“Mama, would you make those little car cakes you used to make when we were little?” asked my teenage daughter sweetly. When a fourteen-year old girl is sweet, it is disarming. It is even more disarming when her plea is joined by her seventeen year-old brother’s darling addendum, “I loved those cakes! Mama, you are always so good to us – but you worked way too hard yesterday – No. We can’t ask you to make the cakes today.”
I was blown over. Of course I dug out the cake recipe and asked my husband to reach down the car cake pan.
“I even bought cake flour the other day! These are going to be great.”
I sifted and sifted and stirred and mixed and the oven was pre-heated. All I had to do was “grease and coat the molds with Wondra flour”.
I didn’t have a Wondra, but I had something that looked like it. I greased the pan and dusted the molds with the fine powder. The cakes baked. I set a timer for them to cool and released them onto the cooling rack. They were lovely.
I was June Cleaver for a few moments until I remembered why I didn’t make these cakes more often: the pan had to be washed and dried completely before doing the next batch. I washed, and dried carefully so as not to harm the surface of the precious car molds. I greased and floured the pan.
My daughter slunk into the kitchen.
“Is it time?”
Her brother looked up from his computer game, sweetness and anticipation in his eyes.
“Oh, go on! Each of you pick a car to eat!” Gloriously indulgent. Terrifically maternal.
They bit into the fluffy cake. Then my daughter’s tongue shot out. “Ack! Pepper!! You put PEPPER on my cake! You did it on purpose!”
“Mama! The day after Easter to play a joke on us!”
“What are you two talking about? Those are good cakes.”
“Have you eaten one?” challenged my daughter.
“Noooo, I was saving them for you.”
“See?! It was a practical joke!”
“Geesh, you two are so full of it. They are great.” And I reached over and took a big bite of a cake.
A gentle push of pepper carpeted my tongue and a soupcon of saltiness. Surprising, but not evil.
My husband came in, “Let me see – aha! You used this? It is for pan searing fish and meat. Not for cakes.”