Sunday, October 26, 2008

Maya Angelou's Caramel Cake

Erik and I traveled to my parents house to celebrate my mom's belated birthday. I made Maya Angelou's Caramel Cake.

The most exciting part of the cake for me is that I got to use parchment paper. Mmmm parchment paper. Martha is always going on about parchment paper, parchment paper. Like everyone has that laying around. "Just line the bottom of your cake pan with two rounds of parchment paper..." I finally got my hands on some.

Maya asks that you make your own caramel sauce by boiling the water and sugar down. You only use a very small amount and add that to your butter/sugar.

You use the rest to drizzle over the cake later (which I did not do because I knew my mom wouldn't be interested in that). I put it in a mason jar. In fact when we ate it she said, "I will have only a VERY small amount of that, thank you."

Creaming the butter, sugar and syrup. Fascinating!

Foaming the eggs. I was confused because I have done this with egg whites, but not with whole eggs. It's what Maya said to do, but I'm still not sure if that is correct.

The two cakes pre-cooked.

The cooked cake with PARCHMENT PAPER!!! It was very thrilling to peel the paper off.

Frosting the cake. The frosting was sort of difficult (that's why there was no pictures). I started with way less powdered sugar than I needed. It said to use a 16 oz box powdered sugar and I had a big bag from a previous frosting. I measured out 16 oz with a wet measuring cup. So my measurements were off. I kept adding and adding powdered sugar until it worked. I made it work.

The final cake. It was a little flat. My mom said "I can tell you exactly what you did wrong. You didn't push the cakes to the back of the oven." She was right. But I think it turned out ok.

The cake hacked into in my parent's dining nook. My mom said the cake was very good. She is paging through a British Recipes book. Erik and my mother were talking about English/Scottish recipes while I zoned out and took pictures of a cake like an idiot.

Maya Angelou was one of two living poets to read their own poems on inaugural day. She read "Inaugural Poem" for Bill Clinton's inauguration.

Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister's eyes, into
Your brother's face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Where's The Party?

Went to the Art Institute free night last night. I have been there so many times so I wasn't taken away or surprised by much. It's all real good work. Everyone did a real good job on everything. A+ Seurat, A+ Latrec, kudos to everyone. But I'd seen it all before and how lucky I am to have seen it all before.

Reflecting on the evening, over a bowl of curried vegetables and fried rice and chicken I tried to recall what my favorite piece was and I decided, along with the help of Erik, that it was Archibald Motley's "Nightlife." Erik said it was the only thing that made him physically smile. I agree. I smiled inside when I saw it. I want to be in that world.

It's just such an explosion out of repression and depression to sheer euphoria (except for the man who is wasted in the upper right). He's coming down, knows that he has to go back out onto that street, back home, back to the real world.

I also love the Eames Chair. My grandfather had one. Or maybe I made that up. I think he did. Anyway, it reminds me of my grandfather. I want it. I also want to go back to 1987 and I want to be Madonna and I want to where crazy glasses and...

Don't want to grow old too fast
Don't want to let the system get me down
I've got to find a way to make
the good times last
And if you'll show me how, I'm ready now!