Honestly, I thought I was making things easier. My birthday was two days away. Meka was frazzled, looking forward to three labs and two tests in the next week. As we were getting ready together in the bathroom that morning, I suggested getting a store bought cake.
“All I want is one of those little chocolate cakes with white frosting,” I said. Devil’s food cake happens to be my favorite store cake flavor and I like vanilla frosting on it. It’s a study of contrasts (or something). Well, we went to Wal Mart two days running and both times, no chocolate cakes. The first night I considered a marble cake. After all, it was part chocolate. However, we were there kind of late. The bakery was closed and looked even more picked over than normal. I assumed I could come back the following day and pick up a chocolate cake with white frosting without an issue. I was wrong.
I had a cakeless birthday last Thursday. I didn’t mind and neither did Meka (we’re both still on Weight Watchers). Daniel was a bit annoyed. My mom was coming into town over the weekend, so I thought I would try to find a chocolate cake with white frosting one last time. I started at Wal Mart again. I wasn’t hopeful, but it was the closest store to our subdivision. No dice. Belvidere has two real grocery stores. One didn’t have any cakes at all. The other had every other cake I could think of: lemon cakes, coconut cakes. They had plenty of white cakes with white frosting. I made that mistake once; after twenty three years, my dad still brings it up at every celebratory get together.
It was getting late. I left a message for Meka. Call me when my mom gets there then order Chinese food; distract and delay. By this time, no mere marble cake would do. I was on a quest. Meka called me as I was driving into Cherry Valley. There’s a big mall there and a Hilander grocery store in the outlying parking lot. We used to shop there when we first moved to Belvidere. I seemed to recall they had a bakery of some sort, but it had been years since I’d stepped foot in the store. The Hilander did indeed have a bakery. I quickly wandered round the piles of pies and freshly made rolls. The cakes were stacked to the right of the floral arrangements. Most of them were for Valentine’s Day more than a week away. I don’t know what a half-life of a store cake is, but that seemed a little like jumping the gun. More white on white cakes. They lined an entire shelf. I was about to find the baking aisle and grab a Jiffy mix when I noticed a cake wedged in the corner with a red “CLEARANCE” tag on it. I peeled it away and finally found my chocolate cake. The frosting was even (sort of) white. The baker had crumbled Oreo cookies over the top. The idea was laudable, but in practice it looked like the cake could use a good dusting.