Plum upside-down cake.

You see that pretty red pan? In the hierarchy of Things That I Love, it’s between The Cat and Butter. Nick bought it for me for my birthday in July, even though my birthday is in April, and since then every time I open its cupboard and it beams up at me, so Crayola-coloured and perfectly suited to meals for two, I feel a rush of joy and an urge to cook something at once.

It’s a pan that insists on upside-down cake. You could make it with pineapple, I guess, but pineapple upside-down cake (you know, with the maraschino cherries?) reminds me of elementary school bake sales and this cookbook my mom had from the 80s where all the pictures were really orange and all the food looked just terrible, and there that cake was, illuminating the page like a fussy yellow and red-nippled monster. My mom says that in the 80s, no one cared as much as we do now about food, and that dinner parties were about party games. Which sort of explains food photography; maybe all the photographers were so exhausted from too many rounds of beer pong that by the time they got to taking pictures of the food, they all decided, “Enh, good enough. Whatever.”

That’s not to say I have anything against pineapple upside-down cake; it has it’s place, to be sure, and whenever I’m visiting octogenarians, there it is.

As nippletastic as the typical upside-down cake is, sometimes it’s fun to deviate from tradition just a touch. And some ingredients lend themselves to caramelization and baked goods. Plums, for example, which are glorious right now, and the farm market is bursting with them in every shade. I have red and purple ones right now. You could use any fruit you like, at any time of year – how lovely this would be with cherries, or peaches. Or oranges – oranges in caramel are almost as seductive as a shiny new cast iron pan, and we’ve almost reached mandarin season. Improvise. Have fun. Giggle inappropriately at every opportunity to do so.

Plum upside-down cake


  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar


  • 5 or 6 plums, enough to fill the bottom of your pan
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup full-fat buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Halve and pit your plums.

In your nine-inch cast-iron pan, heat butter and sugar until bubbling. If you don’t have a nine-inch cast-iron pan, you can use a nine-inch pie plate or cake pan, but your steps will be different; if you’re using a pie plate, heat butter and sugar until bubbling and then pour them into the pie plate.

Meanwhile, beat together sugar, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir together wet ingredients and dry ingredients.

Place plum halves cut-side down in caramel. Pour the cake batter over top, and then place in the oven.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool five minutes in the pan before turning out onto a plate. Serve warm, or reheat later on as needed. There should most certainly be whipped cream or ice cream.

Chocolate zucchini cake: It’s outrageous!

Sometime around the advent of cool fonts and colour printing, my mom brought home a recipe for something called “Outrageous Zucchini Cake,” and the recipe was fantastic (cinnamon! Chocolate! A fat-free variation!) but hand-written (by whom? I still don’t know) so I typed it up in magenta and cyan with MS Word’s “Party” font and thus the recipe was saved for a decade or more in a tattered binder that lives in my parents’ kitchen. It looked so pretty. It still sort of does. Which is why I absconded with it this past weekend.

The cake it produced was delicious, but I forgot about it because I moved out and didn’t take a copy with me, because even then I suspected that making and eating cakes all on my own would turn out to be a bad idea, fat-free variation or not.

I still remember how fat-free was appealing at 17. It is less so at 27.

I’ve revised the recipe, and it’s now somewhere in between really fattening and fat-free – that sane middle ground at which a cake can almost pass for healthy. Also I now rationalize my cake-baking by telling myself that there’s two of us now. I pretend as if Nick ever eats more than a single slice of cake, and it’s a lie I can live with.

“Outrageous” zucchini cake

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose or whole-wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup chopped semi-sweet chocolate or chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F, and grease a 9″x13″ baking pan.

Beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, yogurt, vanilla, and zucchini, and beat until thoroughly combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Stir dry mixture into wet mixture, stirring to moisten.

Pour batter into baking pan, spreading batter to the edges and corners of the pan. Sprinkle evenly with chopped chocolate or chocolate chips, and bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Serve warm, with a tall glass of cold milk.

