Having cake and eating it too

carrot cake
Eric Keller has become an expert at hiding his tracks when it comes to taste-testing his wife’s cake. (Eric Keller photo)

“Who ate from the center of my cake?” If you were sitting where I was, it hardly sounded like a question. In fact, it seemed more like an accusation.

I looked around and couldn’t find anyone to blame. In fact, the little kids had just left to go to a soccer match. That left just me, a partially taste tested cake, and whatever excuse I could muster up.

I’m not sure why she doesn’t make extra cakes during the holidays. But she absolutely refuses. She was trying a new carrot cake recipe this Easter, and I was a little excited. I was even more excited to see her pull the cakes out and walk out into the pasture to check on the sheep. This allowed me to check on the carrot cake that was piping hot.

It was too hot to touch, so I had to carefully not touch it with my fingers and get it into my mouth. This is when small pieces work best, because they have plenty of time to cool off while carefully being lifted into my mouth. I usually do this with my eyes closed, so that I can accurately explain that I didn’t see anything.

When I was a kid, I learned to check the center of the cake for doneness by using a toothpick. However, as I got older, I learned that toothpicks were a little too inconspicuous for my liking. Besides, no matter what part of my fingers I used to carefully extract a piece, I couldn’t disguise the damage.

So, as an adult, I carefully use a knife to check for doneness. Although I’m not the one baking, I like to check the work of the ones who are. And if you wiggle the knife around when it’s in the cake, and you check it a couple of times for good measure, it leaves behind a crater big enough for me to get my fingers inside of.

If this seems like a lot of work to get a nibble of my wife’s dessert, you’re right. But she’s probably the best cook and baker in the world. So, I feel like I have practically been forced to circumvent the security measures.

And this time was no different. How could I unknowingly reveal to her just how good her cake was? Instead, I prepare myself to tell her that it was mediocre at best. At first, my kids thought I was rude, but then the older two caught on.

If their mother thinks that her food isn’t great, she won’t want to serve it. And if she doesn’t want to serve it, she may make some more. And if she must make more, we may have to properly dispose of the rest. Although I hate the idea of wasting food, I guess I would hate to watch her family feel so disappointed eating her first attempt at carrot cake.

Besides, frosting needs a rough surface to bind to the cake. It’s not science. It’s just plain ol’ gastronomy, I think.

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