I turned twenty two yesterday! Such a nice symmetrical number.
However… I obviously can’t take the credit for all this awesomeness, as without a mother I clearly wouldn’t be here at all. Here’s what she has to say about all these bun in the oven shenanigans:
Twenty-two years ago, mere hours after I’d been swing dancing at a wedding, Hayley decided to make a speedy entrance into the world!! Originally, this wedding was supposed to take place on a boat sailing around SF Bay—good thing they chose a docked, historical ,version instead, since her Daddy was the best man! Call the Coast Guard!! She allowed us to get home from this big event, tired and happy, but then, since all of the dancing had stopped for her mom, she decided that it was time to do the baby cha-cha! Daddy-to-be couldn’t believe that it was time to watch the clock—he just tried to talk me into going back to sleep. Persistent baby….apparently, Hayley was *not* pleased that she missed the party AND the cake, and decided that she’d had enough gestation….et voila! Punctual baby, punctual person! Early am, September 23rd! Daddy even remembered to throw the tuxes in with the suitcase, so he could return them!! Who gave the man with the really pregnant wife the tuxes to return!?
There you have it. My entire personality in a nutshell can be determined from birth: I’m punctual, polite (I waited), and I love cake. Don’t try to stand between me and my cake.
And birthdays mean cake! Annnddd fun candles. So since I’m secretly a five year old inside, I requested funfetti from scratch, with MEGA sprinks. And my lovely mama made it for me! How fab is that. How very civilized having someone else make cake for you.
A tres fabulous birthday weekend all around… AND I have leftover cake. Winner winner, funfetti dinner! Ha.
Recipe from Sweetapolita! The only changes we made were whipped cream frosting instead of buttercream (I like whipped cream better), and a teeny cake in 6″ cake pans (also whole wheat pastry flour, natch). AND mega sprinks. Some were dino shaped. Feel free to be jealous, veryyy veryyy jealous, that I have such an awesome mutti who buys dino sprinks. Hehee.
I missed my blog’s first birthday!! Sheeesh. I feel like a bad parent. BUT. I baked it a cake! And an adorable one (okay, two), at that. I had to celebrate somehow, and besides everyone wins when there’s cake around. But really, I thought wordpress might give me a heads up like, “oh hey, you’ve had a blog for a year, yeahhhh!” or something. Anything. BUT NO. So all of a sudden I realized it was July… and I had, in fact, started blogging last June. Fail. Oh well! Absolved. By cake.
Besides… I’m quite proud of having stuck with this! A year(ish) ago, I set a goal to start a food blog. I didn’t really have any parameters regarding said goal, just that since I was moving into my own apartment for my senior year at Willamette, I wanted a way to keep my diet interesting and a push to try new things. Besides, I’d kind of wanted to start one ever since I had started reading blogs to begin with! Sooo… Wait are those…Cookies was born! In the summer, natch, so I could iron out any kinks before the crazy of school started. (And figure out creative things to do with mega boatloads of zucchini… heads up, zucchini season is almost upon us in the garden out back… consider yourself appropriately warned).
Since I started posting mid June last year, I’ve posted 85 times (pretty good, considering the 92 page thesis beast that I cranked out spring semester), and had an even 4500 hits from across the world (who knew I was internationally interesting?! I certainly didn’t. Maybe it’s the irreverence)! Pretty good, for a blog that got started on a whim (and considering that I don’t really follow a regular schedule for this biz… I only post when the muses move me. Ha.). Anyway… throughout all this ridiculousness, I’ve learned lots of interesting tidbits… How to make lemon curd. And go through a jar of pb a week (oh wait. That is probably innate… never mind). And that you can bake cookies on your dashboard (personal fave). AND that goat cheese, while undeniably delicious, when paired with creme fraiche and tucked into a tart shell, is probably enough to put you and your roomie into an extended food coma for about a week. Whatever. Worth it.
