Chocolate Roll Cake
It was a hot, muggy day in Virginia. Even the trees were too hot to stir. The air was thick and muggy– as if God had just stepped out of the shower and steamed up the whole world.
It was a desperate day that demanded desperate measures.
It was a day that called for cake. Not just any cake.
A decadent, sinful, diet busting, real-whipped-cream-not-the-canned-stuff filled cake.
The cake of chocolate dreams.
So I made one. My friend Nancy coached me through it.
To be fair, I am not a cake person. I can never make cakes well. It’s true. And roll cakes always crack when my cursed fingers touch them. At one point I made a carrot log that I messed up so much that I ended up with way more batter than I needed. It was more like a carrot sequoia in the end, than a carrot log. But it was tasty, even though it was an ugly duckling.
But this time, I wanted my roll cake to be perfect.
“You can do it,” said Nancy.
“I have never made a roll cake without cracking it,” I said.
“Today’s the day,” she said.
See the thing about Nancy is that, in addition to being a cake artist extraordinaire, she is also an incredible friend. I can ask her about any baking dilemma, and she always has the solution. She also sacrificed her deodorant and threw it away to squeeze a tea set into her luggage for me when she went to Paris. Who doesn’t love a friend like that?
She talked me through the roll cake.
She told me how to wrap it in a towel, heavily dusted with powdered sugar so that the cake wouldn’t stick. She taught me how to leave the cake rolled to cool, then gently unroll it to fill and re-roll. She told me that I could do it. She had no doubt. I did not share her assurance.
However, I tried. I followed her directions to a T. I could hardly believe it when, for the first time in my life, I made a roll cake that didn’t crack. It was so beautiful that I could hardly believe something so decadent could come out of my tiny little home kitchen. I made a good roll cake? Really? I owe it all to Nancy.
I waited until the end of the day, when the sun went to sleep. I cut myself a nice round slice and marveled at the beautiful swirl and the decadent whipped cream. I tasted the knife and closed my eyes in bliss.
I went out onto the porch and sat in my rocking chair, listening to the rustling of the trees as a slight breeze whispered across the yard, cooling us with the welcome air. I slide my fork into the light, decadent, chocolate loveliness.
And I took a bite.
Moments like this are not meant to torture yourself about guilt and diets. Moments like this, time seems to stop so that your senses can focus completely on the gift before you. Moments like this make you glad to be alive.
Just a porch, a breeze, a rocking chair, and a beautiful dessert just for you. And a good friend willing to share her expertise on how to make it, giving you a skill for a lifetime. Thank you Nancy. I love you.
You did it. And I’m just so proud of you.
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