I just celebrated another year on the planet with a food feast. I love being the host. It gives me such great satisfaction to prepare a meal that feeds not only the belly, but the soul. It feeds my soul to get in the kitchen, play around, and to pour my heart into something that my friends and family will savor.
I spend hours reading about food and cocktails and recipes. I spend days planning menus. I spend a ridiculous amount of money and energy so that everything is just right. It all brings me such intense pleasure. I listen to a podcast called the Good Life Project & there was a recent episode where he talked about the act of creating art is when he is most spiritually connected. Getting in the kitchen, and creating something from scratch, is that way for me.
In my endeavor to do something new this week, I baked a cake from scratch. One girlfriend was stunned when I told her I had never made a cake from scratch. I’ve opened a box and made modifications, but never flour, water and tadah… you have a cake.
As I sit here pondering this post, I am recalling a brief foray into the cup-cake, but I really wanted to make a cake-cake. My coworker was going on and on about this whipcream pound cake she makes at the holidays. It sounded amazing and simple, so I decided to give it a go.
I creamed my butter and sugar in my fancy kitchenaid, added eggs, sifted flour, and added my personal touch of lemon zest. I first realized something wasn’t quite right when I poured my beautiful fluffy batter into the bundt pan when I got to the bottom of the mixing bowl and there was batter not mixed up. That part stayed in the bowl.
Next thing that wasn’t quite right was the burnt top that looked like a volcano in Hawaii blew. The final nail in the coffin was that 1/4 of my cake stayed in the pan. My taste testers agreed, good flavor, good texture, but clearly something wasn’t right.
I divided my recipe by three and made a small test batch. Closer, much closer. The third and final run, I made a last small variation and came up with a good flavor and beautiful crumb. In my test, I had used mini bundt pans and stuck with those in the final version.
Since the final cake that was served was a mini cake, I feel like I need to tackle the cake challenge again. Conversley, the rest of the dinner was pretty freakin’ awesome, if I must say so. Made the family red gravy (pasta sauce) and fresh baked bread. First time in sveral years I’ve had a really good playtime in the kitchen. Breaking a shoulder will do that.
One question that I have for my baker friends is kitchenaid versus handheld mixer. I got better incorporation of ingredients with the handheld than I did with the kitchen aid. Is this normal of a kitchenaid? I was really disappointed in that.
I’m really enjoying being back in the cooking groove!