If you’re anything like me, you RELISH the thought of hosting a small gathering of friends. Such was the case when I offered to host a table at our church’s Valentines by Candlelight.
I could SEE the table in my mind. Burgundy Damask tablecloth. Twin octagonal glass pitchers full of cranberry punch, pouring into sky-blue (naturally) stemless wine glasses. Even sky-blue mints in the not-so-matchy cut-glass candy dishes. And all of that surrounding a glass cake pedestal, which would proudly hold the glorious, handcrafted Black Forest Cake.
PRIDE GOES BEFORE THE FALL, RIGHT?
While it WAS great fun to go shopping for the table-hosting, what was NOT SO FUN, was trudging through SNOW STORMS and their aftermath to do it. I had anticipated going from store to store, and the thrill of the hunt was part of the fun and excitement! I’d even scheduled a coffee date with a new friend, just so I could get a little advice, since this was my first Valentines by Candlelight.
The big day was fast approaching. After the second round of endless store-hopping in the snow, I received a text from an angel named Donna. Donna asked me if I would like to sit at her table for the event. (Yes, I would LOVE to, but I already have a table I am hosting.)
One friend was joining me, and I had been preparing a table for eight – just in case someone needed a place to sit. I was also doing a five-minute devotion for the program. If I could just focus on the Black Forest Cake and the devotion, well, that would be a HUGE weight off my shoulders.
After some back and forth, YES, I WOULD sit at Donna’s table – with my friend – and I would still make the dessert I had been dreaming about for weeks.
SO, WHAT WAS THE FALL?
That Black Forest Cake.
Three carefully-cut layers of chocolate sponge cake, each coated with cherry syrup, layered in cherries that had been soaking in kirschwasser (cherry brandy), spread with kirsch-infused whipped cream, sprinkled with grated bittersweet chocolate, and studded with even more brandy-soaked cherries.
The problem? The instructions said to be generous with the cherry syrup, going edge to edge. The edges and middle were covered, but evidently not generously enough. Dry, dry, dry.
The cherries, however, were anything BUT dry. Perhaps they had soaked far too long in their little drunken bath. A tad bitter.
Upon slicing the cake that I had waited weeks to unveil, the assembled layers practically laughed as they slid apart. WHEE!
EVER THE GRACIOUS HOSTESS
Donna politely went around to the guests at her tables, offering up slender slices of chocolate and orange cakes, while I was in tow, offering up great HUNKS of my once-stellar (in my mind) Black Forest Cake. It was so dry, it simply refused to be cut into ladylike portions!
Donna smiled the whole time and thanked me profusely. She would NOT let me crawl under a rug over a silly cake!
I LOVE YOU, DONNA! You are a truly wonderful friend. You are elegant effervescence, and you are my newest hero! Thank you for everything, my angel.
ON A MUCH CHEERIER NOTE
Today is Valentine’s Day. My Valentine and I started the day with our morning coffee and devotions! How many women can say that? (YOU, I pray!) I am blessed. More blessed than I deserve.
Thank you, Lord, for my dear husband, Lance!