Snapdragons, Marigolds, Egyptian Star, Bachelor’s Button, Basil Blossom, Sweet William + a few other edible delights tucked into soft pockets of lemony buttercream atop my newest bake: a lemon-yogurt flower cake I made with my sweet kiddos in celebration of summer!
I’ve always wanted to decorate a cake like this – full of edible florals grown here on Maui. Thank you so much Mana Foods for carrying local-grown flowers from Ainalani Farms! When I saw these in stock a couple days ago, I knew exactly what to do. Put them on a cake, of course!
I believe every cake tells a story.
This cake was for me. It speaks to my childhood, a girl from a small island in the South Pacific who grew up on very limited means, a girl who was bullied and harassed and often overlooked in grade school, who chose to seek out beauty despite the harsh reality of life. A girl who chose to dream of what could be. The colors, the whimsy, of my simple free-form, slightly-teetering three-layer cake remind me of afternoons running home from my school bus stop, immediately throwing myself into a book or a story. Often outdoors, dirt caked on my feet, building magical worlds within the field of apple-banana trees my family farmed. Young me, lying in the tall grass safe among the trees, praying for a way off of my island someday. Praying for opportunity. Believing that I could make it to college and see the world. Not knowing how, but cultivating faith as small as a mustard seed.
I wish I could go back and hug young me.
I would tell her that it’s so important to dream.
I would tell her that she was going to be OK.
I would encourage her that it’s OK to not fit in with the crowd.
Years later, I look back and I can see God’s hand in the details, the incredible opportunities, the random gifts from strangers, the writing scholarships + internships that paid for my college education. I got to travel the world, I did make it off my island. Through years of counseling, I found a way to name my trauma, to grieve it, to start to heal. And in that, I found a way back home. Back to myself, back to Maui.