I made a marble cake for Sunday this weekend. It was our standard Sunday cake when I was growing up; marble, or lemon, or raisin with rum flavouring, or plain with chocolate shavings. Saturday, one bakes the cake, and Sunday one has a piece with breakfast, and then some more for afternoon coffee. Or, in my case, tea.
So there I was sitting in the living room, with my eBook (a Carola Dunn one, Toblethorpe Manor), my cup of tea, and my piece of marble cake, enjoying the Sunday peace. (I almost typo'd that to "Sunday piece". Is there something Freudian about that? Tea and Cakes, the Set Sunday Piece. Hmm.) And then the cat started stalking the cake. No, really! Cleo the Superior Cat (who sometimes snores in front of the fire) eats cake. I have to be very careful not to leave any baked goods undefended on the kitchen counter overnight, or there'll be cat tooth prints in it in the morning. She once took a whole chunk out of a chocolate cake that I had baked for a nephew's birthday (We Were Not Amused). Elegant female that she is, she would probably eat her cake with a raised pinky, if she had one (either pinky or cake); failing that, she stalks it.
First she got her front paws up on the side table where I had my plate and cup, and sniffed. I told her to buzz off. Being a cat, she completely ignored me (and continued to do so during the interval that followed), but she could not quite reach the cake, especially as I kept picking it up and taking bites from it. So she climbed up on the table, craning her neck to see where the cake had got to. No success. Next stop, the spot on the couch beside me, which brought her nose to within a few inches of where the cake plate was now residing on my lap. Cruel human that I am, I kept taking bites from the cake, not offering to share. (I hear chocolate is poison for pets, so even though she already survived multiple instances of chocolate theft from the counter, I'm not going to tempt fate by giving it to her on purpose. Sorry, cat.)
So Cleo moved to a higher vantage point, on the back of the couch behind me, nonchalantly pretending to look out the window, and then, when I wasn't paying attention, climbing down onto my lap over my shoulder to get at the cake. Hah, I wasn't having any of that! So she sat back down beside me on the couch again, fixing the cake with a firm, feline stare, the same stare she has been directing under the kitchen stove the last few weeks, where, she is convinced, a mouse resides. I don't know what she expected the cake to do - dart out and run across the floor so she could pounce on it? No such luck. The cake just kept slowly moving from the plate up to my mouth, another bite gone, back onto the plate, yellow feline eyes tracking its every motion. Until, finally, I ate the last bit. And wiped up the crumbs with my finger, and ate those too. Oh cruel, cruel human!
However, the cat gave her feline equivalent of a shrug - "It was worth a try," she said - and loped off into the kitchen. Perhaps the mouse would be a more rewarding hunt.
Life, the Universe, and the Stalking of a Marble Cake. It's all in a Sunday afternoon.