The Icing on the Cake

The cakes were lacking, in Eliza’s opinion, but she grudgingly accepted the compliments which were most forthcoming.

Her baked items were arranged according to flavours, similar colours grouped together. Smallest sizes on the left, largest on the right leading to the glorious spectacle of a giant, four tier cake that had sugarpaste lillies cascading down its smooth, white face.

Her stall was visually stunning. Flowers, beads and bows accentuated the soft curves of the piped icing, polished silver serving plates allowed the cakes to be reflected back, giving the impression of abundance. 

Eliza was grateful for the indoor market on a day of torrential rain. She hardly expected any attendees, but she was pleased to see the opppsite occur and she had sold enough to cover her pitch fee and her costs. Anything from here on was profit.

She was sitting quietly during a five minute lull, remembering how she truly detested baking for her boss. Everything trendy and popular at the moment, was vintage and quirky and kitsch.

Keeping the bakery so singular was boring but it wasn’t like she could go anywhere else. Her contract had her locked in for another six months excepting some form of gross misconduct. 

As an artist by trade, her work and sugarcraft was beyond the normal realms of fondant coverings and Wilton icing pens. Her showstopper last Christmas was a glittering, white peacock that topped a large rum and fruit cake.  The attention to detail, the display of the peacocks tail and the delicate twist of its neck earned her several awards. 

Yet here she was at the church fete selling pretentious cupcakes with names like ‘I Lychee Lemons’ (aka Lychee and Lemon) and ‘Sloe Gin and Speedy c-Anteloupe’ (aka Gin and Melon). Frankly it was awful but she was under orders.

And her ‘uniform’ was beyond cringeworthy.Her red hair in tight pin curls against her scalp, her tea dress protected with her home made, pink polka dot apron, clashing with the brown paisley pattern on her clothes.

She watched carefully from her perch. The Father had taken a red velvet and raspberry cupcake and was greedily chomping away while speaking with the Mother Superior. There were about twenty nuns in a group eating a tray of cakes especially for them. 

They had been demure and polite at the start of the day, several hours later they were getting a bit more vocal. They giggled, whispered and Eliza swore she heard a rude joke at one point. The Mother Superior looked down her nose disdainfully at the younger ones, unaware of their inebriation.

Eliza’s grinned as she watched one of the girls stumble over her own feet and fall into the Father, cackling. Yes, the cakes were very special. Her orders were quite specific-keep one batch simple for the organisers and best to avoid aolcohol. 

She would argue that the stress of her workload caused a momentary lapse and that her red velvet and raspberry cupcakes were actually hiding a full measure of Chambord and berry vodka. Needless to say, the boss would be livid.

Eliza sat back smiling to herself, inhaling the sweet smell of freedom hidden in her creations.