A lesson in letting go of perfection

I’d made myself a goal of posting a new creative project every week, whether it be a recipe, craft or garden project. Unfortunately I missed last week because I was busy galavanting through the Canadian Prairies. Determined not to miss posting two weeks in a row, I started racking my brains trying to figure out what I could make/bake.

I decided I would share one of my favourite recipes – my mum’s pineapple upside down cake. I usually make it in a 9″ x 9″ square pan and it always turns out beautifully. However, despite my obsessive compulsive baking habits, one thing that I lack in my house is a decent cake plate. I usually just plop stuff onto an old cutting board and if I’m feeling really fancy, I’ll wrap the board in tinfoil to jazz it up.

As I was gathering all my ingredients, I started getting really hung up on the fact that I didn’t have a decent looking plate. I wanted something nice to use when I took a picture of my end creation. So instead of making one large cake, I decided to make a bunch of mini ones in cupcake tins (yup, here we go again with my obsession of making mini versions of things).

I have used this recipe before to make mini upside down cakes, but the proportions aren’t quite right. I end up with a little too much topping and a little too much batter. Then I fill the tins up just a little bit too full so they spill all over the place. They also bake significantly faster than the 9″ x 9″ cake so if I’m not paying close enough attention they get a little overdone.

Still, I thought I should go ahead and make the mini version…and I was disappointed. I was disappointed because they didn’t turn out quite perfect. They ended up with funny little (upside down) muffin tops because I had filled the pans too full. I wasn’t happy with the photos that I took because the angles were weird and the lighting was off. I was also worried about posting a recipe that I hadn’t taken the time to modify properly for the size of the pans I had used. All in all, I felt like I had just wasted a good chunk of my afternoon preparing something for this blog post, only to want to throw it right out the window.

I shoved my cakes to the side, cleaned up the kitchen and started prepping dinner. We barbecued some marinated pork chops and zucchini to have with leftover potato salad. Then for dessert I faced my cakes again. I poked at one a bit with my spoon, still feeling miserable about how my plans for the afternoon had failed, then I took a bite.

It. Was. Freaking. Delicious.

The amazing part about this cake is that it really doesn’t matter what it looks like, it will still always taste ridiculously good. My other half gobbled up his little cake in record time before contemplating a second one (an actual miracle as he turns his nose up at basically every dessert). That’s when I had to have a little conversation with myself about the pettiness of my misery.

I was getting in a real funk because I didn’t want to make a recipe in a pan that I know works well because I didn’t have something pretty enough to photograph it on. I also didn’t want to post the recipe with directions and photos for making the mini cakes knowing there would be leftover batter (I really hate wasting batter).

Meanwhile, I had still baked a delicious dessert. I had accomplished my goal of making something this week. Better yet, I now have a project for another week – figuring out how to adapt this recipe so the portions are better suited for a cupcake tin.

I definitely have moments where I feel like if something isn’t 100% perfect, then it’s no good at all. It can be really easy to get caught up in all the little details, and hard to stop at that place where something is just “good enough” instead of striving endlessly for pure perfection.

Another bonus to this whole scenario was that we had lots of mini cakes to share. We dropped a few off to our lovely neighbours and within half an hour they had sent an email with the title “instagrammable” and the following photo attached. It filled me with all the warm and fuzzies.

Cakes on plates
At least my lovely neighbours think my cakes are good looking!

I will still post the recipe for the regular pineapple upside down cake soon. I just wanted to share this little lesson in the importance of letting go. Next time I’ll be sure not to avoid posting something just because I don’t have a pretty enough cake plate.


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