Tuesday, September 15, 2009



I don’t lay claim to queen-like qualities, even if I do believe that I was Madame de Pompadour in a former life (long story and yes I know she was not a Queen, only a mistress… but what power!), but I often say “Let them eat cake”. Nothing in the fridge? Eat cake! Nothing for dinner? Eat cake! Whether the best of times or the worst of times, there is always cake in this house. My shopping carts are always filled to bursting with bags of flour, boxes of sugar, sachets of yeast and baking powder. Bottles of vanilla extract and maple syrup line my pantry shelves next to the colored sprinkles and cocoa powder. Plastic containers carefully stacked are packed with bars of baking chocolate and dark brown sugar, nuts and chocolate chips. Dozens of eggs and sticks of butter take up too much room in my refrigerator. But food? Food, as in lunch and dinner, food? Sometimes but not always. Off with ye to the market if ye be hungry…

Well, maybe I do harbor princess-like tendencies. I crave luxury and want to be pampered. Bubble baths and flutes of champagne, boxes of chocolates and help in the house, someone else to walk the dog and wash the dishes. The blending, stirring of cake batter is true luxury, so silky and smooth. I want my home filled with the scent of cinnamon and chocolate, the warmth of a hot oven. I love the sensuality of kneading soft, sweet dough and rolling it out, shaping it and filling it with mounds of caramelized fruit or showers of cinnamon-sugar and chocolate chips. Spreading frosting is a guilty little pleasure, sometimes the reason behind the making of the cake, swirling and swagging sensuously.

The mood strikes and I wander the house, tapping on bedroom doors, blocking the tv screen with my body, and announce my desire to bake a cake. What flavor shall it be? Husband asks “Isn’t there already enough to eat?” Older son shrugs his shoulders and, if pressed, turns on me and claims abuse “You bake too much. We can’t and don’t want to eat everything you bake!” or else he rolls his eyes and says “Why do you even ask? Just bake it and you know I’ll eat it!” Younger son chastises me for even considering making anything other than the 3 cakes he knows and loves. And if I press, maybe suggesting a new recipe or hite layers instead of chocolate, he’ll turn on me and say “well, how about if I just say that I won’t eat it at all! Okay? I won’t eat any of it! So you make what you’ll eat!” Princess or not, those around me do not give me the adulation I deserve.

But some of my wonderful food blogger friends have! (Oh, just joking!). I have made a dense, fudgy chocolate cake with our favorite chocolate buttercream frosting and I would love to share this cake with at least two of you who have recently honored me (and my queenly service to the world of food bloggers – see the royal wave?) with awards.

Rebecca of Chow and Chatter has presented me with the Meme Award. I have recently gotten to know Rebecca and not only does she have great recipes on her blog – so many exotic recipes, foreign cuisines, all so easy to prepare (and healthy to boot) – and a beautiful daughter, but she is such a wonderful, lovely person and I now consider her a great friend. I am honored that she presented me with this award.

The requirement for this award is to list 7 things about your personality and then pass the award on to 7 other bloggers. Funny thing is, when I read Rebecca’s list about her personality, I was struck by how much alike we are! No wonder we get along so well! So here goes:

1. I am a great friend and the one people turn to for a shoulder, an ear, advice or a kind word. I go out of my way for my friends. My husband once told me that maybe my role in life was “to be lovely for others”. Friends and family are the most important thing to me.

2. I get itchy every few years to move. I crave new places and new situations, discovering new cultures. I fall into place quickly and adapt. And I need to keep moving.

3. I procrastinate. I put things off until I can’t anymore, whether mailing out gifts, making a doctor’s appointment, anything and everything. Keeping a blog has helped me in this respect. I’ve learned a little bit how to get things done on time.

4. I worry. About everything.

5. I am funny in my own odd way. As serious as I often am when need be, I love to joke and tease – you may have noticed that on comments I’ve left on blogs – and love to laugh and hope others laugh with me and don’t misread my odd, dry sense of humor. I also deal with hurt and sadness with humor; that is a family trait.

