A Baker’s Blissful Dream

Balmore Ruano | New University

I like to daydream. I enjoy the peace of mind that comes with daydreaming and the fact that I can think about whatever I want. My most recent daydream has revolved around cooking and baking. I blame the Food Network. I blame Ina Garten and all the dinner parties that she seems to throw together so effortlessly. I blame the fact that Giada De Laurentiis always has a cheery demeanor, her kitchen is so well-lit and is that the ocean that we can see outside her kitchen window?

I always loved the idea of being a great baker and making scrumptious treats. Whenever I go into the store Anthropologie, I ignore the clothes and purses and head straight for their plates, dishes and measuring cups. Yes, measuring cups. Don’t worry, they are unique and dainty measuring cups; some look like flowers, others look like ladybugs and all look like they want me as their owner.

While I do have a basic skill level when it comes to cooking and baking, I have yet to create the environment and end product that I always envision.

My most recent baking daydream is as follows:

Obviously, I’m a master pastry chef. I walk into my kitchen, which  has an ocean view (thanks, Giada) and I put on some Yanni to listen to and proceed to gather ingredients, roll out dough and put things in the oven. Then, in the midst of all this floating around, I fail to notice there’s flour on my face because I’m so committed to baking (and vanity should always take a backseat when the art of baking is at stake). My baked goods end up being much too beautiful to be eaten and should be photographed. Maybe some flash photography will do their just-right flakiness and texture some justice.

What’s funny about my baking daydream (other than the fact that, after actually thinking about it, I realize it may be a tad bit dramatic) is that I assume that by baking, I will automatically gain more of an understanding about life. Seems like a good deal, right? Existentialism and cupcakes, with extra frosting.

They say to make a dream into reality you have to take action, so I decided to bake in real life and to create a calm, peaceful atmosphere while doing it.

I decided to start baking around 11:30 p.m. because everything was quiet and potential distractions were at a minimum. Being a baking-daydream enthusiast, naturally I had a cupcake recipe book on my bookshelf. I flipped through it and when I saw it I knew: rose water and raspberry cupcakes. This was it; this was the cupcake recipe that would serve as the vehicle to transport me into my real-life baking daydream.

Before I started measuring out ingredients, I put on some Yanni. That’s one detail of my daydream I made real. I was excited because this set the peaceful environment that I wanted. I then started gathering ingredients and measuring them out, careful to get the measurements as exact as possible. I was on a roll, feeling good, going through the recipe and then I realized I didn’t get any baking powder out. I looked in the pantry and in all the cabinets; I started to get tired because I even opened the freezer to look for it — twice.

Glancing at the time on the microwave, it was almost a quarter past midnight and I began to freak out a bit. My stream of thought was something like this:

“I cannot believe that one teaspoon of baking powder is what’s ruining what’s supposed to be an enlightened midnight baking experience. And do people still borrow cups of sugar or, in this case, baking powder from their neighbors? I know it’s late,but it’s important!”

After freaking out for however long, I decided I would just bake the next day after going to the grocery store. Such a simple solution, but when your daydream is in jeopardy of coming true I guess you’re allowed to have a dramatic episode.

The next morning I bought the baking powder and was ready to start anew. I realized that the night before I was too set on making everything align with my daydream that it was too easy to get worked up if things didn’t line up the way I wanted. I decided that while my daydream was delightful, I just wanted to enjoy baking and if the end result was delicious then I would be happy.

Instead of trying to create the most relaxing kitchen, I ended up blasting one of my personal favorite bands, The Maine (I may have thrown some One Direction songs in the mix too, I’ll confess) and got to work following the recipe. The rose water and raspberry cupcakes came out pretty good; they smelled wonderful and were moist and crumbly, and the vanilla cake went perfectly with the rosewater glaze and raspberry garnish. I was pleased with myself.

The end product was delicious and I got to dance around my kitchen and pretend to sing in a British accent.

Reality was wonderful.