The economy is rocky. There's still a war overseas. But all is right in the world -- for the moment, at least. Why? I baked a cake.
For the first time ever. Yes, believe it or not, it took me 41 years to learn to bake a cake and then to go ahead and DO IT.
After my disastrous Nanaimo Bar experience, I was skittish about trying to make my mom's famous Coffee Apple Cake, but I was not going to let a little unsifted and sugar intimidate me -- especially not after finally managing to hunt down a Bundt pan.
Mixing the ingredients was a breeze. Everything was going smoothly until I poured the gooey batter into the greased bunt pan without flouring it first.
Oops. It only reached about halfway up the pan.
What to do? Call mom, of course.
"Mom, it doesn't look as if I have enough batter."
"It will rise," mom assured me. "That's why you flour the pan."
"Um, do you need to flour the pan?" I asked.
"Yes," said mom.
"Oh well, I didn't flour it."
"It might not rise very much, but it should be okay," mom assured me.
"I can pour the batter out now and flour it."
"No, it's too late. Hopefully, it will be okay. You just may have a low cake."
Luckily, even though I neglected to flour the pan, the cake reached the top of the pan. After taking it out of the oven, I quickly flipped it over and onto a plate.
It looked okay, but was I was supposed to wait until it cooled before flipping it?
I phoned mom to find out.
"Do I flip it out right away?"
"No, wait for it to cool."
"Oh. I already flipped it out," I said.
"Why did you ask me after the fact? I hope you at least remembered to peel the apples. And you brewed the coffee, right? You didn't just put in coffee grinds."
Phew. Luckily I peeled the apples and brewed the coffee. And even though I didn't wait for the cake to cool before flipping it, it held together.
I drizzled on the glazing in time to hurry over to Dori's Hanukkah party, where the cake was a big hit. I foisted it upon a couple of foodie friends.
"Very moist!" one exclaimed.
"Tasty!" said another.
"I like the texture," Avo added.
I was fishing for compliments, but they seemed genuinely impressed.
One party guest who had brought a packaged (albeit yummy) apple pie asked, "Did you make that cake by scratch?"
"Yes and it's the first cake I ever made!" I told her and anybody who seemed mildly interested.
Buoyed by my apple coffee cake success, yesterday I started shopping online for Bundt pans.
"I'm sort of hoping this baking thing is just a phase," said Avo. "And that you'll start focusing on the main course."
He's got a point. Baking is fun, but it doesn't help feed us at dinnertime. Then again, 'tis the season for sweet stuff.