Many of us go about our daily lives without ever thinking of cake. Me? Not so much.
It’s my favorite dessert, and I feel the need to speak up on behalf of its spongy goodness. Now, more than ever, I feel that cake is being left behind, exactly when we need it most. No one else seems to care this much about icing and baked batter, but I do.
It takes me back to my 19th birthday, when my mother succeeded in creating the flawless, layered gold found in Tres Leches cake. Or when, upon graduation from the International Baccalaureate program, my school provided a massive half-vanilla, half-chocolate cake with white and blue icing for the party. My aunt’s wedding cake was as delicious as it was elegant and tall. My greatest memories are with cake, and likely just like yours, they’re marked by one thing — celebration.
It’s time we left behind the archaic, nonsensical societal edifice that dictates that one must only eat cake during a time of celebration. I have grown older and wiser since my Ben 10-themed seventh birthday cake, and now I know there are some rules in this world that are meant to be broken.
You wouldn’t begrudge your roommate for enjoying a bowl of ice cream on any given night, would you? Why not cake? Ice cream and cake serve a similar purpose as desserts meant to be stored and slowly eaten away, making it perfectly reasonable to keep either in your kitchen at any point in time. Since cake serves the same goal as ice cream, and ice cream is socially acceptable, we need to normalize habitual cake eating as well. It’s the only way we will progress as dessert-eating Americans.
[Quarantine Obsession: An ode to biscoito de queijo and my grandmother]
If cake is too expensive to buy pre-made straight from the store, consider baking your own. It takes longer, of course, but it’s a fun experience that can be shared with those you live with. This way you can save money and customize it to your liking. I have friends who like chocolate cake and friends who like vanilla cake. Maybe you’re into ice cream cake. No matter your preference for this incredible treat, I won’t judge.
There are few among us who can honestly say that they don’t enjoy any form of cake whatsoever. The majority agrees: Cake is really yummy. But cake is more than just milk, eggs and sugar. It can hold a deeper meaning in our lives than just its taste.
The pandemic dug its claws even into the life of the casual cake enjoyer. Celebrations are, effectively, no more. For the foreseeable future, gone are the days of blowing out candles and crowding around to scream the happy birthday song. Furthermore, there’s been less to celebrate in the last year while people trudge through the murky filth of loneliness and pain during the pandemic. Since we haven’t truly had a reason to celebrate — and therefore eat cake — we must make our own celebrations.
The crux of the argument is thus: I can have my cake and eat it, too. I can literally put cake in my mouth and savor its flavor on my tongue, while metaphorically still having a layered cake full of all these positive emotions and nostalgia of celebrations past. All of these contextual memories that arrive with each forkful of cake can now be exploited for a dose of dopamine. We can even take it a step further and make our own little celebrations. When I eat cake now, I like to savor the good in my life in each bite. I ponder how blessed I am to have a full belly, good friends and a kind family.
[Step into spring with the 2021 National Cherry Blossom Festival]
Sometimes I’m grateful simply for how good it felt to have the sunshine kiss my skin on a nice day or how I had the spare time to watch a good movie during midterms. These new memories are forged on an icing-covered anvil, and they’ll persevere there until I think of such celebrations again while eating my next slice of cake.
Be free, everyone. It’s 2021, and while we live in a world of confusion, angst and loneliness, it is also a world of growing acceptance. There is light at the end of the tunnel, even if it’s a small light and fluffy cupcake. Celebrate the good things in life that we experience every day and eat a slice of cake. And if you disagree, you can enjoy your mediocre bowl of melted ice cream.