This is the story of a girl who was hungry.
For what, I am oft unsure. But after decades of turning down dessert, of declaring a war against sugar, of craving salty over sweet at first glance, well? It appears I’ve changed my mind, and very much so.
Just this week, I have pulled the following from my oven: a lovely lemon blueberry crumble, lightly browned and rising inches beyond its’ aluminum girdle. A smooth, decadent flourless dark chocolate cake, a pint of macerated strawberries nearby for glazing. A milk and wildflower honey cake with hand-whipped maraschino cream, packed lovingly into a picnic basket with plastic forks.
In truth, I can’t tell you what’s come over me. I can only tell you that my enamel bowl once reserved for an occasional hand-kneading of bread now has deep scratches from dripping whisks, metal mixers, golden tasting spoons.
I can only tell you, too, that I plan to stop never.
12 cakes, then. One per month, although I’ve admittedly been “testing” roughly three a week. I’ll save my favorites for you, my leftovers for (very pleased) neighbors.
The first crowdpleaser is up next week, and in preparation, here are a few supplies I’ve been ever-reliant on since this phase (obsession?) sparked last January:
I live by a 3×3 rule for investing in cookbooks, and it’s simple: If, after borrowing it from our local library, I find at least 3 recipes that I happen to cook at least 3 times each, it’s worth the investment. An arbitrary rule if ever there was one, but I do love a good made-up rule, and this one works for me.
And so, in the spirit of delicious simplicity, these made the cut (click image to peruse):
Four months ago, I didn’t own a mixer. (Fun fact: it was not an unlikely experience to see Ken mixing cookie dough with a power drill.) And yet: is this newfound hobby just a phase? Do I want to invest in a pricy stand mixer in the name of a 4-month obsession?
Short answer: nope.
For the novice bakers out there, here’s all I’ve needed to dip my oven mitts into the world of cake, cake, glorious cake:
Don’t ever let anyone tell you baking requires schmancy supplies. Just add parchment paper, deal?
Up next week: milk and wildflower honey cake, or more aptly named – The Thank-Your-Weary-Church-Staff-Cake. Best served with a side of hugs and plastic forks.
But first, a reminder for us all — May we be ever-surprised by our own capacity for change.
Here’s to licking the batter, every last bit of it.
Must be something in the air! I’ve been finding myself doing the same thing lately ☺️.
Something in the air indeed! Enjoy, Sarah! :)
Baking – ‘love in action’, to share with family and friends. A thank you munch for co-workers, and volunteers. A welcome tid-bit for new neighbours and those we don’t know, just because. Can we take this love a bit further by embracing our earth, seas and sky by ditching all things plastic? Including plastic forks, single use plastic plates, plastic water bottles. Use recyclable bamboo forks, spoons and knives, un-dyed maybe not as fancy paper napkins? Serve those baked goods from reusable plates, bowls, eco-friendly, chemical free containers? The little extra bit of love for animals, birds, and fish will be equally appreciated as those blueberry lemon scones, gluten free coffee cake : )
I love your conviction, Susan! Thanks for calling this out. :) You’re absolutely right, and I often need this very reminder. Appreciate you!
Great post! Welcome to the club! I’m interested in your cookbook suggestions!
Oh yay – happy to share!
Buy the KitchenAid mixer. You will love it, and you will wonder how you lived without it. Take this from someone who put off the purchase for over a decade.
Ha – thank you, Eleanor! Admittedly, I just don’t want to give up my counter space. :)
Thank you so much for sharing this! I too love baking, and the joy it bring my friends and family. But lately, with the health crazes being everywhere (even in our own home), I have felt guilty about baking and have been avoiding it, but find I miss it’s presence in my life! Thank you for sharing the enjoyment you have found! I don’t know why I allow myself to feel trapped in other’s convictions. If I have a desire to bake cookies or some scones for my family, or even share them with my church family, I can and should! Your article was such a beautiful reminder to me that it’s a blessing to share the joy of baking.
Sara! I had this same hunch a few months ago. I felt myself apologizing for the contents — “Sorry, it’s loaded with sugar!” or “Definitely not gluten-free!” And while I’m attempting to rotate in a few more nutritious options, the age-old standby of butter, sugar, eggs, flour, salt is classic for a reason. It’s brought such joy to our lives this spring!
Better late than never! You will have several very willing samplers at Easter, if you need any second, third, or fourth opinions!
Ohh I’m excited about this. No one warned me about “postpartum baking” but I think it’s a real thing, at least in my house! I’ve caught the baking bug too! I’m looking forward to the honey cake recipe, yum.
Ooh postpartum baking, YES!
It’s the sugar from the wine calling you. I would lecture anyone who would listen about the evils of sugar, tell them that I absolutely did not have a sweet tooth, always the one to go to the big bag of salty chips instead. But oh, once I gave up that nightly glass of wine, that nightly (sneaky) sugar fix, I suddenly found myself eyeing chocolate cake like it was Brad Pitt in Thelma and Louise.
OMG you’re totally right! Same here, word for word. :)
You had me at “hand-whipped maraschino cream”. I’m currently on a restricted diet that excludes all things soy, tofu, dairy (Oh, the horror!), and saturated fats (whatever the hell THOSE are), but your milk and honey cake sounds delish!
Oh, bless you CeCe! If I run across a dairy-free recipes, I’ll send it your way. ;)
Yes, baking it is one of my favorite pastimes. It is my creative space. It is how I welcome neighbors, fight of tears from my boys, feed my clan. Sometimes i make flops but sometimes it is amazing. My sister is always asking for a recipe and I find oh its just a pinch or a handful or just feel it. MY mom is an extraordinary baker and I was raised well how to make cakes and cookies for all occasions. I do find refuge when i bake and my favorite part is giving it all away or congregating around it–the celebration of being. I love that you are embarking on this journey. I know your kitchen smells delicious.
Ahh, Katie – all smiles over here. What a wonderful mother to teach you in the kitchen! Go Gloria, go! ;)
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