Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Ready to Cake Things Up?

You might have noticed here and there that I have something of an oddball sense of humor. I know, it's hard to tell, but believe me, it's true.

But that's nothing. I come from a long line of jokers and pranksters, and I come by my love of bad puns and screwball comedies honestly.

So it really shouldn't surprise me that I ended up getting snowed for my birthday.

Due to My Wonderful Parents' move and the Chef Mother's lingering need for rest and recovery, My Fabulous Aunt was once again in charge of making my birthday cake for out weekend get-together, and she had promised to make the Chef Mother's legendary carrot cake.

Late last week, as I was confirming the weekend plans with her, she mentioned that she was just then in the process of making the cake, and she hoped I wouldn't mind that she was trying a new recipe: a chocolate cake topped with an orange frosting.

Well, I do like chocolate, and I like orange, and I think the two together make a very lovely couple. But I'd had a rather rough week, and I felt somewhat dismayed that I wouldn't get my traditional favorite. Still, I stiffened the old upper lip, tamped down my disappointment like a good girl, and expressed my appreciation and anticipation.

Come Saturday, My Fabulous Aunt and I headed out on our own to visit the farmers' market and to do some other birthday shopping. In between stops, we returned to the Inn (since my aunt and uncle were staying there thanks to the Innkeeper's gracious hospitality) to pick up a few things.

MFA decided that as the birthday girls (hers was the day before), we were entitled to have a piece of cake before everyone else... and before lunch. What could I say? I do like her style.

So I pulled the cake carrier out of the fridge, lifted the lid, and saw a dark cake peeking through a cream-colored frosting, with an extra layer of pale green frosting on top. Still missing my carrot cake, I put on a brave face and commented how the frosting was lovely and looked like it had just come out of the garden.

"That's because it did come from the garden," replied MFA with more than a hint of laughter in her voice.

In that split second, I realized that I'd been had. This was no chocolate-orange cake, this was the real deal, the moist and rich and spicy and altogether luxurious carrot cake I love so well.

And I got teary-eyed, for just when I felt the most need of something familiar and comforting, I had it right there in my hands.

We enjoyed a good laugh, swiftly followed by thin slices of that marvelous cake, and we even managed to save a little room for lunch.

Since MFA made a good-sized two-layer cake, I had plenty of cake left over, even with sharing it with the rest of the family gathered this weekend, and I've managed to stretch it out to my birthday proper.

So here's to another year of adventures... and to shaking things up once in a while!


At 8/24/2007 11:50 AM, Anonymous jasmine said...

Happy Birthday (a bit late at this point but I am rarely on time for the ones I know about either). Looks liek a gret cake -- maybe I will have to pull out that old recipe for "food of the gods" carrot cake -- although I think I am committed to chocolate marbled banana bread this weekend since there is no room in the freezer for bananas.

At 8/24/2007 1:15 PM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

Many thanks, Jasmine! I have been behind on birthdays myself this year and actually feel a little overwhelmed by the attention I've gotten for mine this year.

I don't think you can go wrong with either option for baking this weekend... though if it helps, you could probably wait on the carrot cake until you get good fresh local ones (all the sweeter after the first frost!).

And I thought of you this week as I read Pint-Sized Ireland (about an Aussie touring around Ireland in search of the "perfect" Guinness). Have you seen it yet?


At 8/25/2007 8:37 AM, Anonymous jasmine said...

Carrots aren't too prevalent around here at the markets -- Virginia has very heavy clay soils. I will likely have to go to a different market to find them -- one with a few more growers from PA (which thankfully falls within 100 miles usually).

I will have to see if my library has that book. Thanks for the recommendation.

At 8/25/2007 4:03 PM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

I can understand that. And around here, we don't always get many carrots coming into the market before the end of the season. Good luck with finding some!


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