A few years ago, I participated in a dessert competition. Now, I'm not normally one for entering competitions unless I feel highly motivated to prove myself, or I really think I can win it. Overall, I'm not one to seek out a competition just for the thrill of it (unlike other family members). This is probably the reason I always hated team sports, but I digress. I know I am a good cook and baker, and I normally wouldn't feel any particular desire to publicly prove it. If it wasn't for one thing, and one thing only. I despised the person running the event.
I am not usually a vindictive person. Well, no more so than anyone else, I suppose. This person, however, had gotten under my skin in too many ways and for too long a period of time. She decided to hold an event within the organization we were involved in at the time solely for promoting herself. She was one of those self-important people who seems to enjoy lording their own lofty (usually perceived) position over others. Even when they really have no status to claim. She also turned out to be someone who liked to talk poorly about others behind their backs, yet was perfectly pleasant and rather friendly to that same persons' face. I am not sure what I ever did to wind up on the malicious side of her. I try to treat people with respect until they show they are not to be respected or trusted. I like to give folks the benefit of the doubt. Yet I also know that I have no tact, and often say things that people take poorly even if they are not intended that way. Maybe this was just one of those times. Or maybe she was just an unpleasant little person and jealous or feeling unconsciously threatened by me. I will never know.. At the time, this event seemed like she was attempting to make others look bad so she shone in the light brighter than any other people.
As a way to shine even brighter than the celestial bodies themselves, the theme of her event was determined to be "Angels," which really had not a single thong in common with the organization at the time except in a peripheral fashion. If you were to squint a lot. Needless to say, her decision to hold this event rankled me, and I decided to do something about it. Part of her event was to have a dessert competition, also under the theme of "angels," where the attendees would choose their favorite tasty delight. Hah! I can do this, I decided, with just a wee bit of mischievous calculation. I combed my recipes for ideas, and felt disgust and disdain over the very idea of an angel food cake or anything remotely of the sort. This sublime dessert needed passion, depth, and lust rather than the traditional image of the lightest, airy, confection.
Then it hit me. Devil's Food Cake. Only I would infuse the cake with the richest dark (almost bitter) chocolate flavor rather than the pale, flat flavor of many a Devil's Food Cake. Rather than any traditional icing, I chose the style of a German Chocolate Cake, with a rich toasted coconut and toasted pecan frosting, where the pecans had been laboriously sliced in the perpendicular to resemble an angel's wings. It was a stroke of genius. I wanted my audience to feel as though they were being corrupted by even tasting a morsel of my divinely inspired dessert. I wanted to show off what an awesome baker I can be. I wanted to rub her nose in it and steal some of the glory she was trying to take all for herself. I called it my "Fallen Angel Cake," and it was glorious.
As I walked up to where the event was being held, I apparently caught her eye. She had been unaware up until that point, that I would be attending. It was not my usual type of event to go to, so it was a good assumption on her part. However, as I said, I wanted to put her down a peg, even if it was just to make her uncomfortable by my presence. I wanted her to even *try* to argue that my entry could not be allowed because it didn't fit into her predefined idea of what was acceptable. As I told her about my lovely Fallen Angel Cake, I could see her struggling to find a way to deny my entry. Her better judgement (or the realization that I would probably shame her publicly in some way) won out, and my entry was approved. I am sure she felt I didn't have a possibility of winning, so what would it hurt?
Apparently the bulk of the attendees felt so enlightened and moved by my fallen angels' passion, they voted my dessert the most noble honor of best tasting at the event. The woman putting on the event who apparently had no sense of humor was deflated by the wicked temptation of my offering, to which I found myself the owner of the most fiendish satisfaction. It pleased me greatly to watch her have to publicly congratulate me (and give me a small token for a prize) for my winning delight. Her words came out slowly, as though having to pass over a great blockage in her throat (the crow, maybe?). I felt vindicated by my win, and pleased to have my skills in the kitchen justified and enjoyed. That afternoon, my greatest pride was not in bursting her well-filled bubble of hot air, but in the plate cleaned of all but a few crumbs.
What makes me recount this story to you all? Well, today is my birthday, and I felt the need to indulge in a little devilish sweet delight for my birthday cake. So I am making another Fallen Angel Cake for the family to enjoy with me.