The 89-Cent Hero

“Wow, that is beautiful!” Adam exclaimed as he sipped the last of his Cabernet. 

“Yes, so professional looking. Where did you hide the pink box?” Alicia teased. 

“Oh my, Martha would be very proud!” Jaime added. 

On the counter she sat, regally resting upon a crystal platter, adorned with a light dusting of confectioners sugar. As Ken, our host, sliced into the cake, I watched in delight as the knife glided through effortlessly and the first slice made its way to Alicia’s plate without a single crumb falling aside.  

As the five of us sat around the large dining table, enjoying the cake and coffee, the compliments began pouring in. 

“Wow, what flavor is this? The chocolate is so dark and rich!”

“Double chocolate espresso. My favorite!  So glad you like it,” I replied. 

“Yes, goes great with the coffee.  Can you email me the recipe?”

“Yum.  Tastes like a cake I had in Paris. Delicious.”

I was amazed, and very pleased that my contribution to the dinner party was so well received. I was a hero in my own small way.   

After accepting Ken’s invitation and volunteering to contribute the evening’s desert, I found myself in shock after window shopping at a few local bakeries.  Temptation called my name from every direction – the $32 cheesecake, the $27 apple pie,  and the $3.25 brownie (or $30 for a dozen — what a bargain!). Then it dawned on me — I had all the ingredients for an amazing dessert in my own pantry, except the pink box and fancy ribbon! 

Upon returning home, I surveyed my kitchen: a double chocolate espresso cake mix, snagged for 49 cents after presenting my Loyalty Club card and a two-for-one coupon, three eggs, a cup of oil, a bit of water.  A good spin with the hand mixer and we were off to the races!

I hauled out the rose cake pan I had purchased with a gift card a decade earlier, carefully transferred the batter, and watched the rose blossom come to life in the oven.  When she cooled, I carefully placed her on a crystal platter (a splurge from Tiffany in 1995), and finished her with a light dusting of confectioners sugar.

Wow, all of this for about 89 cents!

That night, surrounded by good friends, food, and drink, I realized being resourceful and frugal can be rewarding in many ways.