Not bad, she thought, regarding her reflection in the full length mirror of a small hotel room she shared with her husband and three children. The navy blue, white polka dot, full piece bathing suit fresh off the rack from Macy’s hugged her hips and small breasts, her smooth, pale Nordic skin almost pearlescent in the bright, Bahamian light. As she turned to grab her ten dollar, drugstore sunglasses and scratchy hotel towel, she noticed her profile, pronounced in the warm light. She tenderly rubbed the soft space between her hip bones, a slight bulge, her body forever three months pregnant, abdominal muscles long gone; this space was once the home of her three children.
[Babies too large for her small frame and yet she willed herself to carry them. And when they tore her apart, departing her body and entering the world, she felt nothing but relief. Love would come…later.]
The family trip to the Grand Bahama was her idea. He, her half present husband, the worst kind, acquiesced. Anything to stop her nagging. Anything to keep her questions at bay. His soul’s sin would be revealed many years later. An affair: yes. But his real sin: insecurity.
[ A soul with a hole so cavernous no drink or woman could fill.]
So, when she found herself at the poolside bar, admiring the bartender’s dark brown eyes, golden skin, silvery hair and stainless white teeth, was she appalled by her desire for him? No. Like driving a car with a low tire, the air slowly, but surely escaping, something was amiss in her marriage. This she she felt in her milky skin, her blue veins, her raging claret blood…her bones.
She ordered a pina colada. The bartender smiled, got to work. She watched him: tan, capable hands adding ice, fresh pineapple, pineapple juice, coconut cream and rum to a blender; a bit of sweat twinkled on his brow and above his hairless lip in the mid-day sun.
[Briefly, she thought of his lips on hers. This fantasy quickly dissipated when she noticed a gorgeous, buxom, blonde saddling up to the bar. She is who he wants. Or, so she thought.]
When he handed her the pina colda, complete now with a fresh pineapple wedge and maraschino cherry, he also gave her his number on a white cocktail napkin. Ha! Cheeks flush and gitty with surprise, she paid him. After taking a long drink, she smiled, stood, turned and walked away. The cocktail napkin remained on the bar where he placed it, her sweating pina colada sitting directly on top of the scribbled numbers. Nothing said, no door left ajar. Condensation from glass would make the numbers bleed into each other. And this memory of being seen again, fresh, would bleed into other memories of unexplored men handing her a drink.
She found her family sitting by the pool, her handsome husband with a beer in has hand chatting with their strawberry-haired, freckled faced boy. His favorite, his only. The girls, both husky, pretty tomboys, were huddled together on a chaise lounge, dripping pool water. The older girl had found forty dollars in the hot-tub. Such luck, she thought! As the girl held the wet twenties overhead, victorious, her sister decided since they were a family who shared, they should share everything, including this serendipitous loot. They laughed, not yet knowing, too much and not enough would be shared in the decades to come.
Pina Colada Cake
A moist cake studded with fresh pineapple and covered in a sweet rum glaze
recipe slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Ingredients for cake:
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 ounces of coconut oil, at room temperature
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup cream of coconut (This is not coconut milk. I found it in the Mexican food section of our local grocery store.) Shake well before measuring.
1/2 cup finely chopped pineapple, strained, juice reserved (from a can in juice not syrup)
Ingredients to brush over cake:
2 tablespoons reserved pineapple juice
Ingredients for glaze:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
pinch of kosher salt
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon dark rum
Pre-heat your oven to 350F. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan and line with a circle of parchment paper. Lightly butter and flour parchment paper. Tap out excess flour. Set aside.
Grab a medium bowl and whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat butter and coconut oil at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Add rum. Next, add cream of coconut. The batter will look curdled. Don’t worry! It will come back together once you add the flour.
Add half of dry ingredients, scraping down the bowl with a spatula, before adding the other half. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, fold in chopped pineapple.
The batter will be thick. Spread it evenly into your prepared pan. Bake until golden brown or when a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, 35-40 minutes. Cool in pan, on wire rack for about 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and invert the cake onto the wire rack. Remove parchment paper.
While the cake is still hot, brush it with reserved pineapple juice.
While cake is cooling, make glaze. Grab a small bowl and add powdered sugar and salt. Stir in milk and rum. Stir until completely smooth. Pour glaze into middle of cake and spread to the edges with an offset spatula or butter knife. Serve immediately or refrigerate for 20 minutes until glaze is set. Cake is best the day it is made. Leftovers, stored in an air-tight container, at room temperature, will last for 2 days. Enjoy!
5 Boozy Cake Links!
Still feel the winter chill in your neck of the woods? Warm yourself up with Food & Wine’s Maple-Bourbon Banana Pudding Cake. I’m guessing it will hit the spot.
I love a good mojito. Olive’s mojito cake is on my must make immediately list. Yum!
Don’t wait until next St. Patty’s day to make Spoon Fork Bacon’s spicy chocolate stout cake with simple peanut butter frosting. This combo sounds delicious!
Bubba loves a good margarita and never turns down a piece of cake. I think it’s time to make him Pastry Affair’s boozy margarita cake.
My mom loves all things coconut so this Mother’s Day I may just make her Beth Cake’s triple coconut rum cake. Coconut + rum equals a tropical vacation in a bite!