6. I am overly sensitive, taking too many things personally. When husband wants to tease me or force me to look at things a bit clearer, he says “Oh, I’m sure so-and-so hates you!” On the flip side, I am too naïve and trusting, always believing the best in people even when they are blatantly bad, I still try and believe.

7. I am friendly and love nothing more than breaking down barriers, false societal codes, etc. I love to talk with people and have the knack of getting people to let down their hair, open up and start talking about what they have locked up inside, or making them laugh and become friendly and familiar even when it isn’t their way.

I would now like to pass on this award to some great friends and fabulous food bloggers:

Nanette aka Ms Gourmet of Gourmet Worrier
Rachael of La Fuji Mama
Barbara of Barbara Bakes
Meeta of What’s For Lunch, Honey?
Mary of One Perfect Bite
Deb of Italian Food Forever
Renee of Flamingo Musings

Sophie of Sophie’s Foodiefiles awarded me the One Lovely Blog Award. I love Sophie’s blog. She, too, has wonderful, creative food and recipes on her blog that you must check out. She does have One Lovely Blog and I am thrilled that she thought to pass this award on to me.

I would like to give the One Lovely Blog Award to two food bloggers – and friends – who both indeed have very lovely blogs: incredible recipes and stunning photography. So worth a trip to visit their blogs.

Deeba of Passionate about Baking
Mowie of Mowielicious

This is truly the icing on the food blogging cake!

So back to the grind, back to trying to convince my men that one more slice of cake is good for them, better than bread, or when I proclaim that dense, dark and chocolate will soothe the soul, lift the spirits, and keep away the maddening crowd. I know that sometimes they want off with my head when they are clamoring for a meal and all I offer is a slice of something sweet, my loyal subjects no longer quite so loyal when they find me aproned, sweeps of flour kissing my cheek, licking dabs of chocolate from my dainty fingers. They do not smile when I inform them that with a little patience they can indeed have their cake and eat it, too.

"Just finish your Lambretta so you can take me away from all this madness!"

I have two favorite chocolate cake recipes, one light and airy, smooth and silky, the other dense and incredibly moist, decadent to the point of sinful. I decided to turn to my King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion and try a Devil’s Food Cake. It came out wonderfully dense and chewy, a delightful change to my others. As you can see, the baking was uneven, the results of an oven much too small, so I had to continually flip and switch the cakes around. Next time I will bake one layer at a time to avoid this. But even if it looks uneven it came out delicious. Eating this cake I tasted no difference. It was wonderful.

I frosted the cake with a double quantity of our favorite easy chocolate buttercream.

Makes a double-layer 9” cake or triple layer 8” cake or a 9 x 13” sheet cake

12 Tbs (1 ½ sticks, 175 g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
1 ¾ cups (350 g) sugar
½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp baking soda
2 tsps vanilla
2 cups (240 g) flour
¾ cup (65 g) cocoa powder
4 large eggs
1 ½ cups (375 ml) milk

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter and line the baking pans.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter, the sugar, salt, baking soda and the vanilla until fluffy, about 5 minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and cocoa making sure no lumps remain, sifting if need be.

Beat in the eggs to the butter mixture, one egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Slowly blend 1/3 of the flour mixture into the creamed mixture, then half the milk and so on until all the dry ingredients and the milk have been beaten in., scraping the sides as needed.

Divide the batter evenly between the pans and smooth.

Bake the cakes in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes (a bit longer for the sheet pan, a bit shorter for the 8” pans) until set in the center and the sides of the cake just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before turning out onto cooling racks. Cool completely before frosting.


Colloquial Cook said...

My family is the same :-D asked my dad if I could make a crazy cake project for his Bday and he was like "errr what about a linzertorte?". Pffff!
Anyway, bravo pour les awards!!

