Last Saturday was a blizzarding day. The sky was white and bewildering, the time passed quickly and not-at-all, and the snow lay in deep, perfect drifts all around. A week later, the snow is still in giant gravelly piles where it was pushed away from all the places people walk and drive and park. The time is still passing strangely. The hours pass in the usual way, some flying some crawling, but at the end of the day it’s all a blur and I haven’t done half the things I’ve persuaded myself that I need to do. It’s days like this that make you want to turn into Malcolm’s latest superhero creation: Slothman. Slothman’s super power is that he goes slowly, he takes time to enjoy things. And he enjoys everything. Malcolm believes that people, and himself in particular, move too fast. He is a speedy fellow. So if he could turn into slothman he would slow down, everything would slow down. He could be happy just sitting up in a tree doing nothing but just sitting up in a tree. That in itself would become something to enjoy. The funny thing is that I think Malcolm already has this quality in spades. Not the slowness part, he is fairly full-speed-ahead in all endeavors. But the enjoying part. When you’re doing something with Malcolm–cooking or playing cards or going for a walk–he’ll announce, “This is fun.” And because he says it, you stop and think, “this is fun,” and then, strangely, it becomes more fun, just because he said it. And on the day that Malcolm told me about Slothman, we were on a walk. He’d been jumping puddles rimmed with black mud, and I was worried about his shoes, because it’s my job to worry about his shoes. Malcolm stopped walking and I yelled, “No jumping puddles!” But guess what–he wasn’t jumping puddles, he wasn’t moving at all. He was standing perfectly still, with a beaming face, and he said, “It’s so pretty! The light through the trees! And the shadows!” I looked ahead on the path and it was pretty, it was beautiful. The pale hopeful January light through brambled leafless trees. I thought about taking a picture, but it would never work, I couldn’t capture it. So we just stood for a moment and watched the shifting slanting light, until Clio woke us and we moved on.
Snowy weather is always good baking weather, so we’ve been making lots of cookies and cakes and bread. One day I ran out of flour, so I made this cake. It’s very tasty! Soft and flavorful, but with an almost crispy layer on the top. The flavors–cinnamon, chocolate, coffee, almond–they’re perfect together! This wasn’t at all hard to make, and it was even easier to eat.
Here’s Groovin in Style by Ken Parker
4 eggs, separated
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup + 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup white sugar
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 cups slivered toasted or roasted almonds
1 t baking powder
1/4 cup black coffee
1/4 cup milk
Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly butter a cake pan.
Combine the butter and 1 cup chocolate chips in a small saucepan and warm over low heat until just melted. Let cool slightly.
Whip the egg whites until stiff. In a food processor, whip the egg yolks until pale and foamy. Add the sugar and vanilla and process to combine. Add the almonds, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and process until quite smooth.
Add the chocolate, butter, coffee, and milk, and process again until velvety. Add the 1/2 cup chocolate chips and process until they’re broken up.
Stir a spoonful of whipped egg whites into the batter, and then pour the batter into the egg whites. Gently stir to combine.
Pour into the prepared pan. Bake about 40 minutes, until it’s firm to the touch and pulling away from the edges of the pan slightly. Toothpicks or knives inserted won’t come out clean, so don’t wait for that!