Some people use air fresheners, but I prefer spicy cakes.

Sometimes I clean around here, and though that doesn’t happen as often as it should, when it does, I’m always a little OCD about the place smelling like it was cleaned. If I can smell it, it’s right, and so from time to time, the bleachy, VIMy, ammonia smells are a little more prominent than they need to be. It’s momentarily satisfying – it’s the way I let Nick know that I don’t always do almost nothing around here. And then I hate it, so baking happens, because spices and vanilla and sugar cover up the smell of cleaning stink and make an apartment feel like home.

Tonight the evening light was golden, and though we’re well into spring, it doesn’t feel too late for cake. The warm glow through the trees seemed to call for something yellow and spicy, and this cake is it. Well, maybe not yellow. Golden, I guess, but definitely spicy. Perfect for brunch or tea.

Ginger spice cake

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. finely ground white pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups plain yogurt
  • 2/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pepper. Mix well.

In a separate bowl, combine yogurt, oil, eggs, and vanilla.

Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients, and combine until wet ingredients are just moistened.

Pour mixture into a greased 9″x13″ pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Serve warm, with whipped cream or ice cream.

Red velvet cupcakes: Handfuls of holiday spirit.

I am still having problems here with photos: Something about an IO Error, and now I can’t upload photos anywhere and my computer caught the herp and I don’t know where it got it but I am displeased. If I ever get it to work again, I’ll show you my pretty cupcakes. Soon, I hope!

You know that scene in A Christmas Story where Ralphie snaps and finally beats the crap out of that ugly ginger kid, buckets of delicious obscenity spewing from his mouth as he pummels the bigger kid’s writhing face? That’s how I feel this week, except I don’t have anything to take it out on. Butter, I guess. I could take it out on butter and maybe make some shortbread this weekend. But it isn’t the same, and besides, if I punched anything in real life it wouldn’t even notice. I have abnormally small fists. Also, the effect of me spewing obscenity would be lost because I killed the novelty of that when I was somewhere around Ralphie’s age.

I’ve been mulling over a post for red velvet cupcakes all week, because I made them on Monday for Tuesday and they were festive, even if my mood hasn’t been. Unfortunately, I ran out of red food colouring, so they were less red-velvet and more “red-violet,” like that Crayola crayon you always thought would be red but always turned out to be a funny sort of pink instead. That’s okay though. People got the gist. I made them for a work thing, even though nobody’s all that excited about work or work things these days – the stress in the office is palpable, and my boss is distracted almost all the time. Someone cried the other day. I don’t know why.

Around here, we’re in need of a serious dose of Christmas spirit.

I thought red cupcakes with white frosting, the occasional one topped with green or red sprinkles, would help. When have cupcakes not helped? Never, that’s when. It’s impossible to feel Grinchy when you’re eating a cupcake, and that’s a fact I’m pretty sure even science can prove. So here. Cupcakes, adapted from Joy of Baking.

Red Velvet Cupcakes, adapted from Joy of Baking

(Makes 14 to 16 cupcakes.)

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp. liquid red food coloring
  • 2 tbsp. raspberry jam
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar


  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin tins with cupcake wrappers.

Whisk together flour, salt, cocoa, and baking soda. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar until smooth, then beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine with flour mixture, adding buttermilk, food colouring, raspberry jam, and vinegar. Mix well.

Pour batter into lined muffin tins. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until cake springs back when pressed gently with a pointer finger.

Cool on wire racks, and then frost, using recipe above (mix stuff together … when it resembles frosting, use it; adjust consistency with confectioner’s sugar or cold milk as needed).

Purists will be all, “jam in red velvet? Regular old icing? The hell?” But that’s okay. Real red velvet cake would be frosted with cream cheese icing. But I didn’t have cream cheese, and this ended up working well enough that I am not going to steer you in a different direction just for tradition’s sake, though you’re welcome to go there if you’d like. Also, pretty as it is, I am just too hippified to dye something red without it tasting like red also … so I added the jam. You don’t have to. But make these cupcakes. They are light and sweet and unusual, with cocoa used more as a spice than as something to turn something else into chocolate. They’re perfect treats that fit into eager little hands, and they’re pretty and will certainly stand out on a dessert table.

