The Cake Is A Lie

We all celebrated Dina’s birthday with a quiet evening of pizza and beer at their new apartment, and I can only say that I am severely jealous of their apartment-their living room space and amazingly comfortable couch in particular. Allie even ventured to a fancy bakery and bought a cake and candles and everything. It was a beautiful, fancy looking cake that smelled like chocolate and wonderful things, but it was a lie. Despite being from a bakery named “Paris Baguette” it was still a Chinese cake-it just didn’t hit my cake craving sensors. The frosting was a little on the sweet side and the cake was not flavorful, too dry, a bit spongy and light. Other than the cake, though it was a very enjoyable night with the family.

Today was a day of small annoyances-showing up to my lesson on time, but the office being locked up, dark, and no one answering any phone calls, so I went to the grocery store to pick up a few baking necessities I lacked, in hopes of biking home, dropping the supplies off, and then returning to see if the office had opened for my afternoon class. I got a call as I was standing in line at the grocery store telling me that my student had showed up even though the door was still locked. I returned, since the school is five minutes from the grocery store. Little Peach saw me coming through the doors and ecstatically started shouting “Robot laoshi is here! Robot laoshi came! Hooray!” It was just one of those moments that made me really happy to be a part time English teacher. We waited another half hour before a girl showed up to unlock the door, causing my normally 11:00 lesson to start at 12:15, pushing right up against the lesson I usually start at 1:00. And this entire time I hadn’t eaten anything because I forgot to eat breakfast and had been counting on the hour break I normally have. Biking home was a challenge. I tossed together fried rice pretty quickly, chopping a fine dice on green peppers, carrots and broccoli, frying up an egg and very sparingly adding a few drops of Maggi and soy sauce.

I had a headache all afternoon and evening, but I was so pleased to be baking that it didn’t really matter until afterward. I took a bus, and then, frustrated by the slow wait, a cab, to the Frisbee strategy meeting, burdened with a backpack and grocery bag with all my supplies.

Brownie mix from a box, inherited from Bambi’s previous roommate, no reason for it to go to waste. I usually spice it up by adding Skors toffee bits, but I couldn’t find them anywhere, and put in M&Ms, Reeses Pieces bits, and broken up chocolate bars.

Almond Honey Cake. I’ve made this before and really liked it, but left the recipe in my recipe binder in America. I looked up several on tastespotting, and couldn’t find the exact one that I made before, so I cobbled a few recipes together.
A cup of almond paste (I used ground up almonds), a cup of butter (cubed, softened), 1 cup sugar and 1/3 cup honey, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, vanilla and almond extract, 6 eggs.
Preheat the oven to 325. Butter and flour a cake pan. I don’t have parchment paper, so usually I line a pan with tin foil and then butter and flour it for easy removal and clean up.
Whisk together the dry ingredients.
Supposedly blend sugar and almonds and a little bit of flour and then pulse in the butter until fluffy, but I didn’t have a food processor so I beat the butter in with a fork. Added in the honey, extract, and eggs one by one. Lightly incorporated the dry ingredients, careful not to overmix, and then baked for one hour. I would recommend more flour and less butter because the final product was glistening and very moist, although very tasty.

I also made Ginger Honey Cookies, which I made my summer in Shenyang with my co-interns when we hosted an event for locals. They are very chewy, almost bread or cake like in texture, and I’m not sure that I’ll make them again. 1 1/2 cup flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 cup crystallized ginger (I didn’t have any time to make it beforehand, so I used fresh grated ginger and ginger powder, but it’s best if you can candy the ginger beforehand or use store bought), 1 stick of butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, an egg and 1/2 cup honey.
The oven should be 350 for these. Mix the butter and brown sugar, beat until fluffy, add in honey and egg, then mix in the dry ingredients (previously whisked together). Spoonfuls of dough should be placed at least 2 inches apart because they spread a lot. Bake 10-14 minutes. I turned the pans around after about half way, and also, cooking time depends on if you like a little bit of crunch to the edges (I baked for the first batch for ten, and the second and third batch for 14 each).

I got to hold and coo over Baby M and she played with my locket and made growly noises and it was splendid. Then Baby M went to bed and I finished baking and joined the people who had been arguing about Frisbee for the past 2 1/2 hours and I got to listen to them argue for another hour and a half. My headache made its presence insistently known. Finally, at midnight, they decided to wrap up, but unfortunately, as Bambi and Ginny and I headed home, they continued their discussion throughout the cab ride and for another half hour at home. It never ends.

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