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    Aditus
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

One Hundred Forty-Five Candles - 1. Story

One Hundred Forty-Five Candles

“Greetings listeners! Welcome to the 20th episode of my podcast Stirring the Pot. Today I have a real treat for you! Those who have been following me for a while, know around this time of the year I always drive around the countryside and visit all those tiny fairs on my continuous hunt for secret and not-so-secret family recipes.

“Last week, I was on my way to a small village for the annual Yam & Ham Challenge, and I saw many arrow-shaped signs along the road, emblazoned with Victor and Peter. When I saw a banner spanning a small gravel road painted with those same names in colorful letters, I followed it in a spur-of-the-moment decision. I found a meadow slash parking lot and a lovely apple orchard. Some of the trees were decorated with multicolored streamers, ribbons, and fairy lights. I parked the car between a motorcycle and an RV and was instantly welcomed by a nice woman named Ahn with, ‘Quickly! Peter and Victor are about to blow out the candles.’ She ushered me to a spot where a motley group of people stood around a table. When I came closer, I saw two older men grinning like crazy beside a huge, and, if I say huge, I mean one meter across at least, with what looked like thousands of burning candles. One of them, now I know it was Peter, asked their guests to step closer and help them out because at the age of one-hundred thirty-five they would be a little short of breath and needed all the help they could possibly get.

The men kissed briefly, then inhaled deeply and blew out the candles. Everyone did as they had been directed before and helped them, including me, and I’m proud to be able to announce here and now, that we managed to extinguish every single candle. Then everyone watched Lou, a tiny man with a huge belly, cut the cake expertly and intricately before he transferred the first two slices onto plates and passed them to Peter and Victor.

After enjoying a piece of the delicious Very-Berry cake, I had the opportunity to interview the birthday boys.

 

Me: “First, let me congratulate you on your birthday. That was a lot of candles.”

Peter: “One-hundred forty-five to be exact.”

Victor: “Sixty-five for Peter, and seventy for me.”

Me: “Erm...sixty-five plus seventy is one hundred thirty-five, right?”

Peter: “Ha-ha. That’s right, but what about our ten year-anniversary?”

Me: “Your ten year anniversary? Ahn told me today is your birthday.”

Victor: “Darling, do tell the man the story, you always do it so much better than me.”

Peter: ”Ten years ago, I saw this beautiful man—"

Victor: “Pete!”

Peter: “What? You said I tell our story well, so let me tell the story how I see it.”

Victor: “Whatever you say.”

Peter: “Okay. Ten years ago, I saw this beautiful man standing in front of my friend Lou’s bakery admiring the display, at least that’s what I thought he was doing back then. I had to talk to him—all tall and curly white hair— exactly my type—and I asked him if he wanted some advice in choosing a treat as I knew Lou’s specialties well, but then he looked at me; buried deeply in his blue eyes was an unspeakable sadness. It took my breath away. That day Lou decorated his window with a variety of cakes, and in the center sat a tiny birthday cake. Then it hit me. What if it was the man’s birthday and he had no one to celebrate it with? I told him to wait, ran inside, and bought the cake. For good measure, I grabbed one of the tiny rainbow flags Lou always has on the counter and stuck it beside the candles, but when I went back outside, he was gone. I am not that easily discouraged though. I looked all around, and then I saw him entering the park at the end of the street. I ran after him, and when I reached him, I invited him to have a slice of cake with me. At first, he declined.”

Victor: “He convinced me by telling me that it had been his birthday a few days ago, and he didn’t have someone to celebrate it with. Of course, I agreed. From the very first day we met, I couldn’t resist that man’s charm.”

Peter: “I admit freely it was a white lie; I had a few friends over that day, but not him.”

Victor: “Because we didn’t know each other then.”

Peter: “Maybe to punish me for my lie, or because if something is really important, life doesn’t make things easy for you. You have to fight for it to prove you understand the importance, so we ran into a little problem.

“We found a nice bench near a fountain, but the wind was too strong and I wasn’t able to light the candles. We ended up in the anteroom of a ramshackle chapel. I won’t tell you how it smelled.”

