell the exact same brand of cake pans as Williams-Sonoma for $6.95 as opposed to $30.00. Honestly, I was so flabbergasted I actually used the word, and I'm not a fan of it. (It sounds silly, like serendipity, another word that should be aborted out of the English language.)

I am amazed at the total cost difference from wholesale supply stores sometimes. Honestly, it's shocking that every time I go to a high end store how people are willing to put down enough money to buy the same item at a fraction of the price elsewhere. But, then again, I suppose if you have thirty smackers for a cake pan then saving that thirty smackers isn't probably a concern for you. Then, by all means, spend as you will. I know I have a few fiscal habits I can't rightly justify except for the fact of "because," "I want to," and "shut up."

Now, as for the cake itself I used Dorie Greenspan's cocoa buttermilk birthday cake recipe. It's a good recipe. Reliable. Efficient. Easy. I didn't add the melted chocolate, an optional step, and I wish I had so that the resulting cake would have had a deeper chocolate flavor. Ah well, I was aiming for speed in the kitchen that Saturday morning. Still, it's a recipe I would use again.

Frosting-wise I used the leftover Swiss Buttercream I burned myself making in the Advanced pastry class in May. That stuff lasts forever. It's also richer than the wealthiest sheiks in the Middle East. Seriously, a spoonful of that stuff could give a racehorse a heart attack. Any time I have a slice of this cake five minutes later I become spontaneously diabetic with the desire to eat nothing but light salads for the rest of my life. Oh, but the taste. It tastes so frickin' good.

And yes, 27. In the movie Logan's Run your Lastday is age 21. That's six years a runner. I had the first actual fear of 30 the other day. I used to mock people of that fear saying that you should just get over it and deal with it. Now I get it. The time is going by too quickly. Crap. I still have yet to ever buy a lotto ticket, see the Northern lights, or go sky diving.

Better get on those lists people. Time is going by.

-I also muse about pie but it usually involves peyote and reruns of Xena.-


  1. You crack me up. If you want to stage a protest against Williams-Sonoma, I'm in. Just let me go in and stock up on a few things first. I'm guilty. But the only restaurant supply store I know is in a seedy part of Sacramento by Arden and I'm not brave enough to go in. Or, if I go in, I fear my car won't have any tires when I come out.
    Your cake looks fabulous. Happy Birthday!

  2. I absolutely love to wander around Williams-Sonoma, but I generally walk out empty handed since the prices make me gag. But I love to drool over gorgeous pots and pans and kitchen gadgetry. ::sigh::

    On aging, I'm only a year ahead of you. But it's not my number that makes me sad, it's the thought of my parents and loved ones getting older. Go figure!

  3. Awesome! I am so anti-Williams-Sonoma myself. My friend gave me a $30 WS gift card for my bday while I was in culinary school and I was able to get one thing I wanted, plus I still had to pay the overage amount.

    THANK GOD Chicago has the Wilton Tent sale. Where everything is so cheap you can spend $200 and walk out w/ 3 garbage bags FULL of stuff. I'm going this weekend! :)

    And of course...

    Happy Birthday!
    I just turned 27 in March and it's really not as bad as you think. I promise!

  4. I just saw another "stupid foodies spend money ridiculously" post over at And @DessertForTwo, I guess restaurant supply stores are always in seedy areas of town. Back in my home city, the only two I can think of are in (different) sketchy parts of town.

    I think my sorely lacking kitchen may need me to brave a trip to this restaurant supply store by Arden in any case.

    Happy birthday!

  5. That cake looks awesome!! 30s are a lot more fun than you think. I'm 37 and I can say honestly I love my 30s.

  6. I thought the cutoff age in Logan's Run was 30? Oh well. In any event, I've been a "runner" for waaay longer than you and they haven't caught me yet. ;)

  7. Beautiful post by a beautiful person. Garrett you've done enough just making people think and laugh from your lovely blogs. That cake sounds like something to add to the list. I love Dorie Greenspan and now I will go searching my Dorie collection for the recipe. Thanks! And remember 30 is the new 20 so you really have 13 more years before you have to start digging up that list.

  8. Happy Birthday!
    For me, turning 25 was traumatic once I realized I was a quarter of a century old. After that, 30 was easy. LOL

  9. I love going to East Bay Restaurant Supply over on 12th St. in/near downtown Sacramento! I bought a heavy-duty 11x7 sheet pan ($7.99!) there that, I swear, no matter what I cook or burn on it, it comes out shiny & clean as new again with no hard scrubbing required. Happy Birthday Garrett! Your post just inspired me to make a German chocolate cake, since I have everything I need but the pecans.

  10. I love you, Garret...don't ask me why, I just do :)

    Happy Belated Birthday6!

  11. This is the first time I have come across this wonderful blog. I have explored it some this morning and see you have been at it a while. So my bad. But I got to tell you life does not even get going until well past 30. But at least your writing skills tell me you are an old soul and may have a jump on the rest of us. GREG

  12. Happy Birthday. Your cake looks awesome...that icing is so thick and creamy. Yum! Don't panic, I'm exactly double your age, and I'm still learning about life and enjoying it. I laughed at your story as I have a similar one. My friend and I were meeting for a bite to eat and to do some shopping. We agreed to meet on a certain street corner, and of course, she was running late. I also, was propositioned by a dirty old man (literally). We laughed afterwards, but I was so insulted at the time...couldn't he have been young and handsome? I was about 20 at the time this happened, and that certain street corner is notorious for prostitution. I guess neither one of us was thinking when we planned the outing.

  13. Being in Australia I had to google Williams-Sonoma to work out who, or what, they were.

    I understand your angst in regards to those who charge like wounded bulls because of they have a particular form of reputation, even when selling the same things you can get in a multitude of places. It's like polenta. One year polenta got fashionable and everyone thought they could charge the earth for anything that had corn meal with it (don't get me wrong, I loooooove polenta).

    However I've just found star wars pancake moulds on their site. Now I just need to work out if they ship overseas....

  14. LOL! I couldn't agree more! Great looking cake.

  15. Happy Birthday! Funny I made the same cake last week. I didn't add the melted chocolate either. but next time I might try it.

  16. SO, on the northern lights things, I might be making a pilgrimage to Alaska with another writer friend who lived in Skagway for a year. You should come with!


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