I can’t resist the lure of coffee and cake. It’s an indulgent treat I seek out more often than I should; and now I’m a poor student the frequency is even more of a worry. But I’m not going to fight it, because some things are more important to me than watching the dollars all the time.
Carrot cake, chocolate cake, lemon cake, or fancy fig & ginger cake – all have their place. And to be honest, it doesn’t have to be cake proper either: muffins, slices, brownies, even scones can often fill the same hole. So long as it’s tasty, goes well with the coffee and gives me the carb-loaded sugar hit I need, that’s most of the job done. If it includes some species of fruit that’s a bonus; because obviously anything that includes fruit is good for you – practically health food as far as I’m concerned!
I’ve tried to achieve the same effect at home; I make a pretty mean chocolate cake, even if I do say so myself, and often I prefer the coffee I make with my stovetop espresso pot to disappointing examples I’ve paid good money for in cafes. But somehow, it’s just not the same.
Perhaps it’s the power of presentation? I’ve never been strong on that.
Perhaps it’s variety? I’m a bit lazy with trying new recipes and one cannot exist on chocolate cake alone, as the saying goes. (or did I just make that up?)
Perhaps it’s the explorer in me? I’m a fan of uncovering a new place by taking time to enjoy coffee and cake in a warm and welcoming café. Sometimes this leads to favourites that demand to be visited again and again. (I lost count of the number of times I voluntarily added an hour to my drive between Geraldton and Perth to visit the Bindoon Bakehaus & Café, a beacon in WA’s Wheatbelt region that is always worth the detour).
There’s probably an element of truth in all, but I think it’s much deeper. I have come to recognise its true value as being more than nourishment or the sugar rush or the sensual enjoyment of the experience itself. It’s the opportunity – excuse almost – to take some time out from an otherwise busy day / week / month / life.
More often that not, my coffee and cake happens solo. So it’s almost always accompanied by reading or writing. Homework has now crept into that mix too. Sometimes it’s a reward; sometimes it provides the motivation to keep going. Most importantly, it’s always a chance to sit, regroup, relax and reflect – not necessarily in that order.
It helps keep me sane. That sounds a bit melodramatic, but I can’t find another way to put it that rings true. The same could be said of many simple pleasures – a walk in a park on a sunny day, a visit to the beach to smell in the salty air, listening to great music that reaches into your soul, or spending time with friends or family who make your world better.
For me, coffee and cake has a permanent place in that list. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.