Expectations. What you think something is going to be is as important as what it ends up actually being. What you think it should be makes or breaks the results before you even meet face to face. Ask anyone who’s joined an online dating service.
Friends bought a Groupon for Cake Classics, a long-standing cake maker here in town that specializes in weddings and other upsetting events. In a pinch, to use the Groupon before it expired, she ordered a cake on the fly. She was less than excited when she got the cake home and had a piece. I heard about the cake in a mysterious way when she offered to bring it along to an impromptu late-evening get-together.
She had ordered the carrot cake, which was quite nice, expecting something larger and slightly different. Carrot cakes generally arrive with cream cheese icing, according to many fans. (There are people who would rather eat slugs than carrot cake. You know who you are.) There was cream cheese icing between the layers of this one, but the outside was just a general sugar icing. The kind of overly-sweet icing that feels like pure cocaine injected into your eyeballs. Not that I’ve had that, but it feels like a jolt to the body in an unwelcomed intrusion.
Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t bad. The cake itself was quite nice. There were just enough raisins. The density of the cake was just right, with just enough carrot. The icing was not the icing on the cake though.
I was taken aback but not surprised that at the tail end of the night, when the house had finally cleared out and I was washing up glasses, I found the cake box left behind with more than a third of the cake sitting quietly. Waiting. Orphaned. I adopted it.
Yes, carrot cake needs cream cheese icing. Yes, the sugar icing was like a bad Disney movie. Yes, it was quite small for the price she paid (even with a Groupon). But essentially the expectations didn’t match the reality and it was abandoned in my kitchen.
This worked too well for me, unfortunately. That was the week of the month that I become a sugar vampire (but not with glittery skin). I finished the cake, nibbling away over the week. I’m not ashamed to admit it. Not so much of the icing. But my expectations were different.