As we near the final moments of Pie/Cake championship, wherein one dessert shall be granted glory, we've asked the biggest cheerleaders to step forward in a personal appeal for their respective favorites. Intern Maura's making the case for Cake.
I can't hide how I feel about cake; it's an emotion that is deeply ensconced in my heart. And I didn't just wake up with this love, either: My allegiance to cake is tied to a legacy of family and the ties that bind.
It's hard to pinpoint when or how exactly cake took its rightful place at the top of the dessert chain for me. There isn't so much one definitive event where I decided cake was tops forever, but a reflection upon my personal history reveals that cake was my constant. Sure, the naivety of my childhood informed me that cake was pretty, feminine-white and heaped with enormous frosting roses, ribbons, etc, often in some pastel color, usually pink. A Barbie-doll cake, wherein that beloved doll's skirt was made of cake — that fulfilled every fantasy my five year old mind could conjure up. Pie will never be a gown. Pie will never define a happy childhood.
What you can make with cake doesn't matter that much, though. More important is what it can DO, and how it can pull anyone in. Maybe you like fancier cakes. Maybe you like mass-produced produced concoctions. Maybe you religiously adhere to the craft of cake-from-scratch. They're all good; cake has so much to offer, from the simple pleasures of vanilla buttercream to the luxury of red velvet and the refinery of carrot. Pie is not for the masses. Pie does not draw you in. There's no show called Pie Boss or Ace of Pies. The magical abilities of cake are so overwhelming that only the warmth of cake and cake alone can permeate through the screen, touching your heart and your stomach.
But cake goes deeper for me; cake is family. Cake is my mother, celebrating her only daughter's first birthday with two vanilla layer cakes covered in smooth, delicious vanilla buttercream frosting. One for me, and one for whoever else showed up at my party that day. In the pictures, I don't let my hands hold me back, and that cake went straight to my stomach…and then to my heart. Since that first birthday every major milestone of my life has been a marked by a succulent cake. My mother — the beloved Mals — doesn't make it known, but she's always been raising me as a Varsity player on Team Cake. Every birthday, every recital was marked by her cake. Special events at work? Cake is coming. My first period? Cake. Cake brought me into womanhood. For years, she mailed cake to my best friend at college, committed to spreading the message of cake, a heartfelt spread of the gospel. When my soul needed soothing and that mother-supplied cake just wasn't possible, I had been raised a strong woman, taking it in stride and supplied my own cake.
Cakes have been there with me every step of the way. Cake will not leave me; cake will always be around the corner. Cake marks so many occasions for so many people; it is only with cake that we cross the thresholds of humanity. And you can't bake that kind of strength into any other dessert.