a study of the non sequitur. and a plea for cakes.

four days of snow on the ground and i find myself yearning for spring. how simple humans can be....immediately wanting what they think they cannot have. i was looking though printed photos this morning of the sun drenched days of north carolina and i thought i'd share a handful with you. today is calling for the high of 47 today. it appears my spring fever has caught fire. bostonians are practically naked in the streets in celebration.

i got out of bed twice last night. once at 11:30 and then again at 12:20. both to put on my boots, throw a woolen jacket over my nightgown and drive, frazzle-eyed the 1.2 miles to the farm. such are the worry demons that plague me. we had to put bella in the barn last night as she had caught a cold with the drop in weather. there is, too, a small group of young chickens in the barn that have proven to lack winter-hardiness. there is one heat lamp and one space heater to keep them toasty. and though we have taken the precautions to prevent a barn fire these have done little to assuage the feelings of dread that strike me mid-night. with our darling bella locked in a barn filled with fire hazard there was little i could do to stop my sleepless self from checking on her. twice.

i'm behind on my resolution of a weekly cake-baking. i'm one and half cakes behind, precisely. i need your help.  i fear it is at risk of falling to the Lost Resolutions just like any other i have made. i find myself without inspiration only 2 cakes in. i cannot just blindly bake a cake from a recipe pulled from a faceless book. i want a story behind the cake. i want to make cakes that are tried, true, and proven to be scrumptious and fattening. how admittedly lazy of me. so i ask those of you who read this far in my ramblings if you wouldn't have a cake recipe to share with me? if you do i would love to bake it. and share it with nick and perhaps, if it is ok with you, share the recipe and a bit about you along with it, here on this blog of mine. it could be a rather nice way, to get to meet you and your trusted cakes. and would give us a bit of escape from the tired farm tirades we know too well. if you are game to help this failing resolution from its near certain death please email me at kathryn.maclean@gmail.com.

and finally, i watched the 7 hours of the first season of downton abbey between sunday and monday. what a thrilling life i lead. now i am caught up and ready to devour season two. i highly recommend if you haven't yet indulged.


  1. One of my most trusted cake recipes is this: http://www.marthastewart.com/337339/orange-cornmeal-cake

    It always works for me, tastes delicious, and goes with a variety of toppings (berries in the summer, orange slices soaked in a bit of grand marnier in winter, always with freshly whipped cream!

  2. i literally JUST finished season one of downton abbey this morning after my own two day marathon. netflix makes it so easy to hit that 'next episode' button. sorry i have no cake recipe for you, i'm a tried and true chocolate chip cookie maker myself. good luck though!

  3. Anything from smitten kitchen is sure to be delectable, but this cake recipe looks especially good...


    Hope all is well at the farm!

  4. I went to New York many years ago and had the most fabulous cupcake at the Cupcake Cafe. I bought the cookbook, but the recipe was for commercial kitchens. A few year later it appeared in my local Toronto paper and had been sized for home baking. It is the most fabulous Vanilla cake with real butter cream icing. You can see it here. It is my go to cake and my most requested being the cake baker of the neighborhood.

    My second most requested cake and simple to make is this almost flourless cake. I've made this for a raffle or silent auction for my friends breast cancer fundraisers and it is always a hit.

  5. One of the best cakes I ever had (although not healthy OR low-fat is Edna Lewis' A Very Good Chocolate Cake. She is the epitome of the southern cook and you can't go wrong if you are looking for taste and not worrying with silly things like cholesterol or calories.

    ...and I'm notorious with my kids for only making whole grain, organic, easy-on-the-sugar desserts, but I made an exception (and will again) for this cake on Roxie's birthday. It's white and pretty and disguised and then you CUT IT! Holy food coloring! And I have to be honest, it tasted really good, too.


    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. sorry the link didn't become a real link. If you copy and paste the link you'll see the crazy cake I'm talking about.


  6. http://www.pauladeen.com/recipes/view2/gooey_butter_cake

    My grandma always made this cake for pretty much every major holiday that involved family getting together. She called it "French Butter Cake". I don't even know how to put into words all of the memories and emotions this cake brings up in me. It will forever remind me of grandma. :)

    Once it's out of the oven and mostly cooled, sprinkle it with powdered sugar. It's amazing that way. Try not to eat the whole thing at once; it is a struggle for me.

  7. I haven't made a cake from her long list that I haven't loved. Besides the great cakes, she's witty. And I love witty. Smitten Kitchen should keep you supplies with cake recipes for quite sometime. Enjoy!


  8. Ok... it's not cake but it is a recipe for perfect chocolate chip cookies. I make them, form the dough balls and freeze most of the dough so I can have fresh baked cookies when I really need them! They are really yummy and I make them all the time. You won't feel like your totally ruining your plan if you only have 2.. or 3... or half a dozen! =)


    I'll email it to you as well.


  9. This is Fannie Farmer's banana bread, but I turn it into a cake-like-thing by making frosting out of peanut butter, confectioner's sugar, and some cream cheese. I'm not very good with measuring things, so I'd say mix up some peanut butter with the sugar and softened cream cheese until it looks and tastes right to you. Spread that shit on thick.