Well, there you have it. I am now going to make a large pot of tea and consider my holiday moves. Should I wander down Granville Street, looking into the sparkly windows? Wrap presents and listen to Christmas music until I puke? Or bake something? Maybe I will write my Santa letter, in the hopes that he brings something fantastic, like another year’s worth of vanilla beans, or a high-paying career in food writing. In France. The elves can do anything, you know. Happy holidays!

Cake … again? Or, “How to get ‘curvy’ for winter.”

Yesterday morning Nick, whom I am now referring to as Fruit Fairy, left two lovely red anjou pears on the counter, evidently some sort of gift from people he works with. Earlier this week, he brought home the biggest carrot I’ve ever seen, one that, at its top, was as thick as one of the trees outside.


I was going to make a carrot risotto out of it, but we’re kind of too poor to afford cheese at the moment and are rationing what little we have left. And yesterday it looked like this outside:




And Nick hates it when I put landscapey outdoor pictures on here because he says they’re boring, but he only likes photos of meat and Megan Fox anyway so I don’t have to listen to him, and I wanted to show you why I decided it’d be a good idea to bake another cake. I don’t think I need to defend making two cakes in as many days, but this way you understand my motive. Gigantic produce. Incessant rain. You’d want carrot cake too.

And I made a little carrot cake awhile ago, but this recipe is a little different. It’s based on that recipe, but this one is bigger because that carrot was gigantic and I had different stuff in the fridge and was too lazy and warm to go back outside. These recipes evolve and grow and change, so I don’t think it’s slacking off to post a recipe for something that’s already on here. Maybe it is. No gold-star sticker for me.

Carrot pear cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves
  • 1 tbsp. finely minced fresh ginger
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup grated pear (you don’t have to peel the pear if you don’t feel like it)
  • 3 cups grated carrot
  • 1 cup of the chopped nut or dried fruit of your choice (optional)

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, spices, ginger, and lemon zest.

Once combined, stir in liquids to form a batter, and then stir in grated pear and carrot, and fruit or nuts, if you so desire.

Pour into a greased and floured 9×13 baking pan, and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool on a rack.

Cake on rack.

Once cool, frost with:

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 cup cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine the cheese, butter, sugar, and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Beat well, until perfectly smooth and spreadable. Put on cake.


Then, pour yourself a big glass of something potent, shove the cake into your mouth, and dance around your warm, nice smelling kitchen, possibly in your underpants (which is how I do it), preferably to something really terrible that totally tickles you and that you’re simultaneously kind of embarrassed about liking (*ahem* Taylor Swift *ahem*). This is how cake is best enjoyed. Don’t choke.

Handful of cake + mouth = happy!

Cake for breakfast.

Plums, hacked up.I had a lot of leftover plums. I’d bought some close to the end of the season – a few prune plums, a handful of red plums, some of those translucent-looking yellow ones, and a nectarine I bought on a whim that I thought would ripen but never fully did. All were hugely disappointing – I tasted a few of each and found them to be sour and unpleasant. Boo. But tomatoes, when they’re roasted, no matter how sucky they are when they start out, are always wonderful. The flavour intensifies, and the sweetness creeps out. So why can’t that sort of thing work for plums? Discovery: The same thing totally does work for plums.

Fourteen plums of various sizes, and a nectarine, cut haphazardly/however you feel like cutting them, at 200°F over two-and-a-half to three hours, will reduce and caramelize and sweeten up, giving you about two cups of roasty sticky goodness.

Roasty.Scrape out your pan, syrup and all, into a bowl or something so that you can think about what you want to do with these. They’d be great on their own with ice cream or yogurt, or you could top them with crumbly butter, flour, and sugar and turn them into a crisp. I stored mine in ramekins for a couple of days until I’d decided their fate.

