I am in a baking frenzy. There is a flour tornado in my kitchen as I open up self-raising, plain and gluten free flour and bag after bag of sugar. The KitchenAid mixer is maxed out and I am juggling four recipes whilst desperately channeling Bree Van de Kamp and trying to remind myself that I used to be a pastry chef in a country house hotel. Where did all this anxiety come from? In my stressed state I have already cleaned my teeth with Savlon not toothpaste and had a run-in with the oven door. What is there to fret about? After all, all I have to do is bake a few cakes for the launch of my Cosy Cake Club.
I think it’s the Red Velvet Cake which tips me over the edge. This is a serious cake, big enough to go catastrophically wrong. A rich and divinely decadent cake which requires 4 perfect layers of dense, luxurious chocolate sponge, topped and filled with cream cheese frosting heaven. The kind of cake big enough to knock out a burglar!
And what if no one turns up?
But come 11 a.m on the 25th February the door bell just kept ringing, until eventually I have 20 sassy, bright, excited ladies in my studio; all of them fired up with joy and enthusiasm for this new social group. And wonder of wonders, everyone just loves the cakes, the chat and the company. I stand back and hear the buzz of excitement which resounds through the house and I realise that these women feel empowered today. They are ready for anything, up to starting something new, happy to be in a space which is dedicated to them.
I brush the flour from my face and start to plan the next months Cosy Cake Club date which is just before Easter…..it just has to be soft, doughy hot cross buns, fragrant with spices. It’s going to ok 🙂
One happy Jack Russell! Congrats on a successful day!
Thank you so much Lucy Lulu. It was such a great day and everyone loves Jewel, the Jack Russell x
Congratulations….and the little dog sums it all up!!!
Thank you Johanna. I sent you a Christmas card with Jewel on…I do hope it reached you x
Divine. This feels like a lovely chapter of a book. Hint….
I can only write about 300 words at a time. It would be a very short book 🙂
Aha! Then you may be on to something. Add your pictures and voila!
The very, very short story 🙂
Oh Karen!!! I am laughing and crying all at once as I read and see God’s genius plan for you blossom and unfold! You were made for exactly this! To bring a huge blessing of love , joy, inspiration and friendship to your community! CHEERS!!!♡♡♡♡
You are so nice! And really, if I can achieve that, then I will be fulfilled. I knew that I had something left to do. And this is it. I was so amazed to see how providing the right, caring environment opened up a really big need in everyone. I always felt that in my business, that I did not feel that there were many places to go where there would be a warm welcome and where people really cared. I do worry about the way that things have changed so fast. My Grandma was born in 1901. Sadly, she is no longer alive, but she would not recognise how we all live now. Life was so simple for her, with fewer choices and she lived in a hamlet where she knew everyone. In fact, when I could not sleep she and I would count and name all our neighbours. I wanted to get back to that way of life really and make a place where people could just be and take a breath.
Also, do you remember me telling you about the neighbour who I could not seem to make a friendship with or help. Well, I wrote her a very caring , long letter at Christmas. I enclosed my Christmas wish for her, which was that her husband might return. He has in fact returned and they are trying to work things out. She hugged me the other day! Now when I spoke to you before I never ever imagined that would happen 🙂
God is using you as a match on fire to warm the whole house! Hooray!!! All it takes is one to make all the difference! And look at the difference Jesus made!!! Your letter was the work of the Holy Spirit to change her heart and see answers to prayer. That’s how God works. A kind and daring thought pops into your head and it’s hard to know where it came from. But if it is kind and daring then know it was God. The other day on my walk I saw an Asian man pushing a slumped over man in a wheelchair across the street. They went up a short distance and parked on a flat cemented area off the sidewalk. I had the nudge to go speak to them. A part of me wanted to ignore and move on but this was a kind and daring thought so I knew it was the Holy Spirit nudging. I walked over to them and said my God wanted me to commend him for his love and kindness in caring for his father. He said “Dog?” Iaughed and said “No. My God. Do you know Jesus?” The younger one said yes. Both he and his relative in the
The wheelchair. The younger is Simon. The wheelchair bound, Peter. We joked. I said whenever he speaks he can end with Simon says. “-) I blessed them in the name of Jesus. The said I made their day and they blessed me. I said thank you, I receive your blessing. I bowed and went on my way. What a great gift God had in store for us all!
what a lovely idea, this cosy cake club, exactly the right thing for you, Karen. Everything looks wonderful and beautiful, not to mention the cakes which look overwhelming. Just looking at them makes me slobber and lick the screen. Good luck and success for the next cosy cake club. I’m more than sad that I cannot join it, sigh, Mitza
I am so laughing at your lovely message dear Mitza! Thank you. I so wish you could come too. I am so excited about the Easter one…and am planning what to make . Are you ok? It is cold here still, but I am gardening and getting old lady hands 🙂 x x
You have to bake a lot of cakes in egg-form, dear Karen or rabbit-form. I’m sure you know how to decorate the tables with wonderful Easter flowers and it will be a success, too. xxx
That cake looks really yummy! 😊
I need that cake in my belly! Yum!
