Friday, September 1, 2006

Comfort me with Cake



'Dear Diary,

Yes, I'm here again. I know, I know - it's an unworthy job, being a diary. You almost only ever hear from me when I'm blue. Or stressed. Or thinking too much about something. You thought something was different this time? Think again...

I've started a new job. Yes, I know, it is only two and a half month since I got back and started working somewhere new, but eh. What can you do? New job it is. It actually seems like it's going to be rather exciting - I might get some responsibility here. If I'm woman enough to live up to it. That's always the thing, isn't it? The fear of not being as good as people think you are. Yes, it's their expectations, not yours. Still. The whole not-knowing-where-things are, new people all around, with names you just can't remember, and ways of doing things you're not familiar with. The lack of well-known routines. It's scary and thrilling. And very much - much.

School starts again Monday. That is to say, school this semester is hands-on - I'm going to be walking around in a hospital, white clothes and stethoscope and all. Listening, looking, taking it all in. And feeling like I don't know anything. It's going to be quite marvelous, I'm sure. What if I don't like it? What if I'm not supposed to be a doctor?

The weather's been plain ridiculous the last couple of days. Wait, make that weeks. Sun mixed with a heavy dose of rain. Rain coming and going, coming and going. You can't go anywhere without bringing an umbrella - well, you can, but you'd surely get wet. I'm drinking a lot of tea, and I rediscovered my closet's worth of wollen sweaters. Today, I tried on a pair of long pants from the closet. I just couldn't bring myself to wear them, so I changed them to a skirt. I have to pretend, just a little while longer. Please summer. Stay.

I forgot to paint the hall during my vacation. I never got started on my roadtrip-scrapbook project. I need to buy shampoo. And flour - 'cause the last couple of batches I bought had worms in them - ick. The computer needs a clean-up - too many weird thing lying about. I think I'm this close to a full-blown cold, and I have a headache, ouch. My mp3-player's rechargeable battery is going wacko, I have to get that repaired. I need my boyfriend to kiss me.

I think I need cake...'

Cream Cheese Pound Cake - from Lisa Yockelson's Baking by Flavor



A rich, decadent cake that I'm sure would do very well with some fresh berries. But I had it with a big mug of tea while the rain pounded on my windows and I was feeling sorry for myself. It worked like that also, and very well. Yes, sometimes, things are as simple as a piece of cake.

I used Boyajian lemon oil in place of the lemon extract and you can most definitely taste it. I might even go as far to say you taste the lemon too much. I'll cut it down to about half next time.

Bakeware: plain 10 inch tube pan for making about 20 slices.

2 3/4 c unsifted bleached all-purpose flour
1/4 c unsifted bleached cake flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 pound (16 tablespoons or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
One 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons shortening (I used same amount butter - I can't convince myself to buy shortening, no matter what it might do for my cakes!)
3 cups superfine sugar (vanilla-scented if you have)
2½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
6 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 325 F/170 C. Grease and flour your cake pan - Lisa instructs you to make a circle of waxed paper to fit the bottom, then grease that too - I couldn't be bothered. Hey, it was an off-day, okay?

Sift the flours, baking soda, salt and nutmeg together.

In a freestanding mixer, cream the butter with the cream cheese and shortening. Do so for 4 minutes, on moderate speed. Add the sugar in three additions, beating for one minute between batches. Blend in vanilla, lemon and almond extract. Beat in the eggs, one at the time. Remember to keep scraping down the sides of the bowl.

On low speed, add the sifted ingredients in three additions, blending just until all flour has been absorbed. Spoon into the prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes - maybe a tad longer. The cake will pull away slightly from the pan when it's done, but check with a wooden skewer also. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, on a rack. Then turn it out, and allow to cool completely. Or eat as soon as you think that NOW! it has cooled enough.

'See? This is how it always goes. I do half an hour therapy with you, and everything looks a little brighter. Maybe it's putting it all in print that sets things straight. That makes me realize that really, if these are the only things I can find to complain about - then I should consider myself a lucky person. Thank you. You helped. Oh, and the cake might have, too.'

12 comments:

Sam said...

that's such a cute way to write a post. did he kiss you yet? tell him I'll give 'im a clip round the ear next time I see 'im if he doesnt.

Cathy said...

Wow, that's some serious medicine! Hope it did the trick and the world is looking a little less scary. I just know you're going to love your new job and the new routine at school. (And Sam, I'll bet money he did!)

Tanna said...

Now tell me that was as fun for you to write as it was for me to read and he did didn't he!!
Excellent, that medicine is never known to fail.
Hope that job is all you want it to be!

Fanny said...

Aaah that's SO sweet. An the cake looks very comforting.

fanny

Zarah Maria said...

Hi Sam! He did - he does (almost) everything I tell him to!;-)

Hi Cathy! It did do the trick - luckily!

Hi Tanna! It was fun - but the best part was actually that it did work. It was just one of them days...

Hi Fanny! Thank you! It was comforting - in fact, still is!:-)

Julie said...

Hey Zarah Zarah,

I know just the feeling. I'm completely overwhelmed with work and obligations, it's rainy and cold...and now you've given me the solutions. Clearly I need to go bake a cake -- and get me some kisses!

Niki said...

Looks just like a sculpture - gorgeous! I totally understand about the theraputic qualities of cake. I also remember September in Copenhagen; gorgeous sunny periods interspersed with bucketing rain. But I still loved your beautiful city :-)

Tea said...

Kisses and cake can make a whole lot better.

Good luck with your new adventures!

J said...

hi zarah maria, there certainly is nothing like cake to comfort and console...what a beautiful number! i've long wanted a bundt mold just like the one you used, plus i'm a big fan of lisa yokelson's book as well as boyajian lemon oil, so this is definitely one recipe i must try!

Luisa said...

Yay! Another Lisa Yockelson cake post! Ahhh, just what I wanted to read about. ;)

Anonymous said...

That is one of my favorite cakes!
What a nice photo!
Lisa Yockelson

cybercasey said...

Hi Zarah. I love your name- very posh. Liked your diary and its contents. Do you maintain a paper diary anymore? Mum used to make us write one as kids. I recently wrote about it in my post.Maybe it'll be of some interest to you..