Monday, October 14, 2013

Inspiration Mondays: I Made a Cake

I'm a cake dreamer. Yes, I am. I dream of cakes. I find recipes, mull them over, think about how I'm going to make them, lie in bed at night wondering if I could change them and make them better, and they follow me into my dreams from time to time.

I also run a lot. I got up this morning and ran 10k. This is a big deal because this is something that I have only recently been able to do with ease.

There is a point to this, just hang on.

During my run, I was thinking about making a cake: a lemon blueberry cake with a lemon syrup topped with a lemon glaze. I was going to use this recipe from Erica's Sweet Tooth. I've had it saved for ages, ever since blueberry season here on Vancouver Island. I had it all planned, how I was going to adjust it to use less sugar, and how I was going to replace the oil with applesauce to reduce the fat in it. I was going to mix it up when I got home from my run, put it in the oven, take a shower, eat my breakfast, and it would be cooling by the time I took Rascal out for his walk.

So, I came home after my 10k run, took off my shoes, removed my sweaty shirt and put another one on, washed my hands, and starting putting the ingredients together: yogurt, eggs, sugar, vanilla... I cleaned up as I went along, and wiped up a splash of milk from the milk jug after I poured it into the batter. I put the milk back in the fridge...

And then I stopped.

And I blinked.

And I turned and looked at the mixing bowl. Then I turned and looked at the recipe. Then I gazed for a moment at the measuring cups, then back at the recipe.

There is no milk in this recipe.

I had no idea how much milk I put into the batter. My post-run brain just went into some kind of autopilot for a few minutes and just did it. I had a 1/3 cup and a 1/4 cup sitting on the counter. So... did I put 1/3 of a cup in? 2/3? That's the normal amount I put into my morning smoothie. Did I go into smoothie mode? What the heck did I just do?

The hubby found me standing there in my confusion, and when I explained to him what I thought had happened, he shrugged and said, "I'm sure it'll be fine."

After another moment of bewilderment, I decided I'd add another half cup of flour to the recipe and hope for the best. I mixed it up, poured it into the loaf tin, popped in the oven, ran up and took a quick shower while the hubby washed the mixing bowl. Then he went out, and I sat down and ate my breakfast and waited for the cake to bake. The timer went off, and I looked in and thought, "Well, it looks a little moist. I'll give it another 10 minutes." So, I set the timer again and waited.

Beep beep beep. Checked it. Hmm, not done yet. Set the timer again.

And we waited. Set it again after checking again.

Rascal waited patiently for his walk. I set the timer again.

I chopped vegetables, washed some grapes for a snack, set the timer again,

I knit a few rows, checked the cake, waited a bit longer...

I made my breakfast smoothie for tomorrow, and packed my lunch, reset the timer... and then I cooked a batch of food for my lunch for the rest of the week, reset the timer... and then I put a load of laundry into the washing machine...

After two hours of waiting, I looked into the oven and poked at the cake and decided I would just turn off the oven and leave the tin in there to let it set a bit more.

After a 50-minute walk, I came back and found the cake all sunken in the middle, more of a pudding than a cake. I stood there, contemplating what I'd made. Then, I went ahead and made a lemon syrup, poured it over, cut a piece while it was still warm and added a dollop of frozen yogurt and berries. Some would call it a mistake.

I called it "lunch."

So, what's the big inspiration behind this?

It's Thanksgiving here in Canada, and through all of this, I remembered that this is what is known as a First World Problem. The fact that I can a) make cakes in an electric oven b) wash and dry my laundry with machines and c) have the time to run for 10k for the heck of it are things that, had I been born in another time or in another place, would have been a the stuff of fantasy. It is only my own generation of my family that has experienced an entire lifetime of these conveniences. And the older I get, the more I realize how lucky I am, and as I walk through supermarkets and use my modern conveniences, I am bewildered by our abundance and by the miracles of indoor plumbing and washing gadgets.

Today, I am grateful for all that I have. I think I will make sure that I make a few donations this week to our local foodbank, and make sure I don't whine about having to empty the dishwasher or put away my abundance of clean clothes. Because after all, it's all these things that allow me to say, "I made a cake."

Gobble gobble.


Mark Aguilar said...

I'm thankful for all the sharing that happens online, especially from this blog, which has shown inspiration and motivation can be found in ordinary day-to-day places. Also, cake. I'm very thankful for cake. =)

AdrieneJ said...

Cake is a wonderful thing. We are very fortunate to have cake, yes. :)