Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Back in the Kitchen, with the Cake as Big as a Football Field

This month the Bite Club selection is Melissa Clark, whom I've often heard on WNYC talking at such speed that I rarely get more than a word here and there.  But her books are entertaining and very conversational in tone, and today I took a shot at a recipe from Cook This Now.  This was for a figgy demerara snacking cake.

Except I don't have fresh figs, nobody does in this region right now, and I didn't have brandy, which she puts in her baking.  So I used black plums, quartered and pitted, and subbed the brandy with merlot, figuring that if she's after an alcohol touch, that should work. And I didn't have demerara sugar for sprinkling over the top, so I used ordinary granulated.

And I had to buy a new baking pan to accommodate this giant cake, which she explains is so big because you can't reduce the recipe without ruining it.  Because -- one egg! etc.

Her instructions say, after making the batter, to nestle the fruit on top all over it.  And as I was nestling away, I realized I was making a giant version of Marion Burros plum torte...oh. I make hers in August using prune plums, but other than that, not a lot of difference.

Except that I actually like this one better, grainy with wholewheat flour, and at 18 x 13, enough cake for the foreseeable future, which suits me fine, needing a little something when I'm home in the afternoon for tea.  I did feel as if I were cooking for a summer camp, though. But I'm glad to have the new baking pan, since my old ones are not quite up to the task after decades of use.

I'm listening to The Big Short, about the financial prime mortgage collapse and what led up to it, very good stuff to bake by, even if I did get a bit lost in the financial technicalities, but since I remember it all coming down, it in fact worked fine for me, explaining a lot of what was mysterious when it was in the news. 

And when you're hearing about the blind greed verging on lunacy that brought about the housing finance collapse, it's good to be grounded and baking and generally doing something sane and part of civilized life, and with a desirable result.

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