If there is anything as magnificent as October in New York City, well, I don’t believe you. The trees I didn’t know we had deposit rust-colored leaves all over the sidewalks, the sky is impossibly blue, the air drinkably crisp and suddenly, you can walk for miles and never feel overheated or spent. It leads to a lot of trips to the market. Even when we don’t need anything, we just make up excuses to go, like just to get a tiny apple for our 13 month-old anti-New Yorker who smiles at and chats (“Ga-ga! Gaga!”*) willingly with strangers who pass him on the sidewalk and if that hasn’t charmed you yet, imagine this same child clutching a handful of flowers the eggplant lady at the market gave him to give to his mama. Seriously, guys, New York City is sweet in the fall.
Everyday Cakes Archive
Chocolate gets stiffed every summer in my kitchen and this one has been no different. Apparently, the only time I have come near chocolate with a ten foot pole this summer was more than six weeks ago, when I made some impromptu chocolate doughnut holes in the lull between rhubarb/strawberry season and every awesome fruit since. And I love chocolate like some people love bagels. This isn’t right.
I have to apologize in advance: this is a cookbook reject. I know! “A reject?!” you’re probably thinking. “Now why would I want your rejects?” Because this is a delicious reject; it failed because I decided to go in another direction, such a different direction that about the only thing the other one has in common is the word “buckle” and I’m probably renaming it anyway. Gosh, I sure like to make things difficult, though that’s not really news.
I spend a ridiculous amount of time falling in love with recipes from the title alone and then talking myself out of making them. Take this Pecan Cornmeal Butter Cake recipe run alongside a New York Times article about Durham, North Carolina, where hundreds of acres that were once used to grow tobacco have been transitioned to sprout peas, strawberries, fennel and artichokes, and that now house chickens, lambs, rabbits and cows. The warehouses once used to dry tobacco are being converted to art studios, bio labs and radio stations. You know, because I didn’t have enough reasons to love North Carolina.
Seeing as I can’t get enough of those I Don’t Need A Special Occasion To Make Cake Cakes and also those Of Course You Can Stop By At The Last Minute (psst, ’cause I’d already made some cake) Cakes, I am clearly long overdue to make a classic French yogurt cake. I first learned about yogurt cakes nearly five years ago from Clotilde; they’re perfect anytime-of-day cakes (bless the French for understanding the utmost importance of this), not too sweet, fluffy and perfect just from the oven or wrapped in plastic for a day or two, as the corners soften. Most people don’t measure them — the math is based on the volume of your yogurt cups (they use two), to which you add an equal amount of sugar, a double amount of flour, a little less than one of oil, two eggs and some leavener and flavors.
Many good things happened this weekend. First, we abruptly ended my unsavory spell of cold weather lament by taking Jacob to see Central Park in all of its snowy glory, reminding me, yet again, why seeing the city muffled and blanketed is the highlight of my winter. Nothing cures you of greyslushdisgust faster than views like these.
Given my fixation with both walnuts and everyday cakes, it should come as exactly no surprise that the time between me spying this recipe and me getting it in the oven was about six days. Which is the equivalent of less than one day in If You Don’t Have An Impish Four-Month Old terms. I fell for it quickly, it came together even faster (spoiler: the whole thing can be made in a single-bowl food processor) and all of that voluptuous stuff on top — a schmear of jam and a “drift” of whipped cream that’s been tarted up with a little sour cream — are standard no-fuss ingredients. This cake is an easy win.