'Battle of the Bulge' by Dina Greene


The lemon curd oozed down the sides of the cake like a soft boiled egg that had just been dipped by a toast soldier. I was so glad I’d put the extra jam in the middle because now, the white icing cascaded down like an avalanche, coating the curd en route resulting in a very decadent lemon curd sponge. The cake wasn’t for me it was for Father’s day, but I always made an extra effort to be generous with ingredients if I knew I would be orchestrating the cake distribution. I wasn’t supposed to be eating cake. I was on a low carb diet this week. Last week it had been counting calories and meal replacement shakes and the week before that, protein bars. This was my ongoing battle of the bulge, with no exit strategy in place. I was the Field Marshall of my own diet failures. But we couldn’t celebrate Father’s day without a cake could we?
I looked at the finished result, majestically perched on the cake stand. I was salivating thinking about the tanginess of the jam, combined with the indulgent cream and icing, delicious. I’ll cut it later I thought, licking the spoon, running my finger around the cream bowl and peeling encrusted icing off a palette knife, lovely. This was my version of tidying up and meant the cake could have pride of place on the worktop ready for dad.
Cake time couldn’t come soon enough for me, but everyone kept saying they were full after lunch so I had to wait. Eventually my offers of a cup of tea were accepted and I raced to get the knife. I felt like a bride cutting the wedding cake with the first incision while deliberating on how big the slices should be. I would have just cut it into four, until dad said he didn’t think I was eating cake this week. That triggered the moral dilemma, what would I say when I walked in with my wedge. It never occurred to me not to have a slice at all, you have to try your own baking don’t you?
Tea made, cake cut, I acted as waitress to the family, languishing in the compliments about the cake. When I sat down with my humungous slice everyone stared, the same question etched on each of their faces. I was ready for them,  ‘before you say anything, I’m allowed, there’s no carbs in lemons’. I said emphatically through a mouthful of sponge, with lemon curd syruping down my chin.

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