Piece of cake

I spent the majority of my Sunday in and out of the kitchen – cleaning a little, but mostly freezing fresh tomatoes and some chickpeas I cooked on Saturday, simmering enough stock to use for dinner with some left for the freezer, cooking dinner, and even making some dessert. Sometimes you build up that kitchen momentum and it would be dangerous to stop. Plus, I learned today that freezers run more efficiently when nearly full, so the fact that I added all of the above mentioned things to ours makes me feel like I did a good thing.

Even though it was still in the 80s when we sat down to dinner last night, I was dead-set on having soup. This soup in particular caught my eye after buying my first leeks ever at the farmer’s market on Saturday. My version was quite similar but with olive oil instead of butter (we’re out) and, sadly, there was no dill to be found at my usual markets. It was still lovely and warming and hearty and I know it will be perfect in about two months when I’m coming home with frozen hair.

I hope you click over to the recipe because her picture is quite impressive and my picture is, well, I don’t have a picture. What I do have is four different shots of blinding white light that might be bowls of soup. Now that it’s getting dark earlier and we use those low watt cfl bulbs (hides the dirt – try it!), it’s almost impossible for me to get a decent picture. I really don’t know how to use the camera, to be honest, and it’s not actually mine.

I did get a shot or two of this:

what's more comforting than cake?

what's more comforting than cake?

I baked a cake! All by myself! People who know me in real life might be aware that, while I’m obviously an accomplished home cook, I’m not much of a baker. And, aside from the occasional batch of cookies, I try to stick to what I know. But, when I was visiting my family a few months back, my mother patiently stood with me while I made my first zucchini bread and “helped” me make a pound cake. Since then I baked 2 loaves of zucchini bread before I put my hand mixer back in the bottom drawer where it belongs. With all of the other stuff I don’t use.

But this? This was easy. I stumbled on this recipe last week and when I bought a pint of raspberries at the farmer’s market this weekend, I knew I wanted to try it. While the soup was cooking, I bravely preheated the oven and got to work. The batter was thicker than I expected but other than that, it went off without a hitch.

I’m glad I had the foresight to take that picture before I “plated it” because I did a truly horrifying job removing the cake from the pan, and it fell apart in about 25 different pieces. Oh well. Easier for snack-size servings. It tasted great, and the raspberries were a good counter to the sweetness of that 3/4 cup of sugar. I’d like to reduce the sugar next time, but I’m not sure what would happen if I did. Do you know? This is why baking makes me nervous. Because of science.

I just had another piece, and I can’t help but think how nice it would be to have a homemade cake on hand all the time.

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3 Responses to Piece of cake

  1. Donna says:

    Sugar adds moistness and some volume to baking. It actually counts as a “wet” ingredient, not a dry one like flour.

    You can reduce sugar in most recipes by about 1/3 without too great an effect, but you may want to add in something to replace some of the moisture/volume. Maybe a little mashed banana or applesauce, just like you would for cutting back the fat?

    Baking is mostly experimentation, just like science is. Don’t be afraid, just try some stuff. Put on a lab coat if it makes you feel better about it. Extra bonus: no flour on your clothes!

  2. Donna says:

    P.S. I’ll be able to advise you better if you start bringing me samples of your experiments. 🙂

  3. So glad you made this easy peasy cake! Yours looks terrific! – mary the food librarian

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