the crumb coat: a lesson from baking

16 Apr

listening to: the album, “one foot in front of the other” by hayley taylor

today, my mommy, who has her own baking business, posted a photo of some delightful spring muffins she had baked for a show. i expressed to my mom how much i wish she had some to send me, to which she replied “i only made enough for the order!” which made me respect my mommy’s self-control, because if i had baked those, i would have found a way to make a tiny extra muffin for myself. goes to show i’d probably be a bad business person. however, i am not here to explain how i wouldn’t make it in the business world, but to tell a story of a lesson i learned while helping my mommy in her bakery one long weekend. 

my mommy had tasked me with frosting an adorable cake, layer by layer to make an easy round cake for a customer. now, my mom has been making delicious and love-filled items all of my life – but i normally just watch and eat extras. but she had many orders, and now i am legally an adult, so i could handle the task of frosting a cake. right? 

well here is the thing, home baked and fresh cakes have a tendency to crumble. so while i was coating the lush cake with bright white buttercream frosting, the cake was crumbling into the frosting when i spread it. i was horrified and didn’t want to tell mom (remember what i said about legally being an adult… it’s only a legal thing still), so i just kept trying to do my best. i would spread lightly. spread on more icing. eventually, since mom is pretty scientific now about how much of each ingredient is needed to make a profit, i didn’t want to waste any more frosting. so i told her of how i was ruining the cake.

and she responded, “oh don’t worry, that’s just only the crumb coat,” and turned back to whatever she was working on. 

the crumb coat! capture up all of the cake crumbs in a hidden layer and then frost over that with the frosting that will face the world. i felt like i had an inner glance at the world and its secrets. no one would ever know that in order to produce a beautiful cake, the loose ends have to be tied up and covered up before its presentation. 

the concept of a crumb coat applies to a lot of things in life. the observer just does not know what has gone on, what struggles something has endured, or the changes that have been overcome in order to present itself to the world.

everyone and everything has a crumb coat. whether they are still being frosted or their crumbs have been hidden, we all have struggles and trials that we have gone through. so before you think you’re the better product, remember that you don’t know how much frosting has been added to the other’s cake.




p.s. i’m hungry for cake


One Response to “the crumb coat: a lesson from baking”

  1. Marilyn Niernberger April 17, 2013 at 5:59 pm #

    Annie, loved this article about baking and LIFE!! You are our special one! G

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