Friday, September 17, 2010


With the cooler days, the Nesting Urge comes upon us, and one of the manifestations is the need to BAKE something. So, yesterday, Sweetpea and I undertook to bake a little loaf cake---the original recipe came somehow from the PW blog, possibly via my friend Kim, who is a big fan.

This is an Orange Marmalade-Yogurt cake, and had more the texture of a bread, even after poking and sousing with the syrup; it would probably lend itself to a thinner syrup, like a baba does, and soak it right up, becoming luscious and tenderly moist---and would probably make a KILLER Rum Cake, with some orange juice and a shot of rum in the glaze.

Or maybe I baked it too long, or too much of the baking powder got tossed over the side.

We put on our matching aprons, got the little step-stool, washed our hands thoroughly---so thoroughly, in fact, that I had to keep rinsing hers, as she'd gone for a big squirt of the lavender hand soap in the bathroom, rubbing it in like lotion. We set out our meez and got to work.

My Ina-moment with the big sifting-strainer was met with “Don’t SHAKE it. Let MEE do it!” as she stirred the flour, baking powder and salt in a little tornado which sent a lot of it spinning into the air, and quite a bit over the sifter-sides and into the bowl, unmixed.

A firm grip and a stern hand---her grip on that old Fifi spoon reminds me of our neighbor in my early childhood, whose big black washpot was the focal point of her Mondays---she had a huge old “hick'ry stick” bigger around than a broomstick, and about as long, for gooshing the clothes up and down in the boiling lye-soap suds. Yep. I remember those days.

Eggs. Sugar, lemon zest, vanilla---assembling the “wets.” Half a cup of the yogurt overshot the bowl and got jettisoned over the side---we scraped it up easy-peasy and back in it went.

Almost there:

Stir wets into drys---I don't know why I hadn't moved that little glass container of seasalt out of reach---she was mightily set on spooning scoop after scoop into the flour, one with each size of measuring spoon.

Again, that determined grip:

Into the pan; an attempted last stir, and then cleanup. We took the pan upstairs to the small oven as we went up for her Naptime.

It rose and filled the pan, growing golden brown as she slumbered:

One little mishap, as the bottom clung to the pan---Wow, I’d forgotten how BROWN glass pans can make a crust.

A little patchwork, like a jigsaw puzzle, with every notch in place---who cares? It's going on the bottom, anyway:

Pokes all over with a wide meat-fork, then some of the yogurt/orange marmalade/powdered sugar glaze poured on..

A good soak, then the rest of the glaze, spooned and smeared on the sides to make them tender and moist.
As I heard her first waking sounds through the monitor, I went up, and instead of the usual drowsy wakeup, as I sit on the other bed and wait for her to be ready to get up, she said, "I smell CAKE!" and threw a knee over the side of the bed.

In celebration of Our Girl’s First Cake-Baking, we invited her Mommy and Daddy over for supper, and after Chinese takeout, we ceremonially cut the cake, presented under a big glass dome. She clapped and said, “Light the candles!”

Everybody just kept reaching out to spoon-or-fork-scrape up another little smear of that GOOD sauce.

Really good first effort, don't you think?


Southern Lady said...

Awwww, Rachel ... there's nothing like cooking with a granddaughter and seeing those little hands gripping the spoon as their little mouths pucker up in concentration ... and then, finally, their whole little faces beaming with pleasure when you take their creations out of the oven. I loved seeing those sweet little hands and can just imagine her precious face as she helped her Ganjin make her first ever cake. Y'all did GOOD!

Keetha said...

Wonderful first effort! How much fun - I'm so glad you shared the fun with us.

Now I'm craving some of that cake.

Maggie McArthur said...

OK, I want cake really BAD! And I'd love a tiny little helper...

Kim Shook said...

Lovely cake, Rachel and little Miss! And oh, that fist and, oh, that plump little forearm. I want a nibble of the cake and the GIRL!!!

Chesapeake said...

Ditto all the comments, but in addition I want the recipe!!

bennie and patsy said...

Hi, Rachel glad you came by for a visit. I never could make a good fried pie. Those sweet little hands I am sure made that Orange Marmalade -Yogurt cake even better.

Kouign Aman said...

And soon comes the day when that piping little voice says "Ganner, I think the cake is done". And you say, "how on earth did you know?" as you look at the timer, and the voice comes back, "I can smell it".

A beautiful cake, and beautiful memories, beautifully written.