‘The Cake’ is a play contrasting traditional values with contemporary reality in America. In this speech, Della, a Christian mother with a daughter who is gay, puts the world to rights about what it really takes to make a perfect cake…
See, what you have to do is really, truly follow the directions. That’s what people don’t understand. People watch the baking shows and they say to themselves: I can do that. I am gonna make a cake from scratch. I am going to prove to myself that I am a person who is capable of such a thing. So they go out and they get all of the ingredients, bring ‘em all home, set ‘em on the counter.
First mistake they make: Skimpin’. Skimpin’ on milk, skimpin’ on butter, they try and use tofu butter or whatever, milk made outta nuts, what is this world? You gotta get the real stuff. And I don’t mean that organic this or that stuff. I don’t care whether or not your eggs were ever caged, whether they ever went to the movies, I’m talking about the FAT, buddy, full fat, you gotta. Why go to Rome if you’re not gonna eat the pasta, why go to France if you’re not gonna eat the baguettes?
Second mistake – they read in the cookbook: Whisk the wet ingredients together for three minutes, then fold in the dry ingredients in quarter parts. And they think to themselves: I don’t really have to do all that, do I? That’s just a suggestion. I can just mix it all together, pop it in a ungreased pan at 350, hope for the best. Well I say to those people: You are wrong. If you’re not gonna follow the recipe, if you’re not gonna give you time and your worship to direction that have been crafted by trial and error, you might as well do a darn cake from a box, which tastes like Scotch tape dipped in Splenda if you’re asking. If you’re gonna do it from scratch, you gotta follow. The. Directions.
(She smooths the side of the cake with her butter knife. It’s meditative.)
That’s the only way you’ll get the taste. It’s the taste of time and obedience. All the scientists in the world could sit in a lab for eternity and never recreate it. So if you want results – if you want to make a cake that you could take a nap in, that you want to crawl inside of, that you would die for –
(She starts to lose herself inside of something so beautiful she could come or cry.)
You must – follow – the directions.