I suffer from acute astraphobia, which is the fear of storms. I’ve had this fear from as far back as I can remember – I’ve had dreams of storms chasing me; of running from skyscraper-height tsunamis; of being unable to move while a storm pummels towards me.  With the pending arrival of Hurricane Irene, I have entered into full-on panic mode.

 When I was 10, the East Coast was preparing for Hurricane Gloria – which was billed as the worst hurricane in years. I remember my dad putting masking tape in an “X” on all the windows. School was closed (it was a Friday). Everyone went nuts buying toilet paper and batteries. by the time that Friday morning had arrived, I was so completely overcome with fear, that I ran straight from my bed to my parents’ basement, and hung out there, alone, for the entire day.

Nothing happened.

One would think this would have eradicated said astraphobia, but no. It somehow intensified it. I think back on that incident often, and always with agitation. And now, it’s all coming back to me.

This has absolutely nothing to do with baking. I apologize. I can’t even think about baking right now, unless it were to bake myself a wind-resistant cake hut from which I could gain both shelter and sustenance. Although, I will admit, that baking does still provide the ultimate distraction for my woeful mind. We made some particularly challenging and complicated cakes in class this week, and I have to say, they couldn’t have come at a better time. For 8 hours, I was so focused on the cakes, my mind wouldn’t allow thoughts of anything else to enter and distract it from the task at hand.

shelter from the storm.

This cake was one of two similar cakes, with the only difference being one was made with caramel mousse, and one with peanut butter mousse. Both were category fives on the hurricake scale, with gale-force flavor, and mouth-flooding richness. This was by far, the best cake I’ve ever had. For your sake, I hope my astraphobia is unfounded, so I can make it again for your dessert-eating pleasure.

Batten down the hatches, folks – a storm is a’ coming. In all seriousness, stay safe. I’ll be in the basement.


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