Colours!Their fate turned out to be cake. Breakfast cake. Because I’m a grown-up and I do what I want.

You could make this cake with apples, or even a couple of cups of caramelized, sweetened green tomatoes, if you were so moved. Berries or pears would also be delicious, as would rhubarb. You can make this at any time of year, with whatever fruit you’ve got on hand. I like unfinicky stuff like that.

Here’s the cake. It’s adapted from a recipe from the Fannie Farmer Baking Book.

Fruity Coffee Cake

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup chilled butter
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups soft fruit (such as roasted plums, chunky applesauce, mashed berries, etc.)

Preheat your oven to 375°F. Grease and flour a 9″x13″ baking pan.

Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and mix well. Drop in the butter in cubes, working it in with your fingers to form a coarse crumb. Scoop out about 3/4 cup of these, and set aside.

Add the baking powder, baking soda, and spices to the remaining crumbs, and combine well. Stir in your milk and eggs until a cake batter is formed. This will be a lumpy batter, but don’t worry about it. That’s the butter chunks making it look lumpy, and that’s fine. Once the wet and dry ingredients are thoroughly combined, fold in your fruit.

Spread the batter into your prepared baking pan, making sure the fruit hunks are distributed evenly across the pan. Sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture over the whole cake.

Bake for 30 or so minutes, or until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Serve warm from the pan.

Good-smelling.We ate a bunch of this ourselves, but I also piled some up for Nick and sent it with him to work to make up for his perpetual lateness and hopefully score him awesome points. Since I don’t get awesome points at my work because I’m pretty sure most people don’t like me there, I just brought one piece for one person. He told me the cake was perfect, delicately spiced and actually rather light in spite of all the butter. Good for breakfast, or even dessert after a casual, homey dinner. So there you have it. Cake you can eat anytime.

Stacked cake.

Champion breakfast.

Sponge cake slathered in melted jam, and topped with ice cream. And this is not a blog about eating for your health.

I live with a zombie-blasting puke machine. He’s 27. He wore the same sweatpants for days, and they weren’t even clean when he put them on. And we ate soup.

And then Tuesday came and we finally got to eat the pulled-pork and beans leftovers I brought home from my mom’s on Sunday night. And we went to see Julie & Julia, which was good except that I can’t handle the sounds of eating noises or movie kissing and there it all was in surround sound, and then it became the day before the day before payday, and I plunged deep into the kind of financial despair that usually hits whenever I open my mail, and it seemed like the time to do something responsible. That responsible thing? Using up what’s in the fridge. Fortunately, when Nick was sick, he cleaned the whole apartment, so now I have clean surfaces to work on. So Tuesday night, I roasted some sweet potatoes and tossed them in the fridge for gnocchi, took inventory of crap in the fridge, and decided to make a cake with blueberries.

Is there such a thing as a run-on paragraph? I think there is, because I think I just invented it.


And when I was taking leftovers, I also swiped my mom’s tattered old copy of The New James Beard, which is not new any longer as it’s two years older than I am. But there’s a recipe in it for sponge cake with apricot glaze. A soft, light sponge cake that nearly floats, suspended by the froth of stiff-peak egg whites, sticky with a melted jam glaze that Beard, on page 520, says “makes it rather special.”

Recipe.I added blueberries, and melted some of my peach jam, which became more of a sauce than a glaze, and served the cake with ice cream and fresh berries.

The great thing about this cake, aside from the fact that it’s delightful, to quote Jenna, my Wednesday dinner guest, is that it uses stuff you have on hand. You don’t have to buy anything fancy to make this – just use up what you’ve got.

Sponge Cake, adapted from The New James Beard

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup egg yolks (which should mean the yolks from about six large eggs)
  • 1/4 cup cold orange juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tbsp. orange zest
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (annoyingly, this means about four … save the two whites left over and make yourself an omelet for breakfast or something)
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar (if you don’t have this, don’t panic. The recipe will still work without it)

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Mix the flour, one cup of the sugar, the salt, and the baking powder. Add the egg yolks, orange juice, zest, and vanilla, but do not stir or mix or combine any further than putting everything in the same bowl. Let it be.

