I have a rule that every time I make a brand new recipe, I follow that recipe exactly as it is written. No weird changes, substitutions, adjustments… if I haven’t tasted the recipe yet, how can I already be judging its worth? It’s like people. Wanting to change a person’s shoes before you date them is superficial and mean. Not to mention weird. “Hey, I’d love to go to the movies, but could you wear some polished wingtips instead of those boat shoes? Okay, thanks!”
The rule also gives me a scapegoat. “WHY is this texture so weird, I followed the recipe EXACTLY. Clearly they did something wrong.”
However, I am terrible at following my own rule.
It’s Amandeleine’s 1st anniversary!
No it’s not, I’m lying.
It was Amandeleine’s 1st anniversary over a month ago. On June 8th. But for some reason I thought the anniversary was sometime in July, and when I looked it up a few days ago, I learned I was wrong.
When I was in grade 1, my class had a singing recital where we all dressed up as Care Bears, making our own Care Bear ears and Care Bear bellies.
When we were told to go home and find clothes to be the rest of our Care Bear costume, nothing I had worked. It was all patterned, multicoloured and inappropriate for representing Care Bear fur. I was a big Care Bear fan and was very particular about how this had to be done. I did have an all pink outfit, but most of the girls also had all pink outfits, resulting in a sea of repeat pink bears. I did not want to be just another one of many Cheer Bears.
My mom, however, had a big cozy orange sweater.
With this, I could be Friend Bear, but she wasn’t one of my favourites. I could be Tenderheart, but he felt like the MAIN Care Bear, and that was just too much responsibility.
The path was clear. Birthday Bear.
Yeah, that’s me. That’s a pretty finely painted cupcake, don’t you think? I miss those shoes.
Like most, I developed a love for cupcakes at a young age and was excited to wear one on my belly. Not to mention in my belly. So when I think of cupcakes, I think of things like Care Bears. Of pink fluffy frosting, rainbow sprinkles, and everything soft and sweet.
Not of bacon.
Bacon has a dedicated following. The smell of it cooking, the sound of sizzling, a lot of people love bacon.
But talk about putting it on a baked good? Bacon… sometimes it scares people.
But don’t be scared, I can show you the way.
Many will ask me, who bakes for the baker on their birthday? Does the baker do it for herself because she knows just how she likes things? Is a cake purchased from a fancy bakery to give her a new project to strive for?
If you have an adorable husband, sometimes it’s him.
(Is it just me, or is there something particularly attractive about a man wielding a frosting covered offset spatula?)
With a number of Trevor birthday cakes under my belt, he felt it was time to return the favour.
Please note that in the 7 years I have known him, 6 of them on a very personal level, I have witnessed him bake once. Maybe twice, but I’m kind of hazy on that one. With this in mind, I tried to give him an easy out, giving him a general flavour category to follow so that he could pick something easy to make that still fell under the specs.
He didn’t let me get away with that.
Demanding to know what my favourite cake would be for my birthday this year, I confessed.
Red Velvet Cake.
I have a theory about coconut.
There are a lot of people who say they hate coconut.
I used to say I hated coconut.
But my theory is that people actually hate the texture of coconut, not so much the flavour. Dousing the flavour with sweetness seems to help too.
My data? These cupcakes.
Joe is probably the person I see most in the world other than my husband. We’re neighbours at work and at home. That’s right, he’s in the office next door at work, and lives in the condo below mine. If we ever have an epic rivalry where I decide I can’t stand him, I will have major problems avoiding him.
Luckily, he’s a pretty cool guy. And even better, his wife Erin is even cooler. So when she asked me to make Joe a birthday cake for his surprise party, I was completely on board. Now it was just a matter of figuring out what he’d like.
Because of my weekly baking at work, it wasn’t too hard to find out what Joe’s opinion was without giving away the surprise. I just told him I’d be customizing the weekly baked good to his preferences for his birthday. His response was quick.
Joe is a huge fan of cream soda. However, neither of us were entirely sure how to apply cream soda to a baked good. Joe gave a few more ideas, but the cream soda idea stuck with me. After a few internet searches, I discovered that cream soda in a baked good was relatively uncommon, with one exception. Cream Soda Cake.
Trevor and I are the type of book nerds who actually find it valuable to own expensive eBook readers for the benefit of carrying a dozen books in one tiny package for fear that one day while outside the house, we may finish a book without another book immediately available for consumption. Also, they weigh a lot less than an 800 page fantasy novel. Our devices (a Kindle for him, a nook for me) have some issues but we love them anyway. However, there is one thing I greatly miss since owning one. Trevor and I both love bookstores. We love sitting in aisles, cross-legged like small children, taking our time to peruse our favourite bookshelves in order to pinpoint that one special book to build a relationship with over the next few weeks.
Perusing an eBook store on your nook, Kindle or internet browser doesn’t exactly have the same… feeling to it.
We still make trips out to book stores, although now they’re more like selection processes on what to buy next on our eReaders. That satisfying end result is gone, a crisp, rigid, dogeared free book in our hot little hands as we leave the store, spines waiting to be cracked at our will. We could still buy physical copies of books, but it seems silly to do so just to have that short, joyful moment as you leave the store.
I’ve discovered there is one type of book that exists that I can still buy at bookstores, guilt free. Cookbooks. Most of them aren’t available in eBook format because… why would they ever want to be? The small, paperback book sized screen would never lay out an entire recipe well, the pictures of luscious, chocolatey cakes would now look grainy and one-dimensional, and if I kept it in the kitchen with me… can you imagine the stress of trying to clean flour and melted chocolate out of the crevices of an expensive electronic device? Cookbooks on the other hand can feel as though they haven’t been loved enough if they’re not at least a little bit sticky here and there.
I bought a new cookbook a couple weeks ago. And I am very excited about it.
So my update is a little late this week, but I have a good reason. It was Marta’s birthday!
I’m originally from Canada, but I moved to the Seattle area about 2 years ago. I love it here, but there’s a lot I miss about Canada. The thing I miss the most? The people. People like Marta. She’s been one of my best friends since we were 12 years old, she was one of my bridesmaids when I got married, and before this weekend, I hadn’t seen her for over 2 years.
So I hope you can understand the blog update delay.
(That’s me on the left and Marta on the right.)
My team at work likes to hold “Wine, cheese and baked goods Fridays” every other Friday. It’s a pot luck of sorts, where people bring in their favourite reds and whites, stinky cheeses, creamy cheeses, and I am usually the one bringing baked goods (seeing as I bring them every Friday anyway!) We sit in the sun outside our building and everyone has a great time.
However, I don’t like my cheese with wine. Because I don’t like wine.
I apologize to all the people out there whose sensibilities I just offended.
What I do like my cheese with is sweetness. With fruit preserves, rich chocolate, candied pecans or perhaps whipped full of powdered sugar. Obviously we’re not talking sharp cheddars here, but creamy smooth mascarpones, oozey warm brie and tangy cream cheese. I have trouble eating any of the creamier cheeses without trying to figure out a way to make dessert out of it. It’s like a sickness. A delicious sickness.