October 18, 2013
Sometimes, life hands you lemons. Other times, though, it hands you figs.
So check it out: I go to this greasy spoon diner called Rae’s every weekend. I’m a regular. I have a “usual,” and I get slightly annoyed when someone else is sitting in my spot on the bar. (I’m short, and my favorite chair is a little bit taller than all the rest.)
But it wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that I realized that the big tree growing just to the left of the building is, in fact, a fig tree. A fact I learned by stepping (and almost slipping) on an overripe fig on the ground. I took a few photos, then a nice old lady came out to tell me that I could take some of the ripe ones if I wanted, since they would just go to waste anyway. So I did! Because despite figs being the sexiest fruit, beautiful just torn apart and eaten raw, I had a recipe I wanted to try up my sleeve.
I love a snacking cake. The kind of cake that you feel like you can eat for breakfast, or with a cup of tea, or as dessert. This cake is rustic and sturdy, requiring no creaming of butter or careful folding-in of ingredients. Just a quick mix of dry and wet ingredients, some pretty figs plopped on top, and half an hour in the oven. What a simple way to be happy.
August 29, 2012
The other day, David Lebovitz posted a picture of part of his ramekin collection on Instagram. Stacks of variously-sized glazed white porcelain bowls, filling an entire sink. I covet this collection from the depths of my baker-heart.
What is a girl to do but start her own collection of baking vessels? For me, though, it started with tart pans. Pretty little fluted pans in a myriad variety of sizes for a million different uses. Cupcakes? Who needs cupcakes when you can make such daintily ruffled berry-studded tea cakes?
August 24, 2012
After a two-week heat wave, it’s starting to cool down in Paris this week. At the Thursday Bastille market, there were yellow and orange leaves littering the ground, and the strawberries were not as numerous or quite as bright and juicy-looking as they were earlier in the summer. I know it’s only August, but as soon as the strawberries start going out, it feels like fall is on its way. What’s say we make a few lovely sun-drenched cakes to stretch out the summer a little longer, hmm?
I’ve made a version of this cake every summer since I moved into my first apartment in college. I don’t remember where that first recipe came from — possibly one of the cookbooks that my roommates brought with them — but this recipe from Martha Stewart by way of Smitten Kitchen is my favorite so far. The milk in the recipe allows the cake to stay moist throughout the long bake time, while the strawberries soften and roast into dimpled puddles of sweet jamminess. The way the strawberries make the batter buckle and puff make it look vaguely quilted. Lovely for company or for afternoon snacking.