Saturday, July 6, 2024

Baking, July.


Dear July,

I am trying to pace myself in your heat wave- this is day 4; there are 6 to 10 more!  There is no ice cream; we ate it in the pre-heat heat wave of a week ago.  We had cake instead.  Cake is brought to me today through the great and glorious technology of Modern Conveniences.  A little after the last big record shattering (and mentally scarring) heat wave of  the First Covid Year of 2020, we got a spiffing heat exchange air conditioner.  And last year, I was given a hand me down very Fancy Toaster Oven.  

This toaster oven is not at all like Old Bess, our beloved stove which runs on great gobs of propane; the emissions of which fill our well sealed straw bale house, especially when you don't want to open the door or window to let in the triple digit heat.  This Little Bess, a Bessie, really, is electric and using it does not make the red light flash on the Units of Death* meter we have in the kitchen.  It heats up in an absurdly short time, and can cook some fairly large things, like this cake!

It's adapted from a recipe from the wonderful people at Hayden Flour Mills.  Here is the original, and this is what I made today, with just a bowl and a spoon; no mixer required.

1/2 cup light olive oil (one that doesn't taste of olives)

1 cup sour cream 

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla paste

1 egg

      Mix all the above in a bowl, until it isn't lumpy.  Add:

1/2 cup tortilla flour (masa harina, for instance, or use more A. P. flour, or go crazy, and add cornmeal or buckwheat flour)

1 cup all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt.

     Mix all this until it isn't lumpy and pour it into a 8 inch, greased, round pan.  Bake it in Little Bessie, or Old Bess, or whatever you have for an oven, for about 30 minutes at 325 degrees.

Now, you can eat it as it is, or you can make a simple glaze:  In this instance, 2 tablespoons of melted butter, 3/4 cup of powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, and heavy cream until it is the right viscosity (trust yourself!).  But, this cake would be great with ice cream or whipped cream, or even whipped up ricotta!  It's what Marion Cunningham would call a "plain cake" and plain here means it is like a tee shirt, it goes with everything!

* AKA carbon dioxide monitor.

PS I almost forgot your song, July!  I know, I know; the drinking, the driving, the objectification of women, but, oh!  The euphemisms, the longing, the story; and anyway, I have not been known as the saint of San Joaquin!