Friday, November 5, 2010

Time to bake

To make myself feel normal, I have two solutions: Go to a dance class or bake.

Since coming to Ann Arbor, I've been doing the latter quite often. While there aren't exactly a plethora of dance studios around here, there's always somewhere to buy butter, eggs, sugar and flour.

Which is reassuring when you have recipes with titles like lemon olive oil cake or sweet potato pound cake nagging at you.

I made the lemon olive oil cake two weeks ago, and it is luscious. The recipe comes from a bakery I staged at for two weeks this summer after my "real" (aka legal) job was over. I cannot describe how much fun I had. The women who work at Floriole are all wonderful, especially Sandra, the owner. Follow the recipe in that one exactly: use a fruity lovely olive oil, take your time pouring in the olive oil, and you should be good to go. Believe me when I say people will be falling all over themselves for a slice.

The sweet potato pound cake was my diversion last night. Two of my roommates and I were studying at the kitchen table, when I put down my highlighter, walked into the kitchen, turned on the oven and popped open a bottle of wine. It was time to bake. The rest of the evening was spent drinking wine, laughing and singing along to oldies music.

I followed this recipe pretty much exactly, but would do a few things differently next time. After roasting the sweet potatoes (at 350 degrees for around an hour, until a knife slides in and out without resistance), I would puree them in a food processor to make sure you end up with a really smooth texture. I would also take Molly's suggestion to put the glaze through a sieve before drizzling it on top of the cake, as it's prone to lumps. Otherwise, it's really lovely--a spice doughnut in cake form.

Happy fall, everyone. Enjoy it while you can--our forecast is for snow flurries tonight.