Most of my friends and family will have seen my brief description of how to make a Marriage Cake on Facebook this morning as I wrote a post wishing my long-suffering Stressed Husband a Happy 25th Anniversary. I’d written it quickly but the sentiments were all there. So, as my mind began wondering about what to write to mark this huge occasion in my life, I decided to go back to that cake analogy, with a few extra steps to help make the recipe just right…
- Before you start your Marriage Cake, you need to be certain you really, really want it. Don’t go in half-baked else it will never work. You’ve got to want that cake more than you’ve wanted any other kind of cake before.
- When you decide that the Marriage Cake is for you, there will be a lot of people wishing you luck and wondering deep down whether you’re a good enough blend to actually go the distance. I mean, we met in sunny Australia, having the time of our lives with no responsibilities while travelling. And I guess, with me being a full-on party girl, and him being a jack-the-lad Essex Boy, you only need to look at last year’s Love Island to know that sometimes those sun, sea, infatuation, young bodies and extra strength stamina are the perfect ingredients for a Holiday Romance Cake – but a Marriage Cake? That’s going to take more than a few nights of spice to keep it going let me tell you!
- You’ve started, but will you finish? After a few years, those who doubted your baking prowess may eventually begin to see that although you went in a bit gung-ho, not really thinking of the consequences of what making such a huge cake means, they realise that you actually work very well as a team. And even though you may not have had what constitutes as a substantial filling – we had a tiny flat with equally tiny salaries – you need to know that you’ll put whatever you have into that big bowl and work damn hard to get it right.
- Expect the unexpected. Extra sweetness may pop up when you’re not planning on it – hello first child! And then, as you adjust to the strange new flavour – the sleepless nights, the extra cost, the over-time required and the lack of time for just the two of you – you decide you actually love it. We popped out another two children and they made the taste better than ever! Before you know it, that cake is getting big and it’s definitely a whole lot more colourful than you would ever imagine it would be.
- The soggy bottoms. There will be plenty of these as the years go on. Just when you feel you’re beginning to get the hang of this baking lark – three kids in good schools and going up the ladder with careers and house sizes – along comes a soggy bottom and knocks you back down. Soggy bottoms come along in the form of all sorts of things, such as tax bills, serious arguments, family illnesses and worries, fluctuating house prices, house moves and renovations, menopause madness, health scares and job losses. Sometimes you think that the cake isn’t ever going to recover when its bottom is so soggy – you wonder whether it’s worth even trying to invest time and effort into it. Wouldn’t it be better to just dump it in the bin and say ‘times up?’
- Getting the hang of it. Once you realise that there’s no way you are going to take away or interfere with any of the ingredients you’ve worked so hard to mix into that cake, it begins to look a bit better. In fact, chances are that the wobbly shape and hard-wearing texture it takes on over the years, seems to taste even nicer than at the beginning of your cake journey. No matter how many batterings it has had, It’s softer, mellower and all the flavour is still there.
- The best cake ever! The fact that the Marriage Cake has been so hard to bake – and has taken so blooming long – you can’t help but step back and admire your handy work as you retrieve it gently, from the oven. It may not be perfectly formed, but it’s perfect to you. And as you look at it closely, you realise that it has taken more than just two Master Chefs to make it – it has taken a whole host of loving friends and family bakers who have added their own special seasoning to it.
- So, 25 years on it’s time for us to take stock and have a talk as we go out on our ‘date night’ this evening, to remember why we are here together in the first place. We’ll discuss the Marriage Cake, of course, and I am sure we will put it back in the oven to continue to bake, but before we do, we’ll remember to add just another sprinkling of the most important ingredient of all – love. Better pop to Sainsburys and stock up – we’ll be needing plenty of it for the next 25 years ahead!
Let me know if you’ve any more tips to keep that Marriage Cake tasty and if you want to hear more about my up coming writing projects and get the lowdown on the products, services and glow-getters I recommend for helping us staying fabulous beyond 50, please subscribe to my newsletter and follow my blog!