I wish I had a piece of my mom’s candy cake right now. I’m watching as she takes out her ingredients. Its art really. The table is her easel her hands the paint brush. I’m little, I don’t really understand how its made, only that it is wonderful. She stands at the table, all 5 feet 5 of beautiful, my mom. As always, her natural curly hair coiffed just right, her nose powdered and her lipstick on. As I watch, I can still see her gentle hands with the pointed fingernails as they crack a couple of eggs in a bowl, while adding other things from her palette to make it colorful, often using food coloring to make different colors for her layered candy cake. I can still see her wrap hard candies, peppermints, jolly ranchers, and butterscotch into a towel, take it outside on the porch and beat it with a hammer until the candy was broken into little chips. Adjusting her easel, she empties the contents of her towel into the bowl of blue batter. I see specks of all colors of hard candy inside the batter. As she makes another colored layer to her cake I see the muscles in her upper arm contract and relax as she beats and folds in the candy. What mesmerized me was that after the cake was done, the candy had melted into the cake and became gooey and never hardened again, it was scrumptious. I see the old, round cake pans she is using, they are floured and there is a metal handle built in to the pan or something. It can be turned 360 degrees to unstick the cake from the pan when it’s done, before turning it upside down. How cool is that? This was artwork at its finest. After about three layers of cake she begins to make a frosting, sometimes just a simple sugar syrup made by boiling water and adding sugar, letting it condense down with a little vanilla and then pour it over the cake while it was hot. Sometimes she would make a caramel-like icing. The skillet is cast iron, again dark from use. She pours in, I don’t know how much sugar. My brothers, and I would watch it melt. As it began melting, mom would add butter and milk, made from powder to it. While we watched it boil, she would stir it over and over, so it wouldn’t seize up. The sweets she could make sometimes were outrageous, and the candy cake was a beautiful piece of art. I can see her slicing the cake with the over-sized butcher knife, putting the pieces into mix match saucers. The colors from her canvas coming to life with swirls of, yellow, green, white, blue, orange and more. With mouths watering, mom finally says it is cool enough to eat. She has made a gallon of milk from the dry powdered milk we used to get from the basement of the court house, from the government commodities issued once a month, but that’s a different story. I have not had a piece of that candy cake in years now, since mom has been gone. Nothing I have eaten or tried to make has tasted like hers, I don’t suppose anything ever will. I know my sister Cindy has the recipe (or receipt) as mom called it, written in my mother’s hand and if anyone could come close to replicating that masterpiece, it would be her. When you have a mom, everything is perfect. I know mine was for me. So many thoughts, feelings, pictures and feelings rush home to me, the tranquil spirit she exuded, the safety of her little house as we became grown. No where could you fall to sleep faster than moms. Her bright light still shines in memory and mind and in my heart’s window. I’m startled from my trance as the dog starts to bark, remembering I am not there, but it felt as though I was. Maybe my dog thought so too. I could feel her presence as she talked to me in my daydream. I felt her muss my hair as she did so often and said “now go out and play”. My eyes are open now, my visitor gone, leaving behind the lingering smell of Mother’s Candy Cake.
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