Today, I’m saying goodbye to a season. My twenties. It was a good run, and I’d like to think I made the most of it. To celebrate my turning thirty, we got up and went out for a birthday breakfast this morning (appropriately well before 8:30 a.m., thanks to our First Born Son), and I thought I would compile this little list of thirty bits of collected wisdom from my past thirty years….
#1. Be thankful.
#2. Be someone who smiles at people in the grocery store.
#3. Learn which words need apostrophes and which one’s dont.
#4. Cross an ocean and live there for a while.
#5. Always be reading a book. A real book, with pages.#6. You will be thirteen. And there will be some misery. And you will not always be thirteen.
#7. Be in community. Receive and contribute.
#8. Don’t buy fresh tomatoes in January. Just don’t.
#9. God’s ways are many.
#10. Having a kid has intensely heightened every emotion I knew I had and some I didn’t.
#11. You probably need fewer vehicles than you have.
#12. Always have some cheese in your refrigerator.
#13. Write thank-you notes.
#14. Buy a firm mattress the first time.
#15. Marry someone who fully knows your faults and still wants to sit next to you on the couch.
#16. Stop. Stop and sit with a cup of coffee in the afternoon. Just for five minutes.
#17. Making a baby laugh can get you over the worst mood.
#18. Learn how to make bread. Make it. Then slather it in butter.
#19. If you trip, don’t act like you didn’t. It just makes it worse.
#20. “Our hearts are restless until they find rest in Thee.” – St. Augustine
#21. Be available.
#22. Buy used things. Thrift stores and estate sales are magical places.
#23. Have people in your life that are different from you, or you will stagnate.
#24. Marry someone who will kill and dispose of insects for you.
#25. Go outside.
#26. Accept the seasons of your life, knowing that they are both temporary and highly purposeful.
#27. This too shall pass.#28. Make your coffee strong; you can always make it weaker.
#29. Count your blessings; name them one by one.
#30. There is a time and place for dessert: the time is now, and the place is my mouth.
But I’ve had my eye on this recipe for over a year, and there was no more appropriate an occasion than this to make it.
This cake is super chocolatey; its batter is smooth like a mousse and yields two tender and moist chocolate cake layers. In the middle of the two layers is a rich, dark chocolate ganache, topped with maple-roasted cranberries to give it just a touch of tart. The layers are topped with a sweet white chocolate glaze that I could eat straight, with a spoon, for days. I made this cake over the course of two days (cakes on Friday, the rest on Saturday) and can only suggest you do the same…this cake is fussy and high-maintenance but so worth the investment of time and kitchen-curses once you get to the end result.
Happy Birthday to me; I’m thankful for you.
(recipe from Lunds & Byerly's Real Food Magazine )
(yields 16 servings)
This decadent chocolate layer cake is celebration-worthy. It boasts two moist chocolate cake layers, a dark chocolate ganache filling, with a white chocolate truffle glaze, topped with maple-roasted cranberries for a just a touch of balancing tart. While this recipe is a little high-maintenance, the end result is totally worth the effort. (My only tip is to spread this out over two days: make the cake and cranberries the day before, and keep them in the refrigerator, before making and assembling the rest of the cake the next day!)
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 c. cake flour
2/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
12 tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 c. sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. buttermilk (I used the 3rd substitution)
2 c. fresh or frozen cranberries, defrosted
2 tbsp. maple syrup
3/4 c. heavy cream
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
8 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. heavy cream
4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
12 oz. white chocolate, chopped (or white chocolate chips)
1 tsp. vanilla
(Suggestion: make the cake and cranberries the day ahead and keep tightly covered in the fridge the day before serving; make the ganache filling and glaze the next day).
1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350*. Grease two 9-inch cake pans. Line bottoms of pans with parchment paper, and grease paper too. (I only have one cake pan; I made one cake; cooled it, and then made the second.)
2. For the Cakes:
Fill a saucepan with 1 inch of water and bring to simmering. Place chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and rest the bowl on top of the pan, not touching the water. Stir chocolate as it melts. Remove from heat, and set aside to cool slightly.
Sift cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. Stir to combine.
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar together on medium until smooth, about two minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until incorporated. Mix in vanilla and beat one more minute. With mixer on low, mix in melted chocolate. Add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with buttermilk in two additions (beginning and ending with the flour mixture) and mixing until flour is just incorporated. Dived batter evenly between two prepared pans.
Bake cake layers just until tops feel firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 mins. (Leave your oven on!) Cool cakes 10 minutes in pans, and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
(These can be kept overnight in the fridge, carefully and tightly wrapped with plastic wrap).
Grease a glass pie plate. Place cranberries and maple syrup in the pie plate, and stir together. Bake in your still warm (350*) oven for about 15 minutes until syrup is bubbling and cranberries are soft. Spread on a plate to cool. (You can keep these overnight in the fridge, on the plate, tightly covered.)
For the Ganache Filling:
Heat cream and butter in a medium saucepan over low heat until cream is hot and butter melts. Do not let mixture boil! Remove pan from heat; add chocolate, and let sit in hot cream mixture about 30 seconds to soften. Add vanilla and whisk until smooth and chocolate melts. Transfer to a bowl; cover and refrigerate about one hour until edges are firm and center is slightly thickened.
For the Glaze:
Heat cream and butter in a medium saucepan over low heat until cream is hot and butter melts. Do not let boil! Remove from heat; add white chocolate and let sit in cream about 30 seconds to soften. ADd vanilla and whisk until smooth and chocolate melts. Set aside until cool and thick enough to cling to cake (about 30 mins.)
To Assemble the Cake:
Transfer one cake layer to a serving platter. Turn it upside down so that the top of the cake is touching the platter. (This will give you a nice even middle surface to work with - my mom's tip!) Spread the ganache filling on that layer. Set aside about 1/3 of the nicest looking cranberries, and put the rest on top of the ganache layer. Place the second cake layer on top of the ganache, right side up. (The bottoms of the two cakes should be in the middle of the cake). Top the top cake layer with the glaze, using a thin spatula to spread it over the top and sides ot eh cake. Scatter remaining cranberries over the top. Best served the day assembled.
Cake needs to be kept in the refrigerator.