    Fannie Farmer's banana bread:

    3 ripe bananas, well mashed
    2 eggs, well beaten
    2 cups flour
    3/4 cup sugar
    1 tsp. salt
    1 tsp baking soda


  10. Hi Kate!

    Winters are DEFINITELY for cake bakin. Luckily, I have very hungry loved ones who devour my creations before I do! This Jam Cake, from the original Joy of Cooking cookbook but adapted by Michael Chiarello is the spiciest, yummiest cake I have baked in a long while. It's not the prettiest, and I nearly started a fire when some batter spilled out of my too-small bundt pan, but damnit it's worth it. Happy baking!

    Rombauer Jam Cake Recipe

    This recipe was adapted from Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker. This version was published by Michael Chiarello in Napa Stories (Stewart, Tabori, and Chang 2001).

    1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 taspoon ground cloves
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1 teaspoon nutmeg
    6 tablespoons butter or shortening
    1 cup packed (hs note: dark!) brown sugar
    2 eggs
    3 tablespoons sour cream
    1 cup raspberry or blackberry jam
    1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts

    For the quick brown-sugar icing:
    1 1/2 cups (hs note: dark!) brown sugar
    5 tablespoons heavy cream
    2 teaspoons butter
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla

    Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 7-inch tube pan or Bundt pan. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

    Cream butter and brown sugar until light. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in sour cream. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until barely blended. Stir in jam and nuts. Pour into buttered pan. Bake until done, about 30 minutes. When cool, invert the cake onto a platter and ice with quick brown-sugar icing.

    Make the icing:
    Combine brown sugar, cream, butter, and salt and cook slowly to the boiling point. Remove from heat. Cool slightly, then add vanilla. Beat the icing until it can be spread.

    Makes one 7-inch cake.

  11. One cake recipe I have found to be very good is the Tomato soup spice cake.
    Recipe adapted from Southern Cakes- Nancy McDermott
    I added a little more spice.

    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1-1/3 c sugar
    1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1 tsp ground ginger
    1/2 tsp ground cloves
    1-10 3/4 oz tin of Campbells condensed tomato soup
    1/2 cup softened butter
    2 eggs
    1/2 water or milk
    Oven 350
    Combine the dry ingredients together in a large bowl(includes sugar)
    In a medium sized bowl beat the 2 eggs together, and add the softened butter, followed by the tomato soup and milk.
    Add wet ingredients to the dry, Stir to combine. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan.
    Bake for 25-30 minutes.
    I used a bundt pan that I found at a thrift store and after I turned the cake out I made a simple vanilla frosting to drizzle over.
    Amazing...cannot taste the tomato and it gives the cake a beautiful golden color.

  12. I always make a bread that is much, much more like a cake than a bread. Like a desert loaf, like banana or zucchini bread. Just as good as cake, a bit more hearty, and instead of icing I put honey butter and sea salt on mine!

    I have been using whatever I have handy in this bread lately, so sweet potatoes, bananas, apples/applesauce, pumpkin, squash, anything will work with the base or you can just mix a lot of things together.

    This is not the recipe that I use but similar (can't find the one I use online, it's somewhere scribbled on a notecard in my kitchen): http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/pumpkin-pistachio-breakfast-bread-10000001923936/

    You can substitute ginger and cloves for any similar spices you have, ground nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon.


    Also, that tomato soup cake sounds pretty cool...

  13. Before I forget... my mom watches Downton Abbey religiously and I never paid much attention but maybe I will have to now. :)

    As far as the cake... I have two ideas. I'm not sure about your feelings on cheesecake (I suppose it's a form of 'cake' right?)... but this is BY FAR the best cheesecake I have ever made. It has a thin spongecake crust!


    The other cake I make regularly is a pumpkin chocolate chip cake... and I know this is totally cheating but I actually use a yellow cake mix for this one. It's really simple and I make it when I'm short on time. I'd be happy to send you the recipe if you like!

  14. my fav cake is the guiness one, i have blogged it many times
    http://www.designsponge.com/2010/10/in-the-kitchen-with-katie-quinn-davies-guinness-cake.html check it!

    what a great resolution! Some months ago, a friend of mind and i started a blog with more or less the same resolution... but i'm afraid we have to say we have failed... uhmmmm :(

  15. I don't have a cake recipe but just wanted to say I love visiting here.
    It is inspiring and has encouraged my beau and me to finally pursue our dreams of farming.
    Seeing how you two are taking it one step at a time was so helpful.
    We start our first farm internship next month!

  16. My mom, aunt, and grandmother have been making this cake for any birthday we've celebrated for as as long as I can remember. It's ridiculously easy and always a crowd pleaser, which is probably why it's the perfect recipe for birthday parties (especially kids' birthday parties.) I realized tonite I don't actually have the exact recipe my family uses, but this one is pretty much it. We omit the nuts in the icing.

  17. oops, here's the recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/texas-sheet-cake-v/

  18. this is not my own recipe (i could only dream of being smart enough to make it up) but i've baked this cake 3 times now because i just cannot get enough of it's decadent spiciness. plus it has a pretty excellent story behind it, which you can find along with the recipe here: http://smittenkitchen.com/2011/09/red-wine-chocolate-cake/

  19. this is not my recipe but it is my absolute favorite cake because 1) it's chocolate 2) it has coffee.

  20. this is not my recipe but it is my absolute favorite cake because 1) it's chocolate 2) it has coffee.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...