Given that it is but two days after one of the most indulgent meals of the year, I suspect the last thing you want to hear about is the most indulgent cake I have ever made, and yet, given the quality of the last two vegetable-focused, lighter dishes I have made — both of which I’d give a resounding “eh” — trust me, what I’ve got going on here is much more worthy of your attention, and your table at some distant dinner party. So pull up a chair.
Celebration Cakes Archive
My friend Molly — she of the dry-rubbed ribs and apple tarte tatin fame — is leaving us for the kind of love that requires one to take up residence in another state. We’re all mighty bummed out about this and not making it easy on her, not only pouting over her imminent departure at every turn but insisting that she perform her half-day rib magic one last time at her going-away party this weekend.
Some people find out they’re going to be parents and — you know, after the whole “yay babies!” cheer has simmered down a bit — freak out because they haven’t yet a) traveled the world, b) made their first million, paid off all of their debt and saved up enough for $200 toys for their little snowflake or c) well, grown up yet. But me, I actually had a moment of panic because I hadn’t yet found the perfect yellow layer cake recipe. And apparently — and yes, probably ridiculously — central to my image of the kind of mom I want to be is not to have to turn to a box of Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Butter Recipe Golden (anyone else ever been perplexed by this wording?) cake mix to get a reliably perfect two-layer celebration cake. It’s the Smitten Kitchen, afterall: People have expectations!
I turned 33 this week, but seeing how I’m a little preoccupied these days with someone else’s impending birthday, I might have brushed over this occasion completely, had it not been for a confluence of events — a fierce craving for Peking duck (then dragging both of our families into it’s crispy-skinned grasp), the decision to schedule our housewarming mocktail/cocktail party the next day (requiring baked goods involving cheese, of course) and the fact that it gave me an excuse to conquer a cake that has been vexxing me for the last year and a half.
My mother turned sixty-five last month, a number that’s just impossible for me to get my head around because she’s my mom, and grandmothers are 65, not moms. Oh wait. I think I just got it.
People, I am so excited about this recipe, it’s pretty much all I can talk about this week. I mentioned it to a broker who showed us another dud of an apartment (more about that if/when we make it out alive). I mentioned it to a friend who doesn’t eat sweets (and we’re still friends! Really, it’s more for everyone else.). And I tried to explain it to another friend who has probably never baked in her life, who politely nodded, smiled and scooted out of the room. As you can see, I can be incredibly boring when I get excited about cooking. That’s what you’re here for.