Victor: “Ha-ha. We left the door open a little, if I remember correctly.”

Peter: “Anyways, I lit the candles, and we blew them out together and shared the cake. That was our very first impromptu date. From then on, we always celebrate our birthdays together. Now it’s your turn, love.”

Victor: “We all go through different cake stages in life. The shape and the number of candles progress as we go on. On our first birthday, our proud parents place one candle on let’s say a teddy bear-shaped cake—”

Peter: “Mine was star-shaped.”

Victor: “Of course, they probably already knew you’d be a star.

“After our very first cake, we can’t wait to add another candle the next year. And the shape of the cake becomes much cooler throughout the years, like starships or motorcycles. Later it’s small cupcakes with only one candle, shared with the current girlfriend or boyfriend with lots of kisses behind the school. Then comes the wedding cake without any candles, at least for me, beautifully constructed and multi-leveled. The spouse bakes a fancy cake every year for you. I never reciprocated because she said I’m a failure in the kitchen—”

Peter: “You make me the most beautiful cakes.”

Victor: ”Now, and only because you patiently showed me how and never laughed—much—about my messes. Now stop interrupting me all the time.”

Peter: “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”

Victor: “Where was I? Ah, yes. Then the kids are born, and the cake becomes store-bought and the candles are hastily put away before grabby tiny hands get a hold of them. Later, due to a busy work schedule, the cake will be consumed in a café, if at all. The kids move away to places all over the world, and have their own lives and their own cakes. The marriage breaks down as everything was about the kids in the end. And then one day, you’re standing in front of a bakery owned by a man named Lou on your sixtieth birthday, and this impossible guy over there buys you a cake with a rainbow flag. Since that day for us, we’ve always added up the number of candles. This year, however, we added ten more because we’re celebrating our ten-year anniversary. The cakes have become more colorful as well as the guests. What does that say about my new life?”

Peter: “Isn’t my man perfect?”

Me: “Thank you, Victor and Peter, for this lovely story and of course for the recipe.”

Peter: “The recipe isn’t ours but all Lou’s.”

Me: “Oh, okay. I will keep that in mind.”

 

“All right, this concludes episode number twenty of Stirring the Pot. As always, you can download the recipe on the website stirring-the-pot-dot-com as well as really ingenious instructions on how to cut a huge round cake into handy slices, provided by Lou the baker. Don’t forget to tell me how you liked the recipe.”

Recipe: Lou’s delicious Very Berry Cake:

Batter Ingredients:

150 grams of wheat flour
2 level tsp baking powder
100 grams sugar
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1 pinch of salt
3 eggs (size Medium)
125 g softened butter or margarine

Yoghurt Cream Ingredients:

6 sheets of gelatin white (available at Walmart, Amazon and selected grocers) or use any vegetarian substitute according instructions
about 300 g of strawberries
about 150 g of blueberries
400 g cold whipped cream
300 grams of yogurt

40 grams of sugar
3 tsp lemon juice
 

Fruit Topping Ingredients:

600 - 800 g mixed berries e.g., raspberries, blackberries, black currants, red currants

about 4 tablespoons velvety apricot fruit spread

about 1 tbsp water

Preparation

1.

Prepare a springform pan 26 cm in diameter):

baking paper, cake ring

Wrap the baking paper in the springform pan. Preheat oven.

Upper/lower heat around 180 °C

Hot air about 160 °C

 

2.

Prepare all-in batter

Mix flour and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients. Mix everything briefly at the lowest level, then process at the highest level for 2 minutes to form a smooth dough. Smooth out the batter in the springform pan. Set oven rack to lower third of oven; place the pan on the rack.

Baking time: around 25 minutes

Remove the cake base from the tin, put it onto a cake rack lined with baking paper, and leave to cool.

 

3.

Pull off the paper. Place the base on a cake plate and place a cake ring around it.

 

4.

