Valentine’s Day is this month. It’s a little bit of a controversial holiday, in a much less important sense than say, Columbus Day. It’s a more individualistic controversy. Those who aren’t in a relationship feel the pressure and emptiness of being alone. Those who are in a relationship, feel the pressure of perfection and living up to a non-existent bar that they, their partner, or society has created. Sounds crummy.
But, I love Valentine’s Day. I also love Halloween. Maybe there’s a candy theme going on here. But more than that, love is nice. I remember being in school and getting and giving cards. Getting cards from other kids that weren’t exactly friends made me feel good inside. Everyone gets lonely at school. There are a lot of groups that stick together, and despite not necessarily wanting to be in that group, it’s hard to feel like you don’t belong anywhere. So, receiving cards from people here and there, people from other walks, made me feel like I mattered. They saw me, and although we weren’t friends, we understood that as human beings, we share something.
In fourth grade, I was sick and not in school for a couple months. During the second month of my time at home, I went with my mom to the school for a little bit to pass out Valentine’s cards I had made for everyone. I was happy to get out of the house for a while. When we walked into the classroom, everyone jumped up, excited to see me. Hearing their voices all chattering about me, asking me if I was ever coming back, made my heart glow. In fact, thinking about it sparks that little glow even now. I didn’t spend much time with anyone in particular, and there were definitely a few classmates who I resented for pulling my hair or getting better grades than me. But despite our differences, I felt like they genuinely cared about me.
Maybe it was because it was a small town, and a very small school. I’m not saying that made it a pleasant place. I absolutely hated school every second. I have never missed it. I’ve never thought that it would be great to see everyone again. But, at least in that moment, I felt loved by those around me.
So, I guess what I’m saying is, we don’t need to have a partner to experience love. Romance is cool, but love is something different. As my husband and I grow closer in our marriage, we’re learning how love is a long-term project that we work on together. We aren’t always on the same page, but as long as we communicate with each other, we can find each other’s heart. I think the same goes for all personal interactions. Don’t stress about dinners and cards. Send love, whatever that means to you.
Valentine’s Day also means lots of pink and flowers. Add cake to that mix, and you’ve won my heart!
I can’t stop making this cake. Partially because every one I made just broke apart, but when I finally got the right recipe and technique down, I just want to keep rolling!
It’s so fun to cut through this fluffy log and get a perfect slab of swirl.
I foolishly thought I could figure this cake out on my own. I thought, “it’s just a rolled up cake”. Nope. After three separate attempts to roll a thick, sticky cake that resulted in three very sad, saggy, broken piles of chocolate (and after a time out to gather my composure), I finally searched for a cake recipe that was meant to be rolled. My husband had very gently asked if I had tried that after my third flop. He’s good at making suggestions that make me think it was my idea from the start. Still, I always resist because I like to solve problems on my own!
This recipe is small and light. I think it’s considered a sponge cake? It uses so little flour, that I even ventured to swap the white flour with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free flour. And it worked so well! I mean it! Perfectly fluffy and perfectly rolled. I’d made the first one for my shoot and said I was DONE making rolled cakes. Then, I made another one the next day because it was just SO CUTE.
Cute makes me happy. And pink, and blue, and purple, and chocolate, and cake, and flowers, and love.