I’m torn. Or, I’m of two minds. On the one hand, tradition is a great thing, offering stability in these troubled times (a bit of angsty saga there, eh?). On the other hand, some might consider baking the same cake (yes, we're talking about cake here) as THE birthday cake month after month, year after year is akin to being in a rut.
I think it depends on the cake in question. Some cakes deserve to be consumed on a regular basis. For many years the only birthday cake in our house was an old-fashioned cocoa cake with cocoa frosting. Three layers of OMG this is freaking amazing. (Hubby is a rebel and always wants an apple pie for his birthday “cake”.)
As a youngster quite often my birthday cake was a spice cake with Seven Minute Frosting (cooked egg white frosting = food of the gods). So when I think of that cake, spice cake with the meringue frosting, I’m transported back to the halcyon days of my childhood. And that’s a good thing. That’s what tradition means. Comfort and stability and damn good cake.
So which cake will I bake for the birthday this weekend? I’m torn.
Happy New Year!!!
How’s your headache? <grin>
The beginning of a new year means one thing for some people – resolutions. I’ve never done well with resolutions – I’m probably doing it wrong. I think it’s nigh on impossible to wake up on January 1 and BAM, start working out every day. Or POW, quit caffeine. Or SHAZAM, stay away from chocolate.
I read a blog post the other day that resonated with me. In it, the author talked about wanting to make positive changes in her life but she understood her limitations and was willing to compromise on the steps she would need to take. What she called half-assing a habit. (Go read the post and then come back.)
That’s how I’ll approach my resolution to eat healthier. I know myself too well to even attempt to go cold turkey when it comes to sweets and baked goods. It just wouldn’t happen. So my half-ass attempt at eating healthier will mean one cookie instead of four. Bread only on the weekend. And only one slice of this killer cake per day. (I baked this cake for a New Year’s Eve party and bonfire last night. Ridiculously delicious. But it didn't rise like it should have so was a little...dense. Still wonderfully rummy though.)
Are you one who makes a resolution every New Year? Do you stick with it for the entire 365 days of the year?
Today is National Bake Cookies Day. Seems to me we just celebrated cookie day. *scrolls back through previous posts and discovers it was Homemade Cookie Day*
Not that I’m complaining, mind you. One can never have too many cookies. Unless one eats too many and one feels ill afterward. Glad that’s never happened to me. Certainly never the still-warm cookies that require taste testing.
This is prime baking season in my house. My fruitcake was baked a month ago and has been “fed” with whisky every Wednesday since. Why Wednesday? Why not?
I’ve baked these chocolate chip cookies twice in the past month. I’ve also baked a test recipe for America’s Test Kitchens, and a batch of Pecan Fingers. Yesterday I baked Swedish Christmas Cookies and a second batch of Pecan Fingers. I predict there’ll be at least one more batch of Pecan Fingers before the end of the year. They’re hubby’s favourite.
I don’t often veer from the tried and true cookie recipes. They’re part of what makes this season so special. A real tree in the corner, a turkey in the oven, and a plate of sugar cookies, shortbread cookies, and Pecan Fingers all combine to make the season bright. <grin>
Do you have foods that scream “Christmas” to you?
National Brownie Day (today) should be celebrated more than once a year, in my opinion. Seriously. Does anyone eat brownies only one day a year?
There are two camps when it comes to brownie texture – fudgy and dense, or lighter and more cake-like. I fall in—both camps. I confess that I more-often-than-not bake a fudgy brownie but I wouldn’t refuse a cakey brownie if offered one. (Full disclosure, I won’t refuse any sweet baked good. And if it’s chocolate there had better be another portion with my name on it.)
Here’s the recipe for brownies I make most often. Actually, this is the brownie recipe in my house. Super easy and super chocolatey. Quite often – ah, most of the time – erm, all the time I put icing on these babies. Vanilla icing is good. Vanilla icing with the addition of finely grated orange zest and a few tablespoons of orange juice instead of milk or cream is even better. (Makes a chocolate-orange kind of flavour – yum!)
Cocoa Brownies (adapted from Bon Appetit)
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 ¼ cups white sugar
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Preheat over to 325F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, leaving a one-inch overhang, pressing firmly into corners, and spray with non-stick oil spray.
In a medium sauce pan, melt butter over low heat. With a spatula or wooden spoon stir in white sugar and cocoa powder until blended (sugar will not melt). Remove from heat, stir in salt and vanilla. Allow to cool for 5 minutes then stir in eggs, beating well. Stir in flour and chocolate chips (and pecans if using). Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until centre is set.
Remove from oven and cool completely on wire rack. Using edges of foil, lift from pan and cut into squares. Makes 16 (for normal people, makes 8 in our house - ha!).
Are you a fudgy brownie or a cakey brownie person?
P.S. Pre-order links for Love and Turmoil, just in case you’re in the mood for a fun, steamy romance. This book goes well with brownies.