Cake Decorating Epiphany

1:51 PM

If you don't follow me on Twitter or don't pay attention to my tweets on the right hand side of the site, let me start this off by informing you that I skipped my cake decorating class Monday night.

Yes. The third class out of six total and I played hooky.

I just didn't feel like going. After a week with a friend staying with us, an exhausting Father's Day, and a house that looked like a tornado went through it-- I skipped. I stayed home, cleaned, cooked, and spent time with Michael and Clark.

I was responsible. I e-mailed the teacher, told her I wasn't going to be there, and asked for a list of what we did in class so I could practice before next week. Even in a class that I am clearly wasting money on by not going to, I wanted to be courteous and let the teacher know.

So today when Michael was taking a nap that I was hoping would be two hours long like the past two days, I ate my lunch and then set up my royal icing and prepared to learn from our book how to make primroses and daffodils.

Yeah, right.

My icing was so hard (which tends to be the way with royal icing) that my hand felt like it was going to fall off simply trying to squeeze the icing through the tip at the end of the bag. It also didn't help that I didn't start practicing until minute 45 of what I thought would be two hours of free time, but Michael decided to wake up at 60 minutes precisely.


Here I am with a flower tip trying to be extra careful to make my first primrose, but the stupid frosting won't even come out of the tip. So, either I had to add water to make the frosting a little less stiff, or just had to wait for it to warm up a bit and therefore it would make it easier.

Right then my bag sprung a hole because I was trying to use my fingers, rather than my palm, to push the frosting to where I needed it.

As I was moving the frosting from the one bag to another, I looked up and saw the book Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier sitting on my bookshelf (very small bookshelf). I thought, I really need to reread that. It is such a good book.

Then it hit me.

Cake decorating was stressing me out. Learning how to make flowers wasn't exciting, really. I thought it would be. But it wasn't. It was stressful. I had to tell myself to relax my shoulders, to not worry about anything else, to just focus on the frosting.

And no matter how many times I told myself, my shoulders would tense back up and I'd be thinking about the laundry, or a new recipe, or a book I wanted to read, or a post to put up.

I realized that I just don't like cake decorating.

I realized I don't have the patience for cake decorating.

I realized I don't have the "flare" for cake decorating.

I am a different sort of artist. As much as I want to be, I've never been good at using pencils, pens, paints, and so forth. I suppose I can now add frosting to that list.

I am grateful I figured it out. I honestly haven't decided if I'm going back to class or not. I'm not sure I want to continue to invest time, energy, and money into something I already know I'm probably not going to continue doing.

Don't get me wrong. I've learned some valuable stuff in the class already. But the thing is, I just don't see myself spending an entire day decorating a cake for someone's birthday or special occasion. I'd much rather pay someone who enjoys doing it to do it for me. Is that awful?

Within this small epiphany, I've been making my way through the movie Sylvia about Sylvia Plath. It came out in 2003 and as depressing as it is, it's a beautiful film. And there are parts of it that I've completely connected with.

For example it shows Sylvia (Gwyneth Paltrow) baking when she can't think of anything to write.

That is totally me.

It made me think that I've been throwing myself into my cooking so much lately because I just don't have the creative outlet in my writing at the moment. That doesn't mean I've lost it... it just means that I'm taking turns and I'll get back to writing when I really find a "subject", as she puts it in the movie. I don't seem to have a subject I'm truly passionate about.

When I do, I know I'll return to my writing with full force.

So, although in Practice Makes "Perfect" I seemed to think that spending time with cake decorating would make me love it, I've discovered that's just not how I work. Either I love something or I don't. And Cake Decorating seems to fall in the "don't" category. That may change in years to come... but for now... I'll stick to not knowing how to precisely make a rose or write correctly on a cake.

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