♥♥♥Ria♥♥♥ said...

JAMIE!! I could relate to whatever you wrote here so so well! LOL! most of us have somewhat the same experience! LOL!

Good meme Jamie! And Congratulations on those awards!The cake is so moist n rich! Perfectly baked!

MeetaK said...

now this is a piece of cake i would like to dive into and eat my way out of! yum! thanks for the award jamie - much appreciated!

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Congratulations on your awards. It's always nice to know more about the person behind the blog. You would have been a very popular queen if everyone had to eat this wonderful cake.

Bethie said...

I would love a slice!

girlichef said...

Fit for Royalty! ;) Devil's food fits both your past life and the richness, deep, deliciousness of this one! You are a queen among women, my friend. Congrats on your well deserved awards...I love the little insights into Jamie :)

Amy said...

Great list and little window into your...dare I say...soul. I could relate!

And your love affair with cake? Mine is with pie. But if you put a slice of that Devil's Food in front of me, it would be gone within seconds.

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

Mmmm, I need some of that cake.. with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, please!

La Table De Nana said...

No wonder I don't read the paper in the morning~:)

Way more interesting and visual here..

Me too I bake too fast for the 2 people that we are here..I try halving recipes..


May I ask where the plate that had the cutlery printed on it is from?
You can tell I have thought about it:)?

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Great to learn more about you! Congrats on the awards!

That cake looks devilish ;-P! Nothing better than such a goodie to break down barriers!



Jamie said...

@La Table de Nana: you are in France, right? Bought the cool plate at La Maison du Monde!

Thanks all of you lovelies!

Deeba @Passionate About Baking said...

YAY for the awards lov...& 'blush', thanks for thinking of moi!! U will always be queen, no matter what. I can ttansport my fmaily to you. They love cake...the richer the better, & yours fits the bill perfectly! I'm sure the men in your life secrely enjoy all the baking adventures. Loved the meme...so YOU!! Wonderful!!

Barbara Bakes said...

Awwww an award for moi! How fun! Thanks - it's so lovely of you to think of me! Congrats on your awards. It's nice to learn a bit more about my kind and sensitive friend!

I certainly would not get complaints around here if I baked your delicious chocolate cake - we would eat it for breakfast too. I especially loved the part of the frosting recipe that says "Using the spatula eat any remaining frosting left in the bowl."

buffalodick said...

I have to make a cake right now! Wife's birthday....

MsGourmet said...

I love you girl, cake baking tendencies (obsession) and all! Merci for the award bella. If it were any other time I would indulge (bore) you, but this week is utter madness!

baci baci


Katherine Aucoin said...

Congrats on your awards and I would vote for you for queen! I am enjoying learning about you.

Happy cook said...

Congrats on the lovely awards. I don't mind at all eating cake anytime of them day :-) and that cake just look so so yumm.

Chow and Chatter said...

Jamie oh we are alike, I wish i didn't worry though and when your a good friend you worry about their issues as well!!, love the cake wheres my piece!!!!

Love Rebecca

Jamie said...

@Chow and Chatter: Rebecca, there is one small piece left! Hurry!

@buffalodick: Happy Birthday to your wife and hurry! Get baking and make it decadent and delicious!

@Ms Gourmet: Tanti baci, cara et buon viaggio!

And thanks to all of you for the votes! The crown is heavy but I'll try and live up to my obligations (more royal waving). Cake for everyone!

Heavenly Housewife said...

That is one serious cake! YUMMY!!!!
Loved learning more about you, we really have so much in common :D. I'm a big worrier too.

Fuji Mama said...

Hahaha, reading your list I could have sworn you were writing about me!!! Thank you so much for the award, I wish I could hug you in person for it!!!!!!!

Deb Mele said...

Awww, thanks so much Jamie! I love your warm personality and have enjoyed getting to know even a little bit my MacSistahs.

HUGS & Thanks! Congratulations on your awards. Your blog & personality draw people to you.


