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  • michelle grierson

In praise of the peculiar:

Updated: Dec 12, 2020

WEIRD CAKES AND THE SEARCH FOR FAERY FOLK



We have a tradition in our home: anytime there is a special occasion - birthday, holiday, Halloween (my personal favourite), or a great report card - I bake a weird dessert. By 'weird' I mean, a flavour no one would consciously choose; it's a combination of ingredients that will make your eyebrows raise, maybe even cause a bit of a shiver. I love surprises, pushing the edges of what's possible. Thankfully, I have a circle of family and friends who are willing to join the madness and taste these crazy concoctions. For those that don't know me, I am what you would call a 'stress-baker'. The first half of my life, I spent avoiding anything to do with a kitchen or food preparation; I hated to cook, period. But then, life imploded (or rather, I imploded my life), and despite my best efforts, none of my usual coping strategies worked. That's when I discovered the joy of the weird cake.


The first time I did this, it was a beet goat's cheesecake (thank the gods for coconut whipped cream - the saviour of cakes). The next time, it was some kind of chocolate mint cashew nut thing, sans sugar. Most recently, it was a strawberry spinach cake, and avocado ice cream (with a white chocolate 'pit', dipped in dark chocolate). Now to be clear, the photos are NOT a good representation of the taste; I am a terrible cake decorator. (A friend once told me, "if the cake looks good, it usually tastes like sh*#!). I try not to worry when the top layer completely slides off the bottom layer, or when the icing squishes out from the middle layer. I simply trust that it will taste great.


I like the exhilaration of that leap of faith, the excitement and anticipation of making the seemingly impossible, a reality. Never, not even once, do I falter in my belief that something magical can and will happen, especially when it's a homemade concoction, baked out of love. It is a magical alchemical process: a transformation of ordinary ingredients into something wondrous..... Having faith seems to be the key to such risk taking. Failure could happen I suppose, but I don't really think about it; the leap IS the point.


Ever heard of the flipped saying, 'believing is seeing'? It's akin to my faith in magic, in my certainty of faeries: the belief must happen first, before the wondrous can show itself.

That's a law of the universe that I don't even consider testing. It just IS.


One of these days, I will set out a piece of cake for the faery folk, in gratitude and appreciation.

They leave us signs of their existence, little gifts just for us. My son took the photo on the left - he took several shots that show this flying orb, dancing at different heights in the sunbeams.

The leaf (on the right) was perfectly placed in the centre of the rock, after we built a large stone heart at the base of a grove of trees... I still wonder how it got there.


I love these little surprises; they keep me in awe, reminding me that leaps of faith are the secret ingredient to joy. And to making great cakes.




Our forest, a haven for magic







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