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Sweet Love ~ Affection by Confection

Sweet Love ~ Affection by Confection

Sweet love hear me callin’ out your name
I feel no shame; I’m in love
Sweet love, don’t you ever go away
It’ll always be this way…

Listening to Anita’s “Sweet Love” while biting into your absolute favorite dessert, eyes closed so no one can see them rolling back. It doesn’t have to be an Anita Baker song but come on… her last name is clearly indicative of the path to taste bud Nirvana.

ChezFranDesserts for Sweet Love article

There are so many parallels between love and a sugary surrender. I can’t think of many things that bring unity among the restless like an impeccably presented platter of confections, devouring desserts with your eyes brings another level of pleasure to the table. Enter Frances Murray, owner and Head Mistress of Mmmmmm at Chez Fran Desserts. I decided to ask this designer of decadence about the link between love and lickerishness. Here’s what she had to say:

 

Name the most memorable dessert you baked with your mother. What lesson did you learn while baking with her?

“My most vivid memories of baking with my Mom center around the Jamaican tradition of baking rum cake. Caribbean rum cake is essentially one of the most delicious spiced rum infused pound cakes you could ever have. I’m biased, I know, but trust me when I say that if you tasted a slice made by someone like my mother, a rum cake baking genius, you would be instantaneously catapulted into Rum Cake Heaven. Yes such a place does exist, I would know, I’ve been there many times.

Frances Findley-Murray and mom

I remember helping my Mom by cracking what seemed like a gazillion eggs and watching her cream butter and sugar in the largest bowl I have every seen with the longest wooden spoon I have even seen. She would mix it for what seemed to be hours. To me it was magic. I was in awe every time I saw how much the butter and sugar increased in volume and how creamy and fluffy it got.  Then in went all the other yummy ingredients.  My absolute favourite part of it all, was sharing the duties of bowl licking with my younger brother.  My mom would let us dip our tiny hands into the ginormous bowl and lick them clean. Yes, our hands; not fingers.  After helping out a few times over the years, we figured out that if we moved the bowl away from Mom’s peripheral, we would have more time with the yumminess before we would hear Mom call our names saying; “that’s enough, you will get a stomach ache”.  I know, totally genius right?!

Chez Fran Desserts logo

You see, we didn’t have many luxuries growing up so we weren’t raised to over value material things.  What we had an abundance of was love. For Mom, baking was a way for her to share love through the works of her hands.  She baked with love in her heart which she extended to others willingly and with pride. Many who know my mother would agree that the word “love” perfectly summarizes who she is.

All those times she spent baking with us weren’t about baking, my mother taught me to seize the moment. There is no better time spent with the people you love than creating something that you will all enjoy. There was never a preconceived agenda besides spending quality time and enjoying each other’s company. And now that I’m a mother of two, I’m imparting the same value to them. Baking taught me to be emotionally and physically present with the ones I love. I am proud to say that I bake with love and share the works of my hands so others can experience a portion of that love. It’s an amazing legacy to pass on. 
Yummy peanut brittle by Frances Findley-Murray

What value does your baking hold with your husband? Is he feeling the love too?

Interestingly enough, my husband grew up with his Mom and family members baking. Eating baked-from-scratch goods is a standard luxury that he’s accustomed to.  He definitely appreciates when I bake at home and is my resident taste tester and critic. I asked him this question directly and was pleasantly surprised by this answer:

 “It was great seeing my mom bake when I was young. I enjoyed the warm, pleasant smell it gave the house and licking the bowl from what was left of the cake batter was a must. I always looked forward to that. It was a moment shared with my little brother, as our little fingers cleaned the bowl. It taught us the meaning of sharing and giving. Not only did our household experience the pleasantries of my mother’s fingers, but the community around was also able to take part in this experience. My mom baked traditional Caribbean treats for my friends and neighbours that kept them anticipating when the next fix would be. Bulla, rum cake and banana cake to name a few, were some of her most popular. Now that I am both a husband and father and having a wife that is so talented with a wisk and cake pan, I have been able to see the continuation of those same shared experiences that I had when I was a child. My kids often come home and ask, “what is that yummy smell?”, only to see Fran baking away. The kids are also given opportunities to bake with Fran. They stand on a small chair to help pour ingredients and mix the batter. It is in these quality moments that they are creating memories that will stay with them a lifetime. The smiles on their faces as I am able to witness are all signs of love, sharing and giving.”
 amazing black kids decorating their cupcakes
My children on the other hand think baking with Mommy is the most amazing thing in the world.  Their eyes light up every time as they scurry to get their aprons and step stools.  I absolutely love it!  While there are quite a few educational and social benefits to baking, the joy I experience while baking with them have little to do with them or the finished product.  There’s an overwhelming feeling I get from being privy to the zeal my kids have for something that I love doing. I am honored to share this love while passing down a family tradition.  I get to relive the happiness from baking as a child with my Mom.
pretty black girl eating cupcakes
My little girl has definitely caught the experimental baking bug. One of the funniest baking memories I have is of her telling the whole world on social media that we were going to pour syrup on our baked-from-scratch-cookies.  She is always willing to add a little bit of this and a little bit of that to whatever we bake. Getting her to eat her concoctions after is a whole other thing; “Mommy, I kind of like it but I’m going to save it for later” she says.  Cracks me up every time.  My littlest one is quite young and I think he just loves hanging out with Mommy more than anything. They are truly precious.

 

Frances’ passion for baking goes far beyond the taste and presentation of her delectable treats. Her vision for Chez Fran Desserts involves teaching others to mix affection, time, laughter and of course, sugar to create sweet love memories to last a life time.

Do you bake with family members? Leave some of your favorite creations in the comments below.

 

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