Cake Dreams

Okay, so I might be trying to eat less dessert this week.  I’ve gotten in a bad habit of treating myself to a sweet snack at work, and it has to stop.  Which made me think about cake.  Any cake in particular?  This cake:

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photo by Ree Drumming (thepioneerwoman.com)

Is that not the most beautiful cake you’ve seen in years?  Maybe ever.  It’s chocolate with Nutella spread (hazelnut chocolate goodness), plus whipped cream and strawberries.  Yes, please.  I’ve seen that episode of The Pioneer Woman’s show a few times, and I find myself mesmerized by the cake every second it’s on the screen.

I was seriously considering whipping this up this weekend.  To reward myself for being so healthy today, right?  (Terrible plan, I know.)  But I knew that the internet wouldn’t let me down if I needed a dose of reality/discouragement.  Enter reality:

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photo from quirkytreats.blogspot.com

What I love most about this picture and the corresponding blog post is that the baker in question considers it a total success.  It might be slightly less perky than PW’s picture, but it’s a delicious cake and that’s all that matters.  Although I completely agree with that logic, it does make me smile.  I’d say that 89% of the cakes I’ve made have had a “quirky” look to them.  I understand. 

And then there’s this one from The Pioneer Woman herself:

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photo by Ree Drummond (thepioneerwoman.com)

It would be perfect for a Pisa-themed event, right?  I appreciate that PW is willing to show the moment when the cake falls over in addition to the other absolutely perfect cake moments.  Good show.

So how did those pictures discourage me?  Well, not that much.  But they did remind me that cake baking can be time-consuming and sometimes ego-destroying.  Maybe I’ll just work on folding the laundry this weekend instead.

Birthday Food

Yesterday was Scott’s birthday–a Monday, poor guy.  But I’m glad to report that the day was a success.  Do you know how I know?  This is what I found on our laundry hamper last night:

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In case you’re unsure, that’s one half of the mixer attachment, licked clean of icing and placed carefully in the side of the laundry hamper.  And that, my friends, means that Scott had at least some version of a fantastic birthday celebration.  Yay!

If I do say so myself, there was some good food last night.  There was La Madeleine’s Tomato Basil Soup.  And The Pioneer Woman’s Grilled Ribeye Steak with Onion-Blue Cheese Sauce.  And a salad (but honestly, that was just to make me feel better about the heavy cream and butter in the other recipes).  And last but not least, there was Billie’s Italian Cream Cake, also via The Pioneer Woman.  Oh, man.

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The soup and steak and sauce were pretty fantastic.  They’ve been “special occasion” favorites around our house for a while.  The cake was totally new to us, however, and it will definitely be making another appearance.  It’s a fluffy, buttery cake mixed with rich, nutty/coconut flakey cream cheese frosting.  I don’t have words to express how delicious it was.

Honestly, after steak and blue cheese sauce, I didn’t even want cake.  But you have to have birthday cake, right?  I’m so glad I had a piece.  You’ll be glad if you have a piece, too.

Also, I made a commitment to cake yesterday.  I bought 2 new cake pans, which means I can make a 3-tier, 9-inch cake any old time I want.  It’s exciting.  And as my dad pointed out, I’m finally living up to my childhood nickname, “Babycakes.”  Let this be a lesson to you.  If you nickname your kid after tasty food, you’ll thank your lucky stars as you eat that tasty food in your old(er) age.