It was a perfect Sunday morning in May. Sunny, warm and the birds were having their regular morning meeting in the garden. I was sipping my special weekend coffee that my husband makes and I was thinking that my daughter is going to drop by around noon and I’m craving to see her.
She moved away, started her adult and independent life 2 years ago and even though she lives not far away she is so busy that I don’t see her as often as I want to deep down in my heart. I understand that and I promised myself when she shows up I will welcome her with an open arm and open heart without complaining that she should come more often. To also make her feel good, I cook or bake something she likes. Little mommy tricks, showing love. Coming from Hungary it is normal: our love language is food and feeding our loved ones.
Today I decided to make a cake. I didn’t follow any recipes I was just making it up. I had an idea what I wanted and I got to work.
When I bake I have to be at peace with myself. When I rush or I’m worried how it turns or I do something because I have to, it never is going to be good. I come up with something that can be labeled as ugly but delicious. Today I wanted to create something not just yummy but beautiful too.
It is spring. Locally we don’t have strawberries and raspberries yet but I really wanted something fresh and fruity. I started with a sponge cake. I have good memories of that. When I was a kid I always helped my mom to bake. We didn’t have an electric mixer and I was the one who whisked the egg whites. I loved doing it, still do, but I don’t have to do it by hand anymore.
Once I put the cake in the oven, I made a vanilla pudding. Half of it I left for the top of the cake and the other half was made into a filling with some crushed raspberries.
When the cake was done I let it cool and cut it in half. I filled it with the raspberry pudding and put it back to the springform. On the top went the rest of the vanilla pudding. I decorated it with raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries and made some red jello for on top. Then I set it in the fridge and started to pray that the jello wouldn’t escape the top of the cake. It did partially as usual because I am never patient enough to wait until it cools a little bit. But most of it stayed there. My cake looked beautiful.
I used to think that I am not creative. In my mind, creativity is a piece of art made by a creative person. An artist is someone who can make something extraordinary, seeing the world in a very unique and unusual way and express it through art. I am not that person but over the years I realized something: creativity can come in many different ways. I can be creative by turning my life around for the better, changing to a more suitable carrier, helping others or baking a cake. My life or my cake can be a piece of art if I want it to. Also, being more creative is a skill, I have to practice it, gain momentum, make my creativity muscle stronger. If I don’t use it it won’t develop and become weak.
My daughter came and she loved the cake! We all did. The best part of it was the process: figuring out what I want to bake, collecting the nicest looking fruits for it, measuring, stirring and assembling. I made a conscious decision recently to be in the moment whatever I do. To get lost in baking a cake is to relax. No expectations, no competition, no rush, just let it happen one task after the other. Mindfulness. How amazing is that? You can find peace and meditation anywhere if you really get into the flow. You need to let yourself be lost in the moment, cutting off the world outside of you.
Did you get the inspiration to bake my cake? Here is how I put it together.
Sponge Cake With Berries
Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Put parchment paper in a 24 cm springform.
Separate 5 eggs. Beat the egg withes until it is very firm with a pinch of salt. When it is ready, add 5 tablespoons of sugar, still beating it. Add the egg yolks. Next, add 5 tablespoons of cake flour after mixing. Add some grated lemon zest and a teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Using a spatula scrape it to the cake form and put it in the oven for about 20-25 minutes.
Don’t open the oven door for at least 10 minutes because your cake will deflate. Check it out: when it is nicely golden and when you listen to it it is quiet then it is ready. Or you can use a toothpick. If it comes out clean it is ready. Let the cake is cool. Then cut it in half.
Meanwhile, make your vanilla pudding as it shows on the package. I use regular Dr. Oetker vanilla pudding.
For the filling, I used about 80 grams of soft butter and 2 teaspoons of sugar and with an electric mixer, I made it fluffy. I added half of the by then cooled pudding and a cup of raspberry. The mixer beautifully crushed the raspberries and made the filling pink.
Spread the filling on the lower half of the cake, place the top on it and put the whole cake back to the form. Now add the pudding on the top, arrange the fruits on the top making a nice pattern or not – use your imagination – and add some red jello on the top of the fruit. Make sure it is cool otherwise it will go everywhere! If you don’t like jello you can skip that part. Put it in the fridge until the jello sets. You can add some whipped cream for fun if you wish when you serve your cake.
Enjoy baking it and eating it! Remember, when something goes wrong and your creation doesn’t turn out the way you wanted to, be creative! My grandma used to say: if you ruin a dish, add more spice, give it a different name and no one will notice it!