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until fluffy. Add the cream of tartar, continuing to beat, and then gradually add in the remaining half cup of sugar. Beat this until stiff peaks have formed.

Now you can mix the stuff in the other bowl. James Beard never says why you have to wait, but we’re following a recipe here, and even though I didn’t actually do what I was told (I beat it up from the beginning), I feel like I should still relay the process that he’s put forth in this fine volume. Beat until well blended, about one minute.

Using a spatula or other soft utensil, gently fold this mixture, about 1/4 at a time, into the egg whites. Folding is very simple, not at all intimidating. You will literally fold the egg whites over the batter until the batter and the egg whites are one light, fluffy super batter. Don’t stir. The bubbles in the egg froth are what keep this cake so light.

I added about one cup of fresh blueberries at the folding stage. Good call on that one.

When the batter is smooth, turn into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan. I didn’t know what a tube pan was, so I used a loaf pan. It worked just fine. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the cake has started to shrink away from the sides of the pan. The cake should spring back slightly when you press lightly on the top-centre.

Once you’ve removed the cake from the oven, immediately invert it, allowing it to cool before removing it from the pan. Glaze with 1 cup melted jam, possibly spiked with 1/4 cup cognac or whathaveyou – James also suggests kirsch or applejack. I think a dry white wine would be pleasant. I have no idea what applejack is.

I skipped glazing and used the melted jam as a sauce, and it was perfectly lovely, both in taste and appearance.


This should serve eight people, or four if you cut it very thick. Top with ice cream, or whipped cream, and fresh fruit, whatever’s in season or in your fridge.

Eating this made me feel responsible, like I was being sustainable and fiscally prudent and all that good crap. Like I could even begin to start thinking about addressing what’s in all those scary envelopes. Just like that. Stay tuned for tears and Nick’s sweatpants and comfort food come Friday/payday.

Sometimes I feel like I am being followed around by my own personal fail whale, and I am not Ahab. Or, “Coconut Layer Cake: A delicious summer treat.”


As a 1930s wife, I am

Very Poor (Failure)

Take the test!

And I am reminded again of my many failings. And though I don’t put too much stock in this one – Nick took the husband version of the test and was also slapped with a big fat FAIL – it does remind me that I do suck at a great many things. This does, and the cake I made for Sooin.

The cake was delicious: coconut, sweet, and frosted with goat cheese icing. But it was fugly as all get-out, and by now, I’ve run through all the different ways in which it was not my fault (I lost my round cake pans, my apartment was too hot and the icing didn’t set, there was not enough time, there’s never enough time). Tasty though it was, if we’re judging on appearance, I get another big fat FAIL. I wish I made cakes that look like this:

SuperStock_1555R-191028But I make cakes that look like this:

Cake (not pretty).My cake has personality. And character. That other cake is probably made with Splenda and ground-up babies. And it will probably give you cancer. It’s too pretty – you can’t trust it.

Make my cake. Use your round cake pans, cut each layer in half and stack them together, and ice the thing when the weather is cooler. As I mentioned, I made a frosting with goat cheese, and it was lovely – just make cream cheese icing, but instead of cream cheese, use goat cheese. It’s tart and wonderful and will make a rich, delicious frosting that you’ll want to eat with your fingers. But I was thinking about it today, and I think it would have been even better as a layer cake frosted and filled with whipped cream. It would have been effortless, and beautiful if sprinkled with a smattering of toasted coconut.

Coconut Layer Cake

(Two 8-inch round cake pans. Or one 9×13 slab.)

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, cream together your butter and sugar until the mixture is lighter in colour and fluffy. Drop in your yolks (reserve your whites in a separate bowl), and continue to beat.

Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. While still beating the butter/sugar/egg mixture, add the flour in by the cup. After the first cup of flour, add in about half of the coconut milk. And then add another cup of the flour, and then the other half of the coconut milk. Add in the vanilla, and then the final cup of flour. Beat it.

In that other bowl, whip your egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Once these are all ready to go, fold these into the batter.

Egg whites being folded into batter.What’s folding? It’s easier than maybe it sounds. You’ll literally be folding the batter over the egg whites, combining the two substances gently until one is integrated into the other.

Pour into your cake pans, which you will, of course, have lined along the bottom with perfectly fitted parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of the centre clean. Let rest in pans for five minutes, then turn onto racks to cool. I really think you should frost this with too much whipped cream.

Serve. Enjoy. Personality goes a long way.

Blurry photo of cake.

I’m probably dying. Let them eat cake.

I’m hot. I’m cold. My fingernails are blue. My head hurts. I’m nauseated. And, if you’re Nick, nauseous. I have burst capillaries all over my face, and my bangs are unkempt. Probably, I am dying. David left a message this afternoon requesting a cake recipe, so hopefully this one will suffice – Devil’s Food Cake, simple/awesome, and, let me tell you, quite a thing to muster in this perilous state. So now I’m thinking of cake – which I will make again when I am not teetering on the brink of my own demise. Next week, I think, or for my birthday, which is Sunday. It would be tragic if I didn’t survive until then. For me. It would be tragic for me.

Nick crossed his fingers when I made him promise that he wouldn’t remarry after I’m gone.

Devil’s Food Cake

  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature (if you don’t have buttermilk, sour milk is fine – one teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar for every cup of fresh milk)

Preheat an oven to 350°F.

Lightly butter the bottoms of two 9-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper. Lightly butter the paper and the sides of the pans and dust with flour.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In another large bowl, beat the butter until smooth. Add the brown sugar and continue beating until fluffy. Add the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat together with the flour, and add the buttermilk/sour milk slowly.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans and spread it out evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Let the cake layers cool completely if you’re going to frost this. Of course you are. You can find a recipe for that here.

So, right. If I die, please remember me fondly when eating my cake. If I do not die, I’ll be in an eating mood again soon, at which point you are more than welcome to invite me over for cake and cocktails. I’m going to lie on the bathroom floor now.

Update: I’m still probably dying. But I’ve made it this far, so I’ll probably outwit death yet. And then, with one successful outwitting behind me, I’ll be unstoppable. Oh, I was going to tell you about Koreans and their fantastic meat. If you’re lucky, I’ll survive the day to report back tomorrow.

Carrot cake! Blood oranges! Ginger!

So, I wanted carrot cake. Every time I get carrot cake, it’s loaded with raisins, and I can’t enjoy it because I have to eat strategically and pick as I go. Pain. In. The. Ass. And I didn’t want a lot of carrot cake. I have a dish that’s about 8×10, which would leave me with enough cake for about six people. So I decided, “I’ll make a small amount of carrot cake.” So I made the moistest, awesomest carrot cake ever.

Emily’s Apartment-size Carrot Cake with Gobby Cream Cheese Icing

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • t/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. finely grated ginger root
  • 1 1/2 tsp. orange zest
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1/3 cup apple sauce
  • 1/3 cup blood orange juice
  • 1 1/2 cups grated carrot
  • 3/4 cup chopped roasted pecans

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, and orange zest in a bowl.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, apple sauce, and blood orange juice. Pour into the dry ingredients, add the carrot, and whisk it all together. Add your nuts. This is where I dipped my finger into the batter, and was all “OHMYGOD. I am an effing genius.”

Bake in a pan, like mine (8×10), lined with greased parchment, for 40-50 minutes. I got ‘er done in 45.

Let cool on a wire rack. You’ll want to frost this with cream cheese icing. No, you’ll REALLY want to.

For the icing:

This recipe will make more than you need for the cake, but save the rest – you’ll like it on warm cinnamon buns.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 cup cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine the cheese, butter, sugar, and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Beat well, until perfectly smooth and spreadable. Put on cake.