Oops. My bad. I talked about Maya Angelou's 2004 cookbook (the post below) and one of the stories about the cake... but I failed to tell the story. My apologies. (I hate it when people do that, too.... tease you and then not share.)
One piece of information that you will need to be aware of is that the carmel cake recipe came from Maya's grandmother. Back in the day ingredients were very hard to come by... there wasn't always brown sugar, or many of the so called standard ingredients, so whenever this cake, or any cake, was made it had to be planned out ahead of time. It was a very big deal to have a cake, a very special occasion.
Here's hoping I remember the story correctly. (that's a disclaimer if I get any detail wrong.)
From the age of 9 to 13 years, Maya was a 'volunteer mute' meaning she could physically talk but did not. This was a result of something that happened to her in her young life. She was sexually abused and raped by her mother's boyfriend. She had told her brother about it who, in turn, told the rest of the family. The man was in jail only one day. Four days later he was found dead, having been beaten to death.
Maya felt her voice, her speaking, had caused someone to die and it could possibly cause another to die.... so she stopped speaking altogether.
A teacher apparently tried to get her to talk. The more she tried, the more frustrated the teacher became until finally she slapped Maya on the face. When Maya got home her family (grandmother, uncles, etc.) could see something was amiss and they kept asking her what was wrong. She finally told them. (She kept a tablet with her and wrote her communications on it.)
Her grandmother, with Maya, walked to the school and spoke to the teacher, asking her "are you someone's grandbaby?" in her country voice. She had to ask a couple of times.
Finally the teacher responded with a puffed up "I'm someone's grand daughter."
Maya's grandmother then reached out and slapped the teacher on the face, turned to Maya and said "well, she's MY grandbaby!" They then turned and left the school and went back home.
The slap was the talk of the school and I imagine the talk of the 'village'. (That's what Maya called it... the village.) But nothing else come from it.
The next day when Maya came home from school her grandma and uncles were all sitting on the porch. One of her uncles told Maya to go inside and get what was on the table and bring it outside to the porch.
(This is where Maya's voice started to quiver and she began to tear up just a little.)
There on the table was a huge carmel cake. A very tall carmel cake. To say it was a surprise would be an understatement. Maya picked up the cake and took it out to the porch. Her grandmother then said to her, 'I cannot take the slap away, but this cake is to tell you how much you are loved.'
Sniffle. Bring me a tissue!!