Friday, February 12, 2010

Tea and Cake

I needed to bake a cake. It was as simple as that. All week, I had been looking forward to a time I could set aside for this purpose. I partially satisfied this yearning through making dinner on several nights: I threw together a stir-fry, whipped up some eggs for omelettes. I puttered in the kitchen and saw dinners coalesce in less than an hour - and there was satisfaction in that. But the desire to bake still nagged at me. Ingredients for the cake I wanted to bake were all there in my kitchen, including the intriguing bag of almond flour. I became impatient, proprietary of my free time. Shoveling snow, I daydreamed about cake.

The day came at last. Dishes from breakfast and lunch had been washed, now drying in rows on the counter. The kitchen was neat and scrubbed. Outside, the snow fell unceasingly, drifting into hillocks, blocking our garage. The cats had scattered to their respective corners for their midday naps - the presence of one was indicated by an uneven mound formed from the bunching of a throw-blanket. A layer of the blanket rustled mysteriously as our cat underneath breathed heavingly.

I worked in the kitchen, unrushed. I combined the different flours, brought together disparate ingredients, and whisked the gleaming batter.

I was creating something new in my domestic space. It was a way for me to inhabit my home more fully: the aroma of the cake baking in the oven, the large bowl -not completely scraped of its speckled batter- still on the counter, the teapot's roiling, anticipating an afternoon tea.

I chose a yellow tea and watched its delicate silver-laced leaves steep in the hot water. I took the cake from the oven, the kitchen now heady with aromas of almond and oranges. I looked outside and saw passersby blurred by the blowing snow. Inside, a cat emerged from his warm roost for a momentary stretch.

I finished preparing my tea and sat next to the kitchen window. The cake was pleasantly crumbly, yielding the flavor of sweet oranges on an amandine backdrop. I sipped my tea, its floral nature silky in my mouth. I sat in the white silence of the afternoon, finally roused from my reveries by the appearance of two hungry cats in the doorway, "meeeoooww".

Notes on how I made the cake: I omitted the glaze altogether, used only 1/2 cup of sugar instead of 3/4 cup called for, and found this more than adequately sweet ( I have a veritable sweet tooth). I used the zest and juice from one orange. Otherwise, I followed the instructions from the original recipe to a T.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Enjoy the cake. Feed the cats. Taste the tea.