|Baking has always been a form of therapy for me. The quickest way to alleviate my stress is to put me in front of a Kitchen Aid mixer with a ton of sugar and butter. |
It’s a difficult time for all of us. Most of us are battling some mix of worry, loneliness, and depression and that is okay. We are losing jobs, and adjusting to this bizarre normal, and fearing what’s yet to come.
In times of uncertainly and loss of control, there is peace to be found in a fail-proof recipe. It reminded me of Julie & Julia when she has a terrible day but finds comfort at the end of it through making chocolate mousse.
There is comfort in things that are certain during instability. Comfort in the knowledge that if you mix together butter, milk, and powdered sugar, something fluffy and delicious will result. It is fail-proof. And even if I’m not hungry, if I have no appetite, frosting still tastes good. It reminds us of birthdays, and celebrations, and happiness, and family.
So when I’m sad, I bake.
My family loves cake. We had cake for dessert most nights of the week, and it was not uncommon for me to come downstairs in the morning and see my mom at the kitchen table in her robe, eating the leftovers for breakfast with a cup of tea. Yes, cake was an acceptable breakfast in my home. It explains so much!
There was never a holiday, birthday, or occasion that passed without homemade, from scratch, cake to celebrate with it. The baton of head pastry chef was passed down from my
grandmother, to my mother, to my oldest sister, Traci, to me.
That said, we’ve tried a lot of recipes over the years. There are a few favorites, but perfecting basic chocolate and vanilla cakes was obviously the essential task, and after years we did.
When I flew to LA to be with my sister, I knew the night before as I was packing that there was nothing I could say or do when I arrived that would help her, or make her feel better, or take her fear away…
But I could bring her some cake; Mom’s white cake. Because made right – cake always tastes good. It tastes like home, and love, and a hug from your family. So I baked. I frosted. I cut the biggest slice possible, and sealed it tight, and hoped it would taste like hope.
So here are both the recipes; chocolate and vanilla cake for some hope to whip up at home when you need it.
A note on cake pans:
I use 3, 8” cake pans for all for my cakes!
You can also use two, and then cut the layers in half horizontally so you have four layers. But this is tricky! I love these pans, which are 3″ high because you NEVER run the risk the layer bubbles over the top. I love using a leveler which you can buy for about $8!
A note on assembling a cake:
Stack a layer of cake, put on a thick layer of frosting, then cake, then frosting, then cake. You can do this as a “naked” cake or you can cover the sides in frosting! Then, indulge.
Cut the biggest piece ever go. to. TOWN.
It’s worth it.
p.s. – you can shop my pink polka dot baking dress here!