Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Rose Levy Beranbaum's Perfect All-American Chocolate Butter Cake

"Someone I loved once gave me 
a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand 

that this, too, was a gift" 
The Uses of Sorrow by Mary Oliver

I have a hard time saying goodbye. But I'm not sad that 2012 has reached its bittersweet end.

It was a challenging year, on the personal front, for both the husband and myself: a bad year for friendships, a year of some very tough trials and of facing harsh truths about certain loved ones . . . focusing on the positives I'd say I may have lost a few illusions but I gained a lot of perspective. It was a year of testing my limits and finding that I still do okay. That things may overwhelm me at times but I stand strong enough to see them through. I learned a lot this past year.

Life tends to be wonderful and infuriating at the same time. A lot of great things have happened too: it was a rewarding year as parents, a year of big (and good) changes, being blessed with new friendships and many, many wonderful moments . Through all the tumultuousness food has been constant and consistent in its ability to make me feel calm and grounded. Whether I'm standing in my kitchen chopping vegetables to add to a steaming pot of soup, coercing egg-whites into shiny whiteness to make the perfect meringue cookies, rolling out discs of dough that sizzle on a hot, oiled griddle, or breathing in the aromas from the tray of warm, freshly baked banana muffins that I've just placed on a cooling rack: the soothing repetition of these rituals I perform as I move around my kitchen is a healing balm.

Increasingly, baking and cooking are the only things I really, really love to do. I can't always get in the kitchen for baking marathons any more but I'm trying to carve out the time to do so whenever I can - and to end the long silences on this blog. I have been hanging out on Instagram recently and some of the baking I do makes its way into my newsfeed there. Two of my blogger friends from the BWD group and I decided we would pick a random cookbook each month and bake/cook as many things as we wanted from it throughout that month. Whoever decides to blog about the experience is welcome to do so, but there is no compulsion. There are no other rules and the only requirement is that we post photos on instagram using the hashtag #inspiredkitchen . This challenge provides the perfect opportunity for me to go through my vast and ever-increasing collection of cookbooks. For December we picked 'Baking With Julia' by Dorie Greenspan. But more on that later.

For now I want to wish you a year full of  inspiring, wonderful, happy times. And I want to leave you with this chocolatey, airy but fudgy cake from The Cake Bible. It's the perfect cake to ring in the new year. I found a recipe link for you here. Happy 2013!


I Wilkerson said...

I agree that this cake looks like a great way to welcome the new year! It was good to hear from you again and best wishes for a less trying 2013!

croquecamille said...

Happy New Year! Here's to 2013, and chocolate cake!

Redawna said...

There is something to be said for a little kitchen therapy. Well that and chocolate cake!

It looks fantastic.

Happy New Year! Let's hope 2013 is good to us all.

Beth said...

What a gorgeous cake! Happy New Year's to you, too. I'm sorry last year had so many challenges, but hopefully 2013 will be better.

Gemma Chew said...

This cake looks amazing! Happy (belated) new year!


Anonymous said...

Your cake looks delicious!
Thanks for visiting my blog!

Needful Things said...

@Inger - Thank You! It's good to be back :)
Happy New Year to you too!

@Camille,Redawna & Beth - no more looking back and looking ahead instead to a better 2013!

@Gemma - thank you!

tasteofbeirut said...

Once I showed a friend my Cake Bible and she was moved by all the annotations next to most of the recipes. I have made this one before and like all of Rose's creations it is beautiful in its simplicity.

Needful Things said...

@Joumana - Rose Levy Beranbaum is awesome that way. I love how detailed she is: it makes all the difference to a novice baker.


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