This post is going up later than I wanted, but that’s how life goes when half of your life is in boxes, the fastest crawling baby on the planet is insisting on trying dog food, three dogs are bouncing off the walls because its been raining for days (they refuse to go outside, they don’t like to be wet and muddy, but yet we all desperately need them to relieve some of this energy!), and days are flying by faster and faster with each minute that passes by.
The good news is that I am no longer a working mom. I am now, officially, a Stay At Home Mom! It feels surreal and weird. Things were getting weird at work, dramadramadrama, and I am definitely glad to be rid of that. I want to be able to enjoy each day, the small minutes of each day, and not worry about rushing around to meet time schedules and getting chores done. I never thought I would be one to stay at home, and yet I am excited about the times that I am going to be able to spend with my daughter, that I get to teach her, excite her, take her to the park, actually have time to spend with her, watching her grow and nurturing her. I’m also nervous – I’m not sure what we will do all the time, will I be good at it? I don’t want to just fall into the “lets watch TV” routine all day every day, I want us to do, explore, experience, and LIVE!
This cake is a celebration cake.
My husband and I have now been married for three wonderful, busy years. Three years ago we stood in the center of a rose garden, surrounded by 72 of our closest family and friends and promised to love and support each other for the rest of our lives. And while the past three years have been challenging – med school, a baby, and day to day survival skills, our love for each other has grown and matured but we still have joy and giggles (ok, not Joel, he would never "giggle"....) silliness, and the ability to act like the children we are starting to realize that we aren't anymore.
|This is by far one of my favorite photos from our wedding. It's so classically "US"!|
This cake also celebrates the fact that my blog is turning 3 years old as well (Really in June, but its actually birthday is the day I'm moving, so we are just going to go ahead and celebrate a little early!)! I started it back on June 14, 2007. My very first post was a cake, too, a carrot cake (and still one of my favorite cakes ever!) in celebration of my dear friend and cousin Adena’s graduation from college. I was hesitant in starting a blog to begin with, but I felt that I needed… something. Not just something to do, but something that I could pour myself into, my creative energies (not that I’ve had a lot of time, energy, or stamina for much of that lately, haha), but also as a way to help me develop the love for writing, photography and cooking that I have. I know in comparison that I’m not as witty or linguistically gifted as some blogs, my photos are rarely stellar, and my recipes are not new and exciting. But the words (however hurriedly written) are mine, the photography (usually straight from the iPhone, not a stitch of Photoshop here!) is true, and the food is edible. And of that, I am proud.
And lastly, I am dedicating this cake to the future. To the future adventure that our lives are, the open roads before us. The last three years has seen a lot of changes for me – a real job, a wedding, a blog, a baby, the changing tide of close knit friends. Before us lies an open road full of changes, with only the slightest vision of what lies ahead. We are excited to see what changes lie before us in the next three years – who knows what might happen?
This cake, by the way, was simple perfection. Even though I left it in the oven a tad too long, it was tender and moist, with a wonderful flavor. The chocolate buttercream frosting I usually use includes whipping cream in it, but because we’ve been totally pigging out lately (donuts at garage sales, oreos while packing, and frozen pizza dinners), I felt that we needed something that was not quite as sweet. Since I already had buttermilk on hand for the cake, I decided to add some of that instead. It turned out wonderfully – not too sweet, delicate chocolate flavor, it was the perfect complement of this cake!
Best Yellow Cake Ever (Smitten Kitchen)
Yield: Two 9-inch round, 2-inch tall cake layers, and, in theory, 22 to 24 cupcakes, two 8-inch squares or a 9×13 single-layer cake
4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (480 grams) cake flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon (5 grams) table salt
2 sticks (1 cup, 1/2 pound or 225 grams) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups (400 grams) sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups buttermilk (475 ml), well-shaken
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and line with circles of parchment paper, then butter parchment. (Alternately, you can use a cooking spray, either with just butter or butter and flour to speed this process up.)
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla.
Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition.
At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture will look curdled).
Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing until each addition is just Incorporated.
Spread batter evenly in cake pan, then rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles.
Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.
Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge of pan. Invert onto rack and discard parchment, then cool completely, about 1 hour.
Frost as desired.
Chocolate Buttermilk Buttercream Frosting (an original recipe, by ME!)
This recipe makes just barely enough to cover a 2 layer cake (and the middle), without a crumb layer. So if you want do to the crumb coating, I would suggest making 1.5x the recipe, or just go ahead and double it up so you can have some extras for decorating! This recipe also hardens really well, so it stands up to decorating really well!
2 sticks unsalted butter, softenend
2.5 cups powdered sugar
½ cup cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
2-3 tablespoons buttermilk
Cream together the butter and sugar.
Turn the mixer down to low and slowly, slowly add the cocoa (don’t rush this or your entire kitchen will be covered in cocoa!).
Add the vanilla and mix until just combined.
Add enough of the buttermilk to make the frosting spreadable (or the thickness you like).