The best gifts come from the heart, and sometimes the oven

A slice of angel food cake with rosewater whipped cream and raspberries —Sophia McCarron

I feel like it is my ethical duty to put a disclaimer at the beginning of this article. If you are reading this for solid, trustworthy advice on baking, stop. Before today, my experience in the kitchen was minimal, and included one incident where I tried to cook vegetables for a family dinner only to discover after 10 minutes of stirring them around in the pan that I hadn’t turned on the burner. If you are, however, reading this article because you want to know what not to do, or to revel in moments of millennial stupidity, read on.

For Father’s Day, instead of buying him some practical power tool that he would probably put to good use, I decided that it would be more heartfelt (and healthier for my bank account) to bake my dad a cake. I scoured the web and settled on an angel food cake, and I decided to make it extra-special by decorating it with homemade macarons.

I ignored my mother’s advice that because of the humidity, my macarons would be an utter flop. I felt as though I had some kind of willpower that transcended whatever chemical process inhibited the production of successful macarons. I would make them work.

I gathered my ingredients, almond flour, sugar, eggs, with the air of a confidant professional. I beat the eggs until they were frothy, and when I combined the dry ingredients, they didn’t seem to lose their air. I was so good, I thought. I had even mastered the use of a piping bag. Now it was time to bake.

Sadly, my mother was right; the macarons stayed resolutely flat and unusable, while they should have sprung up and gotten “feet.” I ended up eating them all as soon as they came out of the oven, so that no one would be able to see my failure.

The cake, however, was a different story. The sponge was light and fluffy, and I paired it with a rosewater whipped cream and raspberries.

Fun fact: Angel food cake has to be cooled upside down, or else the air will be knocked out of it. They actually make special pans with a little stand to do this. Preparedness in the kitchen, however, doesn’t seem to be my strong suit, and I lacked one of these special pans. I ended up tying two lengths of string to connect the handles of my colander, and hung the cake to cool from that over the basin. My family was more than skeptical of this approach, but in the end, at least, I don’t think the cake was harmed.

For the whipped cream, I was afraid that I wouldn’t have enough, so I added two containers of cream to my mixing bowl. If anyone’s made whipped cream before, then they will know that I will now be surviving off the stuff for the rest of the summer. Other than the fact that I made it in excess, there were few misadventures with the whipped cream. I added a bit of rosewater and backed off on the sugar, because I read that the cake was on the sweet side, and it turned out to be a nice compliment to the sponge. I finished off the cake with some green, blue, and silver sprinkles that I found in the cabinet.

We had a quiet Father’s Day dinner with my parents and my aunt.There was a bit of a delay in actually digging into the cake, because I had to stage the perfect picture of it. Everyone was patient, however, and in the end, my dad went back for seconds.