Friday, September 10, 2010

Happy Birthday to ME!

Yep, it's my birthday-- I turn 23 this year, which as my mom points out, means I am beginning my 24th year (same concept as 1900's = 20th century.  Please don't argue with me about this, because I am right.)

If this was a super-cool, trendy blog (like Pioneer Woman, for example), I would be doing a giveaway to celebrate.  Sorry friends; if you're looking for free stuff, look elsewhere.

But I will share with you the fun things I have done today.
My parents sent me a basket of flowers.  This is significant because they live on the east coast, and I live in Minnesota.
Aren't they pretty?  Clockwise from top left: Begonias, Golden Pothos, African Violet, and two unidentified spiky things.
And then I made cake.  Now, it's important to point out that I didn't really feel like eating cake; I just wanted to make it.  But unfortunately, making cake means that you then have a cake (you can't make a cake and... not... eat it too?), which has to be eaten by someone, and when you live alone that someone is often you.  BUT, I will be visiting some friends (who also happen to have birthdays right around this time) tonight and they shall help me eat it.

I decided to make Honey Cake ala Joy of Cooking because I have a JoC page-a-day calendar, and this recipe was yesterday's page.  It looked pretty simple, and I already had most of the ingredients.  Recipe is transcribed below; my comments are in italics.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.  Grease a 13 x 9 inch glass baking pan.  (I didn't do this until later, but whatevs.)
Combine in a medium saucepan and cook, stirring, over low heat until well blended:
1 1/2 cups honey
1 cup coffee (I didn't have this, so I used chai tea instead.)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla

(Sorry, no picture of this step.  It looked like a pot of dark brown water on the stove, happy now?)

Remove from heat and set aside to cool.  Whisk together in a large bowl:
3 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup raisins (optional) (I used them.)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional) (I used them.)

Pre-whisking, of course.
Beat in a medium bowl on high speed until thick and pale yellow, 4 to 5 minutes:
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar

Little story about eggs: I had none, so I went to Cub.  I am used to buying eggs from pastured poultry at the farmer's market (at $4/dozen), which have really really dark orange yolks, are incredibly tasty and fresh (which you can tell by how much the yolk sticks up), and where they let the chickens live like chickens.  These, on the other hand, although supposedly "cage-free" and "vegetarian-fed" (both good things) are not comparable in any way to my usual eggs.  Pale yellow and flat, that's what these were.
Beat the cooled honey mixture into the eggs.  Add the dry ingredients (my bowl was too small, so I added wet to dry.  Didn't make much difference that I could tell.) and beat until well blended.

I think I need some bigger mixing bowls.  Or maybe a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, to augment the powers of my little handheld.
Scrape (pour) into the pan and spread evenly.

Mmm, raw dough.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes (52 minutes).  As soon as the cake is removed from the oven, use a fork to prick holes all over the surface.  Heat 1/4 cup of honey to lukewarm (I used the microwave).  Using a large spoon, pour and spread they honey all over the surface of the cake.  Let the cake cool completely in the pan on a rack before cutting.

Hey, my real camera decided to work again.  Hooray!
That means macro shots actually work!
Mmm, macro shots...
I'll give you the verdict later, after I've eaten some.

EDIT 9/11-- Verdict: Excellent.  Well-received by party guests and hosts alike.  We served it with Maple Nut ice cream, which IMO was an inspired pairing.  Problem: I still have half a cake left.  Who wants some?


  1. You're absolutely correct about the 24th year thing.


    I am going to take over the world in your honor this weekend. Who would you like me to be?

  3. Thanks for the affirmation, Michael. :D

    MBoC, I assume you are Becca, yes? I think you should play as Ghandi. Try to leave at least three countries alive.