Sweet Memories of Baking with Margeaux

March, 2013 · By Coryanne Ettiene

I often remind you that 10 years ago I could burn water, but what you may not know is that a year ago I kept ready made pastry in my fridge as a staple necessity because the thought of navigating pastry making was, quite simply, too scary.  And while I am honest, the ready made boxes of cake batter decorated my pantry like a scarlet letter.  Baking in general was the one hurdle that crippled me, shamed me and left me feeling inadequate in the kitchen.  But something amazing happened, I found my courage to fail, my confidence to try, and along the way, I came out of this grinning like a Cheshire cat and smelling like flour.  Today, those ready made boxes and dough bundles are a thing of the past, and no where is this more evident than in my recent adventure of baking a birthday cake from scratch with my daughter Margeaux.

Traditionally we opt for a baked Alaska, due in great part to her polar bear Sebastian that goes everywhere with her.  But this year she wanted a surprise birthday cake, and for inspiration I turned to you.  All of your ideas were mouth watering, but the one that graced our table came from Marty who also shares our tradition of Baked Alaska.

Margeaux awoke on her birthday to find a basket full of ingredients to make a Carrot Cake Baked Alaska, and together we spent the day whisking, twirling and laughing in the kitchen.  This moment was made all the more sweet by  her confidence in the recipe, her eagerness to lead the baking and by her pride in seeing it come together.  She gives me endless reasons to be proud of her, but it was not until time stood still blanketed in flour that I saw my baby girl evolve into the woman she will become.  Far removed from the normalcy of mother daughter trials over homework, chores and daily life, we were transported to a place where life slows to a halt and the only thing that matters is the weight of brown sugar and if I could remember all the words to the next Taylor Swift song.  Baking with my daughter not only signaled the end of my fear of baking, it was a right of passage into a new chapter in our mother daughter story, where we left behind the infant girl I used to cradle in my arms to make room for a talented young woman who is as confident as she is beautiful. I will never taste a sweeter cake, and will forever more look at carrot cake as the dog eared page where time stood still during the novel of her life where the pages are turning faster than I care to admit.

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