When my friend Anne’s mother died in June, I wanted to make her something. I wanted her to know I was thinking about her and feeling her sadness, at least as much as I could without being her actual sister. So, I made her this super-rich chocolate cake, which just about everyone I know likes.
When I took it to her house, some of her family had already arrived, including her nephew, Aaryn, whom I had never met and who paid me no never mind. (I’m a grownup after all.) However, after I left, he dug into that cake. As it turned out, Aaryn loved it so much I’m not sure how much of it he shared with his brother or mother or dad or Anne.
Aaryn and I started out as strangers, but because of that cake, we now had a food bond. And I strengthened that food bond when I told Aaryn I’d make him another cake the next time he was in town, which I did. This time, when I showed up at Anne’s house with cake, Aaryn was a little less shy. In fact, he anxiously greeted me on the front porch, a big smile on his face.
That first cake didn’t ease Anne or Aaryn’s pain of losing their mother and grandmother, but it did show them that someone (me) cared. That second cake just sealed the deal.
Recipe full disclosure: Each time I’ve made this, I haven’t added the walnuts.