What to make for a friend who has good news and bad news

(White chocolate and macadamia nut ‘blondies’)

She breezed through my front door. I have good news! She said. And bad news.

The good news was that she had finally gotten her dream job. In spite of the bad news hovering like an elephant in the room, it was the good news that we wanted to celebrate and discuss. Afterall, how many people can really say they are working in their dream job?

I look around the carriage of my train some mornings and wonder why people look so sad or hurt and angry. It is as though someone has shouted in their ear and dragged them out of bed, scrubbed their face with soap, handed them a briefcase and pushed them out the door. I know I have days when I dread getting out of bed because the whole cycle begins, the moment your feet touch the floor. But it’s all we can do sometimes to try to stay afloat in a world drifting faster than we can manage. Stuffed into heavy suits and shiny shoes, we breathe in with forgotten lungs and tread water.

Because she and I were celebrating on one of those days when none of the above exists, I had to make a cake. Even though I don’t often bake with white chocolate, I know she loves it, and after making this, I could not stop myself from eating the trimmings. Leonor calls it a blondie, but I actually think it’s more of a cross between a cake and a blondie. It is light, but impossibly moist and truly celebrates the flavour of white chocolate like no other cake I’ve tasted.

Despite this, it looks deceptively like a functional cake, which the world is already filled to the rafters with. Functional cakes are the lubricant for social discourse between the hours of 10 and 11am or 3 and 4pm.

This is not a functional cake. It doesn’t facilitate discussion. It is a cake baked with words, and I hope she can hear it when she eats it. It says, I value your friendship. I’m sorry you’re having relationship issues at a time in your life when you are feeling ready to settle down and have children. I admire you. I am proud of your achievements. I hope to always be there for you.

(For Mel)

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  1. snookydoolde said,

    May 18, 2009 @ 10:01 pm

    Nice cake !

  2. Shellyfish said,

    May 18, 2009 @ 10:03 pm

    You’re really a wonderful friend. Sometimes I can’t find the words for my friends, and baking does seem to speak for itself.

  3. Caitlin said,

    May 18, 2009 @ 10:22 pm

    Words can get in the way, but something tells me this cake never would πŸ™‚ Baking = Love, right?

  4. michele said,

    May 18, 2009 @ 10:42 pm

    This was a touching story, made more emotional over the fact that now I am craving that cake!

  5. FFichiban said,

    May 18, 2009 @ 11:41 pm

    Oohh how about good news for ppl who like bad news πŸ˜› (I was listening to Modest hee hee). Mmmm it sure looks like a soft/spongy cheesecake yuummm ^^!

  6. Steph said,

    May 18, 2009 @ 11:57 pm

    I don’t know many who have their dream job, I certainly don’t. Baking is such a perfect gesture for so many circumstances (a million times better than a card) and your blondie-cake looks like the best way to celebrate! Also I can’t stop staring at that last photo and am considering putting it on my desktop background πŸ™‚

  7. Manggy said,

    May 19, 2009 @ 12:10 am

    Ah, if only we could feed it to the other side of the relationship, maybe we can achieve some harmony πŸ™‚
    I suppose people look grumpy on the train out of fear of looking manic… I know I do so I don’t get mugged!

  8. celine said,

    May 19, 2009 @ 12:22 am

    hugs to you and your friend.

  9. rose said,

    May 19, 2009 @ 2:12 am

    wonderful story… sometimes the best we can give is what we can make… lovely cake!

  10. Michelle said,

    May 19, 2009 @ 2:53 am

    I love blondies, these look delicious!

  11. Piggy said,

    May 19, 2009 @ 3:56 am

    It’s so true that not everybody can have their dream job, well, I didn’t! I hope your friend feels better after having your yummy looking blondie. πŸ™‚

  12. Irene said,

    May 19, 2009 @ 4:03 am

    As my husband always says, “well, at least there is good news!” It’s hard sometimes to focus on the positive when the world seems like such a big and scary and busy place (especially on Mondays), but wonderful friends and cake generally make it all better.

  13. Jenny Tan said,

    May 19, 2009 @ 7:19 am

    Sometimes, when words cannot describe how u feel for ur friend… baking something special for her, in this case, the white chocolate that you KNOW she LIKES, means a lot more than any words of comfort….after all, ACTIONS SPEAKS LOUDER THAN WORDS! I’m sure she appreciates your friendship just as much. I hope your friend will overcome whatever bad news she has.
    BTW, the picture of the flower is BEAUTIFUL!

  14. venus said,

    May 19, 2009 @ 7:23 am

    Your friend is very lucky to have a wonderful friend like you, who are there for her. I am sure she is all better after eating this sweet treat baked with love!

  15. erin @ dessert girl said,

    May 19, 2009 @ 8:42 am

    Awww…that’s so sweet! I love the flower photo!

  16. Betty said,

    May 19, 2009 @ 10:55 am

    Aww you’re such a sweet friend. No better way to celebrate/console than with cake.

  17. anna said,

    May 19, 2009 @ 11:52 am

    That looks incredible! And sometimes All You Need is Cake.

  18. Arwen from Hoglet K said,

    May 19, 2009 @ 12:23 pm

    Functional cake is sad. A cake shouldn’t be eaten merely to facilitate social interaction, although I suppose that explains why some very ordinary tasting cakes are saleable. This cake is certainly worth more than any of them.

    Lovely flower too, is it your chamomile?

