Monday, April 25, 2005

Piece of Cake!

I found this wonderful little passage in The Language of Baklava: A Memoir the other day (p. 186):

"Marry, don't marry," Auntie Aya says as we unfold layers of dough to make an apple strudel. "Just don't have your babies unless it's absolutely necessary."

"How do I know if it's necessary?"

She stops and stares ahead, her hands gloved in flour. "Ask yourself, Do I want a baby or do I want to make a cake? The answer will come to you like bells ringing." She flickers her fingers in the air by her ear. "For me, almost always, the answer was cake."

I'd have to agree with Auntie Aya (if you include other sweet desserts with cake).

And so, what did I do this weekend? Oh, yes, Dear Readers, I baked a cake.

Not just any cake, though. I have been wanting to try this recipe for a rose geranium cake for a couple of years, but I never made the time for it. When I discovered last week that my rose geranium was actually blooming, I knew it was time.

The cake itself is fairly simple... a delicate butter cake laced with vanilla and chopped pecans... but it has a handful of chopped rose geranium leaves mixed in as well. Once it had cooled, I dusted the top with confectioner's sugar and rose geranium petals (like pink-lavender teardrops).

The taste of rose geraniums (or roses, for that matter) can be overpowering and end up tasting more like some lady's hand lotion. But this cake was wonderful. The rose geranium taste hits your palate first, but softly, with a warm and velvety caress. It fades gently to the inviting flavor of vanilla and slightly toasted pecans, but lingers long enough to ease away your cares. This is another one of those desserts that you simply sink into, allowing yourself to luxuriate in its pillowy perfection.

In aromatherapy, rose geranium is used to soothe anxiety and lift depression, and I can say that this cake certainly proves effective on both counts. (Who knew therapy could be so inexpensive?)

So if pressed to choose between a baby or a cake, I don't hesitate.

The cake wins out every time.

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