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Marissa Lingen

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Love [Mar. 6th, 2010|08:24 pm]
Marissa Lingen
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The world that is my kitchen is vast and contains multitudes. I have made plum cake, pear cake, lemon cake, caramel cake, turtle cake, spice cake, ginger cake, Guinness gingerbread in cake form, at least three kinds of apple cake, and more chocolate cakes than you can shake a stick at, to say nothing of cheesecake, shortcake, shortbread, pie, crisp, cookies, scones, and the like.

Tonight is a first for me. It breaks a barrier not only for my own kitchen but for my use of other people's kitchens as well.

Tonight I got down the red-and-white checkered cookbook we only have so I can argue with it, and I opened it to the first page in the "Cake" section, and I made the basic recipe for yellow cake. And I did not fix it. Not even once. I did not add just a little of this. I did not throw in some of that. No nutmeg, no orange zest, no dried sour cherries, no hazelnut liqueur, no nothing. There is in my oven right this very moment plain old--"classic," if you will--yellow cake.

(No uranium was harmed in the baking of this cake.)

You see, there's my godson. And he has asked for lo these multitudes of castle cakes. Chocolate. Lemon. And vanilla.

Until tonight, I did not see the point in plain yellow cake. Now the point is very clear: Robin wants it, and I am a firm believer that if the boy wants it and it's a reasonable thing to want and he asks nicely, I will do it for him. He should know that. Because he is the best Rob I know and I love him more than bacon, as they say in some kindergarten parts of Soviet Canuckistan. And the world is full of times when you want something perfectly reasonable and cannot have it, and even at seven he already knows that all too well.

But when you ask your godmother for cake, it is not one of those times.

Even when it is not your birthday.

Even if the cake you want is plain yellow cake and does not fit with your godmother's culinary pretensions.

Well. At least it will have the best chocolate frosting a plain old yellow cake ever had. (He wanted chocolate. If he had wanted plain buttercream, I would have acquiesced without a murmur. Love is like that.)
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: txanne
2010-03-07 02:30 am (UTC)
Yes. This is what godmothers do. (And aunts.)
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[User Picture]From: moiread
2010-03-07 06:46 am (UTC)
Speaking not just as an aunt, but as Aunt Chelle Who Bakes And Who We Love More Than Bacon, I heartily concur.
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[User Picture]From: dancinghorse
2010-03-07 02:46 am (UTC)
Plain yellow cake with kickass chocolate frosting is my all-time favorite kind of cake.

Your godson has excellent taste. As he should, because he is a very cool young man.
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[User Picture]From: nihilistic_kid
2010-03-07 02:48 am (UTC)
Very nice. But next time, slip in a GALLON of rum!
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-03-07 03:28 am (UTC)
Rob is not notably tolerant of things that Taste Funny. I'm pretty sure he would judge rum cake to Taste Funny, and would ask if maybe he could have ice cream instead. (Which he could, because dessert is not a contractual obligation. Nor a punishment.)
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[User Picture]From: reveritas
2010-03-07 04:25 am (UTC)
Is it a BAD recipe or do you just like to tinker?

If I wasn't sated with GS cookies right now I'd want some yellow cake with chocolate frosting.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-03-07 04:31 pm (UTC)
I see no reason to eat plain yellow cake. Ever. It bores me. It's not this yellow cake. It's every kind of yellow cake I've ever had. It is, to my way of thinking, a complete waste of calories. There is always better dessert to be had. There is even always better dessert to be had at my house.
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[User Picture]From: moiread
2010-03-07 06:46 am (UTC)
You are such an excellent Godmother Mris.
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[User Picture]From: matociquala
2010-03-07 11:23 am (UTC)
I never thought much of yellow cake until I had the Cook's Illustrated version (I do, however, triple up on the vanilla.)

Nummy.
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From: thoughtdancer
2010-03-07 02:50 pm (UTC)
Do you know of a good spice cake recipe? I've been in search of one--a cake that is far more spice and interest than sweet.

That, with some rich frosting (buttercream will more than do), is my favorite kind of cake...and I can't find a good recipe!

Thanks!
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-03-07 04:32 pm (UTC)
I don't have one I make regularly, so I couldn't swear to anything for you, unfortunately. Mostly I make spice cookies.
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[User Picture]From: cathshaffer
2010-03-07 02:55 pm (UTC)
People get so in the habit of saying no to children, I really notice and love and respect when I see parents or other adults granting the reasonable requests of children. If an adult is asked what they want and they say that they want plain yellow cake, the person asking would usually try to give them what they want. And yet I see so often when small children make perfectly reasonable requests and parents deny them just because they are in the habit of it, or because it would be a slight extra effort for them. I was always reminding myself when I was little, to think about what my son asks for, and if I say no, to have a reason for saying no, not just because it is my whim and I had the power to do as I wanted.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-03-07 04:32 pm (UTC)
Yah. "Why not?" is not a piece of rhetoric, it's a useful consideration.
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[User Picture]From: mamapduck
2010-03-07 05:56 pm (UTC)
While I am no longer seven I have a frequent craving for very simple foods. My phrase is, "sometimes bread just wants to be bread." Sure, that loaf of french bread could become garlic bread or fancy spiced croutons or some other culinary delight... but sometimes I want plain french bread, or a cherry popsicle or plain yellow cake.

I am glad Robin got his cake. Sometimes cake just wants to be cake. :)
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-03-07 08:43 pm (UTC)
See, I would thoroughly agree with this idea. Sometimes cake just wants to be cake! Sometimes I just want plain old cake! Definitely! And if you said, "So I baked a plain old cake!", I would say, "Yay! Plain old cake!"

And then I would be completely shocked when the cake you put down in front of me was not chocolate. Because that is my default for cake.
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[User Picture]From: scottjames
2010-03-08 05:24 pm (UTC)
That is *the* default for cake.
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[User Picture]From: porphyrin
2010-03-07 08:36 pm (UTC)
Rob and his father-- who both love plain yellow cake with chocolate frosting more than any other kind of cake in the world-- both thank you.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-03-07 08:40 pm (UTC)
It is all ready and waiting for you, and the leftovers will go home with you.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-03-07 08:40 pm (UTC)
From your comment, I may be optimistic to speak of leftovers.
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[User Picture]From: columbina
2010-03-08 04:32 pm (UTC)
So THAT is the purpose of the red-and-white checkered cookbook. I have always wondered.

(I tend to use The Joy of Cooking for that purpose, but I can see where the red-and-white one would do well for it.)
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-03-08 04:45 pm (UTC)
markgritter has The Joy of Cooking, so we have argumentative breadth as a household.

I think timprov mostly argues with the internet in these things. Someone on it is wrong, you know.
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