Saturday started off well enough. I met Judy at Einstein Brothers Bagels for breakfast. We try to gt together every few weeks to catch up (and it gives us a good excuse to go out to eat). As we munched we chatted and Judy asked me to help her with an errand after our meal. Her niece was turning 9 and she was bringing the cake. She needed someone to hold it and keep it steady as she drove home. I agreed so we headed off to the bakery after breakfast.
Judy brought the cake out to me and set it on my lap. It was beautiful. It was a two-tier stacked cake with pink frosting and colorful dots. It was tempting to eat but somehow I restrained myself (maybe that’s why we had breakfast before getting the cake). We drove off. Thankfully Judy lived only a few miles away. Still, I was tense the whole time. The cake was expensive and I didn’t want to be responsible if something happened to it. I balanced that cake as if my life depended on it (knowing Judy, it did). I kept it level on turns and as we drove up the steep driveway. I finally let my breath go when Judy took the cake from me. We walked through her garage, I opened the door to the house, and as Judy moved up the two steps inside, she tripped over a cat carrier.
As I watched her fall and the top-tier of the cake go flying through the air, turning over on its head, my first thought was, “At least it wasn’t me.” But then my thoughts turned into a string of curse words because I knew that this was something that Judy would beat herself up for a long time. With both of us cursing loudly, Judy’s husband, Tony, came running to see what was wrong. When he saw the cake on the floor, he stopped short. “Oh, I thought you killed a cat or something.” All living creatures were fine but the cake was most definitely not.
We stood staring at it for a while, Tony holding the black cat that was very curious as to what that yummy smelling stuff was on the floor. The party was in 24 hours and the bakery closed in less than 2. But before we could even think about how to fix the cake, we first needed to get it off the floor. Judy grabbed two spatulas and, me on one end and her on the other, we scraped it off the floor. We started to turn it over but the icing made it slick and it started to slide off, dangerously close to landing on its side. We set it back down on the floor and I asked Judy to fetch a plate. I placed the plate upside down on the bottom of the cake. Once again, we scraped the tier off the floor. Then, holding onto the plate, we flipped the cake in one fluid motion so it was right side up. We removed the spatulas and observed the damage. It was not pretty. The icing was completely smudged and there was a 2 inch dent in the side.
The silver lining was that the base of the cake was unharmed. Judy called the bakery to explain what happened and they said to bring it back. We hopped in the car and took the cake back (still being cautious not to damage it further). By the time we got to the bakery, there was only 45 minutes left in their business hours. They told us to come back near closing and we could pay for it when we picked it up.
As Judy and I ran another errand, we contemplated how much the fix would be. I tried to be comforting, saying that they probably dealt with this sort of thing all the time (after all, they bake a lot of wedding cakes). Still, I suggested that next time she look into their delivery service, just in case. Thankfully, she laughed. That’s always a good sign with Judy.
As asked, we returned to the bakery 45 minutes later. As we pulled up, my phone started ringing. The caller ID said Judy was calling so I knew it had to be Tony. The bakery had just called the house saying that it would be 2pm before the cake was ready. “Shit!” Judy exclaimed. Yes, there was plenty of time before the party but if the bakers had to stay two hours past closing, this was not going to be a cheap fix.
We went back to Judy’s and waited. At one point, Judy picked up one of the spatulas loaded with pink icing and started licking. “That was on the floor!” Tony yelled. “I forgot!” Judy yelled back. “I just saw the frosting and I had to have it!” I thought her argument was rather valid. Who could resist sugary, pink icing?
When 2 o’clock rolled around, we went back to the bakery (for the last time). Before Judy went in, we placed our bets. I thought the fix would cost $50. Judy guessed $60. We were both wrong. They only charged $10! “They’re getting my business from now on!” Judy exclaimed as we drove off. I suggested that they should sell cake insurance for occasions such as this.
We made it to the house in one piece, though both of us were tense. This time I was driving and I was afraid to go too fast or to take sharp turns but everything was fine. Judy started for the door once more and this time I made sure the damn cat carrier was not in her path. She successfully placed the cake on the counter and made sure it was well covered and that all chairs were far away from the counter (so as not to provoke the cat into jumping onto the counter and eating/ruining the cake). Thankfully the cat behaved and the cake remained intact through the night.
Sunday was hot and Judy needed to transport the cake an hour north to her sister’s house. I was also going that way for a meeting in town so Judy and I drove together. Once again, she held the cake in her lap as I drove. This time, though, it was a bit scarier for several reasons. First, there was no fixing the cake should it be damaged. Second, most of the trip was along a US highway so the speed of travel was much greater. Third, it was hot out and melted cake did not sound appealing. We had the air on full blast, but Judy also tried to keep it out of the sunlight.
We finally made it to her sister’s. Judy carried the cake through the garage and into the house, careful not to trip on anything. Once it was safely on the kitchen counter, we both breathed a final sigh of relief. I didn’t stay for the party so I don’t know how the cake tasted but I hope it was sweet and everything that Judy’s niece wanted. She has no idea what a long journey it took to get to her party.