Life Lesson

Sometimes, you make a cake. A wonderful cake. A delicious cake, crafted with love and attention to detail and quality ingredients for a special person on a special occasion. You bake the cake, checking it intermittently like a sleeping infant, testing its crumb for tenderness. You remove the cake, in all of its antique-bundt pan glory, and let it rest on the counter. Maybe not for long enough. You take that great sunshine yellow Fiestaware platter of your grandmother’s and do the cool flip-the-cake thing that all good bakers know how to do without burning themselves (you did not burn yourself), and you let the cake rest again in its prone position, allowing gravity to slowly suck the cake down from the bundt pan crevices. Later, you gently tap the exposed underside of the pan and lift it — hoping to reveal a magnificent golden creation, the steam wafting and the aroma filling the kitchen…………………  And then it’s all a broken mess. And you are disappointed because the buildup was so immense. And it’s for a birthday – someone’s birthday!!! – so things like this should be perfect, both for their sake and for yours. But life doesn’t always work out that way. So you take a fork – the proportion of forks to spoons in your silverware drawer is astonishing, by the way – and scrape away the cake still clinging to the pan, that stubborn cake that would not bake correctly, it just would not. You pile the remnants of cake crust on a little plate and stare forlornly at the desiccated mess on the Fiestaware, and decide that a rustic, deconstructed look is just what you were going for. An amaretto-powdered sugar glaze would set off everything nicely. Then you take a bit of those remnants. Damn. That’s a good cake.

Amaretto Cake

1 1/2 c. sugar

2 c. sifted flour

3 eggs, separated

1 c. sour cream

1/4 c. Amaretto (I used Amore)

1 tsp. each baking powder and baking soda

1 tsp. grated orange peel

1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Whip separated egg whites until still peaks form. Cream together the butter, sugar and amaretto until fluffy. Beat in egg yolks one by one, then fold in beaten egg whites, making sure not to deflate the whites. In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients, and then stir in the sour cream until well combined. Combine the two wet mixtures and grate in the zest of an orange. Just a bit, enough to give the cake a hint of citrus. Pour the batter into a buttered, floured pan — and I would not recommend a bundt pan here unless you’re a rockstar — and bake for about 50 minutes.  Enjoy, savor, and don’t worry what it looks like because it’s just that delicious.

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4 thoughts on “Life Lesson

  1. Assuming you grease/flour your pans, if you set a towel in your sink, run hot water over it until it’s steaming, and then place your cake over the still steaming towel for thirty seconds (ish, I’m not sure on the specifics), cakes remove a lot cleaner. Or at least my poppy seed bundt pan cakes did 🙂

  2. Grocery Store In my pantry « Moveable Feast

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