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The Day’s Delight: Carrot Cake

Even in a new kitchen, cake baking is still the same. Sure, the dance is different: turn and step from counter to island, circle back for the mixing bowl that’s in a low cupboard instead of on the shelf by the door, get the grater out of the storage box in the spare bedroom. But the ingredients are the same. Right?

After seven years of b&b bulk orders, I forget to think about buying staples– how could I possibly be low? Carrot cake calls for oil, (and, though I doubted at first, I am now a full-fledged convert), so no worries there– and eggs. Four of them… I had three. But you can make cake with mayonnaise, can’t you? I heard that somewhere. And mayonnaise is mostly eggs, right? I checked, and the internet agreed.

This could have been alarming, or at the least, frustrating: my recipe is a good one, and I can’t follow it properly– I can’t predict how it will turn out. But the last time I baked late at night and had to make a substitute (sour cream for molasses), it became my favorite recipe. I’ve made it that way ever since.

Isn’t that the way all magic happens? Via the unpredictable, which we so foolishly call “mistake.”

Tomorrow, when we cut into the improvised carrot cake for my co-worker’s birthday, I might discover that this accidental recipe, this unexpected life, was what I have been looking for all along.


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