Wife: “Sure” [don’t ask about the price tag – wife bites her tongue – bravo wife!]
Gearhead hands wife a large white helmet, emerging like a bubble shaped chalice from its protective bag.
Gearhead hands wife a cream-coloured balaclava and neck scarf looking thing.
Wife: “what’s this? “
Gearhead: “Fireproof clothing. The helmet’s fireproof too, it’s amazing! What?! Why are you looking at me like that?”
Wife: “It’s slightly disconcerting that you have to wear fireproof clothing to drive a car don’t you think?”
Gearhead: “It’s regulation – I have to wear this stuff!” [Incredulous and confused]
I took a week to bake a cake. Each evening I made one component of it and, on Saturday, with parts assembled, it became a most delicious 12 layer mocha cake. It was a cake I had offered to bake for a friend’s 40th birthday. I enjoy a cake challenge and must admit, I was particularly satisfied with this one. I had a cake in my mind’s eye, [wife edits: my mind’s tasting eye – is there such a thing? It would look weird I’m sure if there was one], and slowly, very slowly, small efforts over limited time, and voila, a masterpiece of European elegance and sophistication with North American proportions – it was to feed 50 people after all. And it did.
While I was making the cake the Gearhead was preparing his racecar for it’s virgin voyage to the local racetrack [gearhead edits: it’s not a virgin voyage – the car’s been to that racetrack lots of times] [wife edits: okay, we both know who I mean when I say virgin]. His week didn’t mirror my own small wins. Arriving home from work, I found him hunched over his disassembled car, his hair standing on end, his eyes wide and wild, his panic ticking down like the time bomb he now personified.
My plan for making coffee butter cream one evening was derailed when I was asked [wife edits: forced] to help squeeze a fairly rigid, rubber, bladder -looking thing, underneath what was, apparently, the driver’s seat (a bent piece of aluminum with a lip that refused to budge). Both of us were red faced afterwards from the effort [wife edits: and the anger]. “what is that thing anyway?”, I asked, pointing to the deflated balloon. The gearhead peered down his grease smeared nose, his glasses all akimbo, and with a patience I recognized was being pulled from the extreme edge of civility, he answered, “the gas tank”. [wife edits: Great! Just great! The coffin on wheels has been engineered so that you’re sitting on top of a bomb. I’ve said it before – you either die in that thing or you do not. There is no halfway!] I left him smoldering in the garage, returning to the kitchen to create the miracle that is butter cream.
My week, as I’ve said, progressed well. His did not. The car didn’t make the virgin voyage – though she was ready. Instead, in the last moment of preparation, as the truck was being backed up to hook it on the trailer, it blew a break line. I was making the mousse cake layers at the time, happily oblivious to the breakdown(s) outside. I’m happy to report though that the gearhead spent the weekend renewing his racing license (with a regular car) and passed with flying colours. I attended a wonderful party. We both returned home smiling.
The cake I made is a tried and true, dead impressive, absolutely delicious recipe from Gourmet magazine – the recipe may be found here. I doubled it.
Also – a really great article about coming up with the recipe for the cake, written by Ruth Cousineau, may be found here. She writes, “this is the best cake I’ve ever made in my life”. I completely agree and thank you, Ruth Cousineau, for your recipe and inspiration!!