Elra said...

Look so yummy, and moist. A perfect cake indeed!

Jenn said...

I don't I need to tell you about my adoration for chocolate, right? I love the plate you have it on. Very appropriate. hehe...Now pass me a slice and maybe a glass of milk, too.

PS. congrats on the awards.

Danielle said...

lovely, beautiful cake (i'd like a slice right about now) and congrats on your awards!

La Table De Nana said...

Thanks for the answer~
I am in Canada..GReat site though..love the hutches:)

Talita said...

Gorgeous cake! Looks so moist!

Cakelaw said...

r blog through Nanette on Facebook - I loved this post. It made me laugh when you wrote about your groceries being packed with ingredients - it sounds so familiar. And what a gorgeous cake!

Chef Jeena said...

Mmmmm the colour of the cake is so rich it looks fabulous Jamie. :-)

Half Baked said...

Cangrats on the awards. You deserve a special award for that cake alone! ps if your family doesn't want it I'll be happy to take it off your hands;P

Sarah said...

We always have pastries in our house also! The cake looks delicous and makes me want to make one right now :)

teresa said...

i think this post has helped me like cake even more. oh the chocolate!

it was fun getting to know you better, and i can relate to a lot of your qualities, i'm a huge worrier too!

darnold23 said...

Great post! What time should I come by for a piece? I would like to invite you to participate in Crock Pot Wednesday at diningwithdebbie.blogspot.com. Come check it out.

Cinnamon Girl aka Reeni♥ said...

A chocoholic cake lover's dream! Congrats on your awards! And thanks for sharing those tidbits about yourself. I can relate to two of them - the procrastination and the itch to move every few years. I love starting over in a new place - the exploring and the anonymity of it.

heidileon said...

you are a sweet cake darling!

(oh am also a BIG procrastinator, and also think my blog has helped me a lot to be more organized and achieve own deadlines).

and yes you are funny, that's why we love you


Mary said...

Jamie, congratulations on all your well deserved awards and thank you so much for thinking of me and passing one my way. I'm really flattered. Thank you so much.

Aparna said...

Your post has given me my virtual chocolate fix for the day.
Btw, I am very envious of your pantry shelves *sigh*! :)
And have you tried that "wacky cake" recipe? Just realised it has no "eggyness" and very little fat!
Its nice to know you a little better.

Megan Gordon said...

What a good day! I agree that Mowie and Deeba have fabulous blogs...such a nice virtual community that I'm enjoying so much (although I'm a bit of a newbie). Cake looks incredible! I could use a slice right now.

Katy ~ said...

I haven't tried the KAF devil's food cake as I have a favorite chocolate cake recipe, but now seeing yours, I'll have to make this one soon.

Gotta love the wacky cake recipe; it's still loved after all these years!

Peggy Bourjaily said...

Loved this post and I love that you bake so much your family gets annoyed. Mine does too!

Congrats on your awards - well deserved!

Junglefrog said...

Your post made me laugh. In this household here (which is really only two people, so that makes it easier I guess) we have the opposite problem. I mean; I love to bake but don't do it too often as we tend to eat all of it... and quite frankly, my waistline could do without more cake! But my guy would want me to make cake everyday if he got the chance...!
Wonderful cake too by the way..:)

5 Star Foodie said...

The chocolate cake is superb, looks very decadent, definitely fit for a princess or a queen! Congrats on your awards!

Sophie said...

Congrats again on your recent awards!!

The filled cake looks georgous: a real winner!!

Nags said...

the colour of that cake is amazing!

Soma said...

What the devil?!! LOL beautiful post & a beautiful cake. My kids would love it if i baked every day but i don't.

s said...

this is to-die-for

The Cooking Photographer said...

Hi Jamie,

I'm not commenting on all of your posts, but I am enjoying going through as many as I can. I just wanted to pop on and let you know I'm enjoying them all.



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