Prepare yoghurt cream

Soak the gelatin sheets in cold water for 5 minutes. Wash, trim and cut the strawberries in halves. Stem, pick over and wash the blueberries. Place one section cut-side out and point up all the way around the cake ring, alternating with the blueberries on the inside. Quarter the remaining strawberries and spread over the cake base with the remaining blueberries.

 

5.

Whip the cream. Using a whisk, mix the yoghurt with the sugar and lemon juice in a mixing bowl. Squeeze out the gelatin and heat in a small saucepan, stirring, until completely dissolved. Mix a few tablespoons of the yogurt mixture into the dissolved gelatin, then mix in the remaining yogurt mixture. Fold in the cream in 2 portions and spread the cream on the cake. Place the cake in the fridge for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.

 

6.

Prepare fruit topping

Wash berries, if necessary, and pat dry. Cut into pieces and arrange on the fruit tart. Mix the fruit spread with water in a small saucepan and briefly bring to the boil while stirring. Brush the fruit thinly with a brush.

 

7.

Loosen and remove the cake ring with a knife. Store the tart in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

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I realized I kind of prompted myself with the Gimme a Cake prompt while I wrote this fictional interview. For the story, I envisioned a relative of mine , I hope I did your story justice, P.

@Valkyrie:thankyou: , as always, for your expert editing and beta reading. :kiss:  @Parker Owens, you helped me to give my idea the final polish, thank you very much for this. :hug:

Finally, thank you for reading my story, any reactions and/or comments are very much appreciated.

~Adi

 

Copyright © 2022 Aditus; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Chapter Comments



19 hours ago, Ivor Slipper said:

Mary Berry

I have to admit I was not familiar with the lady, but hail Google, I am now. Thank you for reading and commenting. :)

  • Like 4
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17 hours ago, Bill W said:

A lovely interview and an intriguing concept, although I'm not sure my waistline would be able to handle the cake.  It's a good thing I'm not much of a baker.  Good job, adi.  

Thank you, Bill. I'm glad you liked my little experiment. :)

  • Like 5
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4 hours ago, kbois said:

I'm not the only one with a command problem! 

You have to explain this to me.

Dog What GIF by Heartland Animal Shelter

Anyway, I'm glad you liked my idea for the story. Thank you for reading and commenting especially with all vacation stress.

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16 hours ago, Gary L said:

Aditus,,,,,, amusingly,,,,,,,,, the new deputy prime minister has forbidden the “Oxford comma” in documents.  This is a custom, widely accepted, of adding a comma in a list before the final “and”. In what world is she living?  Obviously she didn’t go to the number one university in the world!  Ok I’m biased.  😉 

Well, we don't have a seriell comma, but I love it and that deputy prime minister has no jurisdiction here. 

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1 hour ago, Aditus said:

I have to admit I was no familiar with the lady, but hail Google, I am now. Thank you for reading and commenting. :)

It was a comment that I expected would only have meaning to a section of readers. 🙂

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59 minutes ago, Aditus said:

Well, we don't have a seriell comma, but I love it and that deputy prime minister has no jurisdiction here. 

Since I went to Oxford I have every intention of ignoring this also minister of health who smokes and is seriously overweight. As she says, “I’m no role model” - especially as far as our beloved coma goes!! 
finally, I’m really enjoying your work. I’m off work with a broken hand and you guys are keeping me sane.  Cheers

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15 hours ago, Headstall said:

This story was as sweet as a piece of cake, Adi. I loved how a life is described through cake over the years. Might I call this story fateful, that they were meant to meet and have those ten candles... err... years together. Not enough is written about men of a certain age, and I always find such stories a real treat. Well done, and unusually presented. The ingredients were delicious! Cheers! 

To be honest, I was afraid it might be a little too sweet, not the cake -that is perfect- but then I thought the heck with it. I'm glad you liked it. :)

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8 hours ago, Aditus said:

You have to explain this to me.

Dog What GIF by Heartland Animal Shelter

Anyway, I'm glad you liked my idea for the story. Thank you for reading and commenting especially with all vacation stress.

Speaking based solely on potential spelling, me thinks she meant comma? Comma(nd)

It's probably the hobenro whiskey talking.

Edited by Mrsgnomie
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