Thursday, 17 September 2015

The recipe of Love.

Homemade Salted Caramels with Caramel Buttercream and chocolate cupcake

One part smiles, one part hugs, one part laughs and a dash of high fives with a spoonful of tears. This is my recipe with my friend Jackie.

Late last year just before Halloween we had our first “friend date” outside of work, previously many coffees had been had and we worked closely on a project at work for many months. In late October I remember watching outside on my deck as my husband and her son Dakota messed about with the fog machines we had been testing for our Halloween display.
And then began the journey with the next sentence:

Strawberry Cupcakes with local strawberries

“His after school care worker found lumps in his neck….” The conversation swayed between being worried and us both agreeing it was probably nothing. Biopsy was in a few weeks and there didn’t seem to be a ton of concern.

Then came the afternoon of the Biopsy. As soon as I saw her name on the call display my heart jumped to my throat.

 I couldn’t make out much of what she said between crys but the word “Leukemia” rang through my ears. My heart deep in my throat quietly cracked. "Its going to be ok....." was all I could say.
Peanut butter and chocolate cupcakes

Jackie and Dakota were whisked off to BC Children’s hospital. The following week after the first round of chemo I took a trip over. Before I left I text her to see if I could bring anything. Clothing? Blankets? Games? 
The text message returned read “No; however Dakota has asked for a special request, your cake pops.”

Lemon Meringue 

DONE!  I was up late that night with joy as my mixer buzzed and the heat of the oven hit my eyelashes as I opened it to put in my precious batch of cake destined to make a little boy happy.

Fast forward a few weeks I lay wide awake at 3am as you do sometimes, staring into the great black abyss and pondering the human condition, my life and cancer… stupid cancer was all I could think. I thought about how Jackie was not going to be able to work.. and all the expenses she was going to have. What could I do? Organizing large fundraisers seemed intimidating… I thought about just giving her part of my pay cheque.. I thought about finding community resources… then I smiled as I reflected on my trip to BC Childrens that day and how funny it was how people peered with wide eyes into my cake carrying case.  I was stopped by the ticket lady at the Ferry desk and I gave her one. People as I was waiting to load off the boat… so I gave them one.. and people as I sat on the bus. BIG SMILES as they looked at the treats and uttering the words.. “ I love cake” “ Can I buy one?” and suddenly it dawned upon me.
Black Forrest Cupcakes with cherry filling
I can bake… maybe I could do bake sales? Once a month? Why not once a week? People buy treats at the store EVERY week.. if they could eat cake every week instead AND help someone.. MAYBE that will work! ( at 3am… way past my 11pm “ no life decisions or quilting deadline”)

So I got to it. I didn’t ask anyone to join me… its for me completely. I get joy out of whizzing around the kitchen and planning what I will do the following week. Its been challenging and hardly feels like work.  I've grown as a baker of cupcakes in the past year. I stopped using box mixes and started making them all from scratch. Which is SUPER EASY and the taste is waaaaaaay better let me tell you. Jackie and my friendship has blossomed from friends to forever friends.I told her I baked and bought her friendship for life her response " Ah really?? I give that shit away for free" 

Shark week themed cupcakes

My brave little cancer kicking ninja warrior is still fighting the good fight.. and I am still making cupcakes. I have ended up organizing many other fundraisers but the cakes are a constant.
If you want to learn more about him and follow along in the journey and experience:
triple chocolate cupcakes

Fuck you cancer. We will win AND eat our cake too.