September 9, 2020. My son Tyler turns forty! My sister, Linda Sue, turns seventy! How did that happen?!
I’m all about the party. Preparations must be made. Cake! Champagne! Balloons! Dancing girls? Well, I’ve been known to toss a feather boa about…Okay, wait. Pandemic? So, no social gatherings. Oy vey!
I got a request from the birthday girl for a rich chocolate cake with raspberry filling. I decided to splurge and order from the world-famous Gayle’s Bakery in Capitola. Under the present regulations, I went to their website to order the cake well in advance of the forty-eight hour rule. The list of cakes included my favorite Princess Cake, a Chocolate Mousse Cake, German Chocolate, but no plain old Devil’s Food. Surely I missed it. I scoured the list again. Not there. Maybe I’m just not seeing it. I called the bakery. No answer. It was, after all, Labor Day weekend.
I tried again. And again. “Hello! I’d like to order a chocolate cake, please.”
She quipped, “I don’t take cake orders. Hold please.”
I waited. And waited. Finally, “How may I help you?”
I perked up. “I would like to order a chocolate cake for Wednesday.”
“You have to order online.”
“Yes, I tried that. I couldn’t find the chocolate cake so I’m calling.”
“If it’s not on the online menu we don’t have it.”
“I only see German Chocolate or Chocolate Mousse.”
“That’s right. That’s what we have this week.”
“So, I can’t get a regular chocolate cake ?”
“Not this week.”
“But I’m calling you directly. It’s five days away.”
“No chocolate cake this week. Sorry. Have a nice day.”
What??! Well, I’ll just have to call the other best bakery, The Buttery.
I went online to find the cake. There it is! Under the category of Brochure Cakes – “Our Favorite Chocolate Cake.”
Whew! Now to change it from ganache to raspberry filling…should be easy. But no, it cannot be done. I was instructed to go to “custom cakes” for that change. An additional fee will be charged.
This is absurd. I’m just gonna call them. Oh. It says right on the site “for any changes please send us an email. Do not call (there was no phone number anyway).”
I emailed the custom cake department with the request for the raspberry filling and the message to read “Happy 70th Birthday Jackie Rainbow-Gold.” I checked my email every fifteen minutes for a reply. No answer. I still had plenty of time. Patience. I checked the next day. Nothing. I resent the email. I still had four days.
Now the weekend was over and it was only a day before the big birthday. I went to the Safeway site. When my neighbor suggested that a few days ago I had a knee-jerk reaction. “No! No Safeway cake. They use Crisco!”
At one time, many years ago, I made cakes. My home-based company was called “Sweet Cakes.” I know a thing or two about cake. What I also knew was that I did not want to make this cake myself. I hung up my pots and pans ages ago.
I was getting desperate. I pulled up the Safeway order form. Sure enough there was a chocolate cake with raspberry filling. I entered the message. Too many letters! I couldn’t fit the name in. It MUST say Jackie Rainbow-Gold! It simply must.
Breaking out in a sweat I called the Buttery on Tuesday morning. I was panting as I explained the problem to the calm, friendly voice on the phone. She listened patiently while I explained about the email order. I’m glad she answered so I didn’t have to go stomping down to the bakery and do a hands-on-hips confrontation in the style of Grandma Gussie when she suspected her whitefish wasn’t fresh. “What’s your phone number?” she asked. I shouted it out, hoping my confidence would help accomplish the mission.
“Ah, yes, here is your order. The best thing to do is to cancel this one and start a new one which I will take over the phone. Your refund will come in forty-eight hours. What color writing would you like?”
I breathed a sigh of relief. Not five minutes later, and twenty-four hours before I was to pick up the cake, I got a text from my sister. “I’m so sorry, but I have to cancel. Health issues.”
My lips clamped shut into a thin line. No screaming. You can’t argue with an about-to-be seventy-year-old woman about health issues. I would just pick up the cake as scheduled, set it on my dining table, pull out a fork and pop the cork on the bubbly to go with it!
Besides, I was all set to watch my favorite movie, “Princess Bride,” for the fortieth time on my son’s fortieth birthday. If I couldn’t be with him to celebrate in person it was the least I could do in his honor. It was he who introduced me to the 1987 classic so many years ago.
The original cast, including Robin Wright and Cary Elwes, are streaming a reunion performance on Sunday, September 13 which I wouldn’t miss for the world.
Lucky me. My neighbor was able to join me for the cake and bubbly! Happy Birthday to all!