Red velvet apricot & cherry upside-down cake

“ONLY CONNECT”

E.M. Forster

Apricot cherry upside down cake

Following on this morning’s post of quotes, (yes, it will be on the test, children!) I’ve been thinking about how the quotes connect in my head, when I think about them all together. I think about how they relate to each other in unexpected ways. And then I think about how it’s in our nature, as humans, to make connections. If you give us 3 random facts, we’ll put them together to make a story. That’s how we watch films – we connect still pictures (somewhere in the upside-down back of our brain) to make a coherent, fluid movement. And then we’ll connect those images to make a narrative, to give them meaning. Of course, Forster was talking about connections between people, and I love that idea as well. But I’ve been thinking lately about how a connection with a person becomes more solid when we share some random connection of ideas or images, and when they make sense to both of us. For instance…the other day we were listening to the Pogues in the car, and Malcolm asked if they’d written the theme to Sponge bob. (Which my boys don’t actually watch, as it happens.) I had a chuckle, thought “Who lives in a feckin pineapple under the sea, boys?” We came home, I told David about it, as a cute things the boys said. Then, days later, David took that funny connection, drew this picture… And I felt really grateful to have somebody to share silly things with.

So, when I showed David this cake, and he said, “bloody stumps,” I knew exactly what he was talking about! There was a show called Home Movies. We loved it!! It was about an eight-year-old that made art house films. Classic! One of the characters, McGurk, is possibly the worst soccer coach ever. When one of the children on the soccer team won’t run down the field, he threatens to cut his legs off. “Bloody stumps!” he yells. (It’s not a kid’s show!) Well, one night, after the boys were a-bed, we had a chuckle about McGurk witnessing the hand-cutting-off-scene in Star Wars, and yelling… (tee hee hee) “bloody stumps, Anakin!” The point is…this might not make sense if I explain it in this long and tedious fashion, but sharing some odd connection that makes you laugh, with another human being, is the best way to connect. And we’re passing the craziness along to our boys!

Another nice way to connect is to share food. I have a friend-mom at school named Jamie. She had a son in Isaac’s class. She’s a vegetarian, too! She gave me these beautiful red velvet apricots, and I thought they were so pretty, I’d bake them upside-down. I put them in a cake with cherries. And I’d read that they were apricots crossed with plums, which made me think about plum pudding, which made me think about cinnamon and ginger and spicy black pepper. So I put those in the cake. And I love cherries and chocolate, and apricots and chocolate, and sweet spices and chocolate, so I thought I’d throw some chocolate chips in as well. And these apricots are known for “bleeding” red into gold. And then…well, I’m going to stop talking now or nobody is ever going to want to make this cake.

Here’s Niney the Observer with Blood & Fire I love the surname “the observer.”
Continue reading

Spiced cider cake with chocolate-covered ginger

Spiced Cider cake

Chocolate-covered ginger? Chocolate-covered ginger! I saw this at my extremely ordinary grocery store in the bulk food section. Of course I had to try it! Of course I had to put it in a cake! After feverishly running through various options in my head (a lemon ginger cake? A dark molasses-y cake?) I decided on a light but very spicy cake, with apple cider in it. To remind you of fall walks with fresh cider and cider donuts and apple butter… It smells wonderful while it’s cooking, and tastes just as good. If you can’t find dark chocolate-covered ginger, I would recommend using candied ginger and dark chocolate chips. I cut a snowflake out of paper and dusted powder sugar over the cake (and myself!) to make the pattern. Once again proving that cooking is all about the games you played when you were little.

Here’s James Yorkston’s beautiful Woozy with Cider (I used regular American cider, but I think you could use hard cider, too. Hmmm…I’ll have to try that!)
Continue reading