Baker's Dream: prelude to a cupcake


Photo: Pat Mannino

Rockton writer Pat Mannino is the owner of Fatt Cat Cafe in Rockton, where she makes cupcakes and hosts special events. To place an order, call her at 815-624-2832 or email

Cupcakes baked, set to cool on the metal counter in front of the window in the lower kitchen. Up just three steps, sticks of butter set to soften alongside powdered sugar and pure vanilla.

With just one finger extended, I fiddle, drawn in by the aroma; warm, intoxicating, the scent as potent as a most expensive perfume. The fudgy mounds now moved into more perfect alignment. I stand back for full effect. Order, somehow it soothes me. A balm that shields and protects, tranquility, convenient and contrived. 

Caught by the view from the window, shadowed skies, sheets of rain. I stare long and hard, transfixed. I make a run for it. 

No raincoat, no umbrella, no galoshes; a long excursion not in the plan. Skirting puddles that measured, at the very least, a full three inches in depth, puddles in which I could drown if I were to trip on a pebble and end up face down. My eyes darted upward, targeted the darkened sky, a sky that managed most strangely to seem both threatening and comforting. Swirled wind gusted and howled, rushed purposely through the uppermost branches, coaxing a primitive rhythm from trees that had stood watch for uncounted seasons.  

Undaunted by pelting rain, by monstrous and billowed clouds, by the sloshing sound of feet trapped in water filled shoes. I had not remembered, not expected the magnitude, to be so drawn in. It was if I was taken by a spell to a place I never knew existed. 

“Seize the moment,” my mind pushing, prodding, urging, “This may be your last chance.” “For what?” The answer was all too clear. Bravely I resisted, despite my own desperate longings…resisted the urge to strip off wet clothes, to run naked and free. Sadly, for this day, I will remain clothed, will not be caught up in self indulgent folly. 

Cupcakes wait impatiently inside, wait to be smothered in thick layered frosting. But, I vow as small compensation the minute I am back inside, the minute I find a pen in my hands, that random act of whimsy will be detailed, underlined, red lettered at the top of my bucket list. 

In a diversion of sorts, I forced my mind forward, to consider matters of great importance. The wonder of nature. The mystery of God. Should I take a chance and purchase a trunk load of hostas knowing full well they would most likely remain, rootbound and cramped, in their plastic pots, all through the heat of summer, their welcome release arriving in a panicked “dig in” just short of the first frost. 

To make a long story short or perhaps a short story long... I heeded the call of duty. I frosted the cupcakes.

More News from Rockton
I'm interested
I disagree with this
This is unverified