My Imperfect American Beauty


Valentine's Day American Beauty Cake by Felicity Aspden
I’ll be honest with you – I didn’t expect the majority of my Valentine’s Day to revolve around something as insignificant as problematic buttercream. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not a die-hard romantic, I wasn’t anticipating a meticulously planned journey to the very depths of my heart, fluffy bouquets and heart-shaped steaks littering the excursion like predictable road signs; turn left, sigh in disbelief, cry tears of joy, warning: danger ahead. I had a chilled day in mind, bumbling around in my yeti-like slippers and haphazardly cooking a cake until it ended up snowballing out of control. I had this idea in my head of making an amazing American Beauty cake covered in roses. Anyone who thinks this is a sweet Valentine’s gesture to my boyfriend is completely wrong; he’s lactose intolerant. No, this cake was entirely selfish. I wanted to test out my hit and miss baking skills and finally pop my cake decorating cherry. It was also the perfect opportunity to let my obsession with tacky decorations loose; this is a part of me that I have to keep on a really short leash. Otherwise, my flat would be covered in sofa’s the shape of lips and telephone’s that look like lobsters.

Valentine's Day American Beauty Cake by Felicity Aspden

Three manic trips to the shops, clearing the whole of Waitrose of their red food dye (I’m sorry Valentine’s bakers, I really am) and four batches of buttercream later, I finally ended up with this. My imperfect American Beauty. Yes, the roses are different sizes and a little lopsided. Yes, there may be an inedible amount of red food dye in it but god, does it taste good. Well, it did taste good until I wielded my knife and cracked the heart in two, eating half of it in two days. Now it’s sitting sadly in my kitchen, being ignored as I avert my eyes every time I go in there. You know when you eat too much of something, and even the sight of it makes you feel a bit sick? We’ve all been there. Also, I just need to take this opportunity to say how moist this cake was, I know people hate that word but I need to use it. My prior baking experience has all been attempts at lifting my moods through the power of flour, and I’m beginning to think the cakes were absorbing my sadness. They all seemed to burn around the sides and stay molten in the middle, a massive dome-like top hardening to the point where I thought I’d need a saw to hack it off. They were all so sad and dry. Now I’m happier, my cake is moist? It’s a weird analogy. One of those things that probably sounds better in my head.

Valentine's Day American Beauty Cake by Felicity Aspden

I feel like people tend to love or loathe Valentine’s Day, personally speaking, I’m not that fussed about it. I have the same thoughts about New Year’s Eve, everything is hyped up beyond recognition, and there’s an abundance of expectations that don’t really need to be there. Luckily, my boyfriend and I are very similar in mentality and like to keep most things low-key. We made a decision to lounge around on the sofa in our faux fur blankets, order greasy pizza, calamari, cheesy potato skins and inhale all of it while watching Sausage Party. I love going out to eat and dressing up for the occasion as much as the next person, but I love watching the fairy lights guide my eyes to a ridiculous film on TV as I simultaneously guide a piece of takeaway pizza into my mouth more.

alentine's Day Polaroids by Felicity Aspden

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