So. I went from being an incoming undergraduate senior mildly concerned about thesis writing to a fully matriculated real person with a BA in art history and the best job ever. Yoga benefits + active wear alll the time = too perfect for words. Thanks, not-so-baby food blog (you’re ONE year old!!), for feeding me through my misadventures in the kitchen and in life. Enjoy your cake :)
Lemon Chiffon Cake with Lemon Curd and Whipped Cream Frosting
I made a half recipe in a 9 by 9 pan, and then cut rounds out for two baby, two layer cakes. The full recipe makes two 8″ or 9″ round cake layers. These can be sliced in half for a total of 4, if you like. I’ll include the full recipe here—halve if you want smaller cakes like mine. Don’t try to stack them too high though—I found the lemon curd to be mega slippery and one of my cakes was less than structurally sound. oops. I frosted mine with whipped cream, because it’s delicious. And pretty. Cake and lemon curd slightly adapted from Whole Living, here!
This cake is also decently not horrible for you: the cake (minus cream) is cholesterol free with skim milk, and has heart-healthy canola oil + lemons (ridiculously high in Vit. C and antioxidants). YAYY! A wonderfully summery cake, when you don’t want something heavy. It’s just sweet enough to satisfy without putting you in a coma…
Putz around in your kitchen until you’ve acquired the following:
For the cake!
1.5 c whole wheat pastry flour, sifted*
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar, divided
1/2 c milk (whatever you have is fine, I used 1%. Non dairy I’m sure is okay too)
1/3 c canola oil
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
zest of one lemon
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
4 egg whites
*use the spoon and level method to measure: spoon flour into measuring cup, then scrape off the excess with the flat of a knife. Since this is a sponge cake, you want maximum lightness/airiness. Too much flour= heavy cake!
Frosting: 1 pint of whipped cream (or 2 pints for a full-sized cake), plus powdered sugar and vanilla (to taste)
For the curd*:
I’ll include the recipe for the curd I used for this cake, but I really prefer the curd I made before, even though it’s slightly less good for you. If you’re avoiding butter, use the one below, if not, I highly recommend this one!! If you don’t have Meyer lemons, that’s fine: just use regular.
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 and 1/3 c granulated sugar
zest of half a lemon
1/2 c fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons, depending on size) + 1.5 c water
1/3 c cornstarch (organic, if you please!)
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
I recommend making the curd earlier in the day before the cakes, so that it has time to chill. (Or you can be like me and do it the morning a water main explodes at the top of your street, meaning no water for you! That was interesting…). Lightly beat egg yolks in a heatproof bowl, and set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, lemon zest, cornstarch, and salt, and whisk to combine. Add in lemon juice and water, whisk until sugar and cornstarch have dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Cook two minutes. Reduce heat to low, gradually whisk a ladle-full of the lemon mixture into the egg yolks, then pour this mixture back into the pan (still constantly whisking!). Cook over medium heat for about 2.5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Let cool in a bowl with plastic wrap on the surface to prevent a skin; when cool enough, put it in the fridge to chill (at least an hour).
For the cake: preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease your desired pan. Cut parchment paper to line the bottom, and then grease that.
In a large bowl, whisk together 1/4 c sugar, milk, oil, vanilla, lemon zest, and lemon juice. In a smaller bowl, sift flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
Put egg whites into a non reactive bowl (I like to use the bowl of my Kitchenaide, plus a handheld electric mixer), and beat on medium speed until foamy. Raise speed to medium-high and gradually add remaining 1/4 c sugar + 2 tbsp, continuously beating until stiff peaks form.
Add half the flour mixture to the milk mix; whisk until smooth. Fold in remaining flour in three batches, alternating with the beaten egg whites (Try not to over-fold the batter; since the idea here is a light cake! But neither do we want pockets of flour… fold with purpose!). Pour the batter into the prepared pans, and bake until a tester comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Mine came out perfectly at 18 (my gas oven runs *very* efficiently). Let cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack. Remove parchment paper, and invert again (so the cake is right-side up). Let cool completely.
While cake is cooling, whip yo’ cream! In that same non reactive bowl (hopefully cleaned of egg white reside, thanks), beat cream until it starts to hold shape… then add a few spoonfuls of powdered sugar and a glug of vanilla. Beat until it holds stiff peaks (not too far, no one wants butter!). It can chill for a bit in the fridge before frosting, but not necessary.
Stack with layers with lemon curd in between (beware slippage!), and frost with whipped cream. Can be stored in the fridge for a few hours, but try to eat as promptly as possible (whipped cream frosting looks prettiest when eaten sooner rather than later).