On Baking Pound Cakes

I have never been much of a cook or a baker. I found my speciality is appetizers…you know the kind that take three ingredients and at tops 10 minutes to make? That was more my speed.

But during Christmas and around the holidays, I find that I can slow down enough to not have a panic attack at recipe that reads Prep Time: 1 hour Total Time: 3 hours and 15 minutes. In my regularly scheduled life, at least for now, there’s not any time for a recipe that takes more than 25 minutes, but this week there has been.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t have a lot still going on, but with the stress of school and the time I spend commuting to school out of my weekly schedule, there is some wiggle room to add some home cooked meals.

In particular, I have been baking pound cakes. The first was for my ordination service. While I thought my husband and I had received a pound cake pan (which is why I chose to make a pound cake), I found that it was actually a springform cheesecake pan with recipe attached…did I mention I don’t bake much? He set off on a three store 45 minute expedition to find the pan for me and when he returned, I discovered we still had a pan that we had borrowed from a friend…no really I don’t bake at all.

I found this recipe and got to work. It turned out great. In fact, I might even say that it was indeed the perfect pound cake as the recipe suggested. It’s interesting how doing something that you don’t do often and you know you don’t do all that well and succeeding can change your demeanor and your interactions with other people, isn’t it?

The pound cake was for our church’s 10 year anniversary. For me, walking into the church having contributed something edible to the feast was wonderful. Seeing that people were actually choosing it over some of the other desserts was even more amazing.

If I’m honest with myself, I don’t really try things or engage in activities in which I know I am not successful, but part of my thinking is that if you don’t try something more and more, then you can’t get better ever. If I avoid cooking and baking, then there’s no way that I can get in the 10,000 hours Malcolm Gladwell suggests someone needs in order to be an expert in his book Outliers: The Story of Success. And the same is true for my writing. I can’t hope to be a good writer or to have people who actually read my thoughts here without sitting down and doing that every day. No matter how long. No matter how bad.

The very next time I made a pound cake, half of the cake stuck in the pan while the other slid out. (I’m going to blame the borrowed pan that I used instead of the nice shiny one my husband hunted down for me!) But that’s how it’s going to go when you start out. Sometimes it’s going to turn out perfect and sometimes it’s going to stick in the pan, but you’ll never know unless you try.

Excuse me, my re-do pound cake is ready to take out of the oven!