  19. Elyse said,

    May 19, 2009 @ 1:24 pm

    What a beautiful post. You are truly a beautiful write. I do hope that Lenor is feeling better. Certainly, a big congrats is in order for her new job! I often wonder about the angry looking people on the train, too. In other news, this cake/blondie looks delicious! I can’t wait to “send messages” by giving my friends this cake.

  20. cakebrain said,

    May 19, 2009 @ 3:54 pm

    whwat a wonderful friend you are! the cake looks delicious and the sentiment is heartening!

  21. M said,

    May 19, 2009 @ 7:08 pm

    The cake certainly was delicious and was just what the doctor ordered. Thank you so much for the thought, your friendship and ongoing support- I really appreciate it πŸ™‚

  22. Sophie said,

    May 19, 2009 @ 7:45 pm

    Indeed, I agree: what a wonderful friend you are! This cake lokks fab!!
    What a beautiful post too!

  23. noobcook said,

    May 19, 2009 @ 9:58 pm

    how sweet you are! Lovely photography as usual πŸ™‚

  24. Aran said,

    May 19, 2009 @ 10:30 pm

    beautiful said Y.

  25. Y said,

    May 19, 2009 @ 10:45 pm

    Thanks everyone, for the comments.

    Shellyfish : I often find it hard to say things I mean to my friends. I think making them something helps.

    Caitlin : That’s exactly the way I feel.

    Manggy : Yes too bad we can’t solve ALL life’s problems with cake πŸ™‚

    Jenny Tan : Thanks! I hope she manages to find a solution too. It is certainly putting a dampener on her good news.

    venus : Thank you! She left a message with a smile, so it can’t be all bad πŸ™‚

    anna : All you need is cake.. sounds like a song I’d sing in my kitchen.

    Arwen from Hoglet K : Yup, the chamomile. Going strong. Fingers crossed it survives the Winter.

    Dear M, which doctor might that be? πŸ˜‰

  26. Simon said,

    May 19, 2009 @ 11:00 pm

    Wow, that’s some elephant. I hope it’s something that can be easily shooed away without causing too much damage.

    Would I be introducing another elephant by not acknowledging the cake? πŸ˜›

  27. Sarah said,

    May 20, 2009 @ 8:38 am

    Your friend is truly blessed for having someone as thoughtful as you! Will you be posting your gift’s recipe in the future?

  28. Laura said,

    May 20, 2009 @ 9:07 am

    Too bad she is feeling down. If it helps, I still haven’t found my dream job or any job for that matter. You are a very nice supportive friend and what an interesting cake.

  29. Forager said,

    May 20, 2009 @ 10:48 am

    Ah, you’re a good friend. Any friend that understands food can melt away problems and cheer up anyone is an enlightened one in my eyes.

  30. Dimah said,

    May 20, 2009 @ 5:51 pm

    Wonderful story! and that cake looks delicious!

  31. Y said,

    May 20, 2009 @ 11:43 pm

    Hi Sarah! The link to the recipe is in the post.


  32. Zita said,

    May 22, 2009 @ 4:55 am

    A lovelly hug post, Mel is a lucky girl to have a friend like you, with heart that listen and talent to bake a comfort cake….
    But the cake why only from10-11 and 3-4? πŸ™‚
    The chamomile is a very beautiful “soothing” picture.

  33. mir said,

    May 22, 2009 @ 7:34 pm

    I love blondies, or version of blondies more than brownies sometimes. Yes, the cult of chocolate is hissing at me somewhere…Fun with the macro? πŸ™‚

  34. gine said,

    May 22, 2009 @ 7:35 pm

    This cake looks amazing … and you’re a good friend indeed :-)! Have a great weekend πŸ™‚ XOXO

  35. Julia @ MΓ©langer said,

    May 22, 2009 @ 8:55 pm

    Y – I am like you. I love to bake for people in happy times and in sad times. I think the gesture and warmth of something homemade is pretty special. I also love the fact that you get to make something personal for someone. You pick it out yourself. For them.

  36. Vera said,

    May 23, 2009 @ 2:22 am

    Y, what a great friend you are! Delicious looking cake!

  37. Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said,

    May 23, 2009 @ 8:42 am

    What lovely sentiment! I bet she was so pleased!

  38. winnie said,

    May 25, 2009 @ 10:00 am

    This cake looks really good. What size pan did you bake it in? Thank you

  39. Y said,

    May 25, 2009 @ 10:12 am

    Hi Winnie! I baked it in a 26 x 18 x 3.5 cm tray. Or roughly 10 x 7 x 1.5 inch

  40. the caked crusader said,

    May 25, 2009 @ 7:24 pm

    Looks delicious – I love the close texture and the divine looking crust that has formed on the top. I could happily sit picking that off first before devouring the rest of it!

  41. Lee Tran said,

    May 26, 2009 @ 11:53 pm

    Such a lovely, thoughtful post sweetened by cake. Perfect.

  42. Sophie said,

    May 27, 2009 @ 1:21 am

    A cross between cake and a blondie sounds like a beautiful thing :). I like the texture on this, looks light but still sweet.

  43. marvellous said,

    June 12, 2009 @ 2:20 pm

    Remind me who to come to when I’m feeling royally crap cuz!! A little sweetness goes a super long way….

  44. Valisa said,

    July 11, 2009 @ 9:12 pm

    wow this cake sounds like a deep, big hug!

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