Cake was served in my honor today. And it's not even my birthday. I'm leaving a part-time job, only I'm not completely leaving for a few more months. It's kind of confusing and an explanation would be boring, but, really a cupcake would've sufficed. Instead there was a big sheet cake with--and as Dave Barry would say, "I'm not making this up,"--We love you, Town and Country Mom! (only it was really my first name; no one there knows I blog). Seriously, the cake did not say Good Luck or Best Wishes, but We Love You! I have to say it was kind of touching for me, a part-timer. I just think everyone likes an excuse to eat a little cake.
My laptop is in the hospital, which I hope explains my lack of posts this past week. Honestly, I haven't had too much to write about; but I have managed to read a few books. One I enjoyed is Confections of a Closet Master Baker by Gesine Bullock-Prado. When I picked this up at the library, I had no idea that Mrs. Bullock-Prado was actress Sandra Bullock's sister. Mrs. Bullock-Prado recounts her story of leaving Hollywood and opening a small bakery in Vermont, where she and her husband endure many of the same business ups and downs common to all small service-oriented establishments. More interesting to me were her memories of her childhood in Europe and her German mother and their relationships with food, particularly sweets. And, yes, there are recipes.
I'm not exactly sure why (serious lack of telephone orders, perhaps?), but Mrs. Bullock-Prado's memoir will be published in paperback and sold under the title My Life From Scratch, which is, admittedly, a lot less embarrassing to say aloud.
In the meantime, my favorite quick, not too sweet cake:
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar, divided
1 cup all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 tablespoons instant espresso powder, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup evaporated skimmed milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
Combine 1/2 cup sugar, flour, 2 Tbsp cocoa, 1 Tbsp espresso powder, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl; stir well. Combine milk, oil, and vanilla; add to flour mixture and stir well. Spoon batter into an 8-inch square baking pan.
Combine remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar, 3 Tbsp cocoa, and 1/2 Tbsp espresso powder; stir well. Sprinkle over batter.
Pour boiling water over batter (do not stir!). Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.
What is your favorite cake?
Images: Diana's Bakery, Amazon, Cooking Club of America