As I finished reading you post here, I gotta say I was reminded of why it’s my high privilege to subscribe to your blog, Karen. It’s just plain fantastic! Your writing soothes me, for what ever reason. You’re a very good writer, and I mean that. But that’s not where it ends. Your photography is lovely. You could be a professional photographer, I think to myself some days. Yup, you’re really good at that too. And then there is the whole gardening thing, a hobby of mine that is just barely budding, but I find fascinating. You sure know your stuff on that account. But more than that, its the other things. The little things. You have a way of articulating what you mean, and making your corner of the world, and cyber space, seem quite attractive.
Anyways, I need cake now. Thanks for that!
After a day of hail storms and high winds, your message popped into my inbox and I smiled- a big round smile! Then I looked out into the garden and a ray of sunshine came from no where and lit up the hedgerow. And that is what happens when we feel that what we do is recognised and validated. It feels so good and its as if the sun comes out inside. I have been doing a bit of life rebuilding. My previous life being wiped out by this and that I set about doing something with what I had left. And what I had left was basically creativity.It did not seem enough at first. But now things are happening and getting better and I see that words and images are more than enough to work with. It is the same for you. Your voice, your words, your presence online is true, strong and unique. Thank heavens for blogging and gardening and cakes. Big, fat, 600 calories a slice cakes! I would bake you one with pleasure, to thank you for your kind and generous words.
How I wish I lived close enough to become a member! Maybe next time I cross the pond? But, in the meantime, you have inspired me to start something in my own little garden. Nothing so grand as yours, but a little afternoon tea and scones or tidbit. I do miss all the baking that I did for events at the farm…..
Thank you so much for your message Carolee. You have hit the nail on the head. I too have left a business behind where events, P.R and hospitality were an important part of my life. And I miss all that too. It would be good if you too could get some of what you used to do back again. The Cosy Cake Club meets every month. It is not impossible that if you ever cam to England you could visit. Although, I am quite a way from London, but only 2 and a bit hours from Bath 🙂 I love Bath and London too x
Nice that this started out very well, and that cake with cream cheese frosting, oh my gosh, yes. 😀
You are welcome at the Cosy Cake Club anytime! Do you still come to visit your friends in the North of the country? Please let me know how they are. I have been concerned.
Well, thank you! Unfortunately we have gone our separate ways, so I don’t know. Enough said about that. I am in the earliest stages of planning a trip and am trying to decide where to go, come fall, as always, my travel budget will be the deciding factor.
I am sorry to hear that. But good luck with your plans my travelling friend!
Of course you were nervous, you put so much of yourself into this! I’m thrilled it was an unmitigated success! Now you can take a deep breath and start working toward the next one.
Thank you Kerry. Time now to think of Hot Cross Buns! I think all that people know of them is the lightweight, artificially flavoured supermarket version. Mine have a real pastry cross. Baking with yeast is one of life’s great pleasures 🙂
Wow, I wish I lived nearby your club sounds like something I would love to join. As always everything looks beautiful and ohhhhh so yummmmy! Is that a little dog? I miss reading your blog:-) Need to find the time to stop by and see what you are doing. Hope to see your historical pansy flowers soon. Mine are hardining off outside soon to be planted:-)
I have so missed catching up with you! My pansies are a little sad. It rained here all winter and although they wer in a frame, they were unhappy. I think the frame meant they sometimes got too dry 😦 But I have ordered a special spray for them as suggested by the rhs
Me too:-)I am so excited to see what you do with them this spring/early summer. People coat them with sugar and decorate cakes with them. I may try muffins or cupcakes:-) I grew four trays hoping to save seed. We shall see-they are pretty darn tiny-lol
I know when they are in the garden they do not like to dry out or be in direct sun. I found out if you dead head them they will last all season. I did not know that years past:-( Last summer-I tried to keep them going but they were in fullsun and I did not water them as often as I should of in the garden. I look forward to see what colors I get each year:-)
Brilliant! I presume you know about the British http://clandestinecakeclub.co.uk/ ?
It sounds that you had a lovely day & your huge cake looks stunning & so appetizing too!
Dear Karen may I ask if the Cosy Cake Club is still running. I came for a little while at the beginning and had a lovely time. If so please could you let me know when. Many thanks Tina.x
Hello Tina. Please accept my apologies for my terribly late reply. I have not been writing on my blog due to a whole miss mash of reasons.
Are you well? You are so very missed by myself and another friend in the village. I stopped doing the Cosy Cake Club, but did email you a few times but had no reply. It would be lovely to be back in touch again.
I think I may have pressed the button to send before I was ready. It is just wonderful to see your blog. What a caring, special lady you are. I have missed all the lovely get togethers with the ladies in the village and yes a lady whom I struck up a good friendship with and I have always wondered whether she finished giving her home a makeover, which she said it so needed and felt inspired to do so after meeting at the Cosy Cake Club. I too have had quite a lot going on since moving here and have found it hard to settle, but hopefully I am getting there. Please keep in touch and let me know of anything happening etc. Love Tina. X
Dear Tina, please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org then we can arrange a chat to catch up. Love Karen x