Baking & Beer : le Cake!
Updated: Aug 4
Lately, I've been feeling rather meh about - you know - everything. It's been a lot of this face:
My question is: can you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder during every season? After how many seasons does Seasonal Affective Disorder just turn into "your personality?" That's my question.
Luckily, our fair city has cooled down whiplash quick, and it is now cool enough to bake in my kitchen! When you are feeling blue, my advice is to crack open a beer and break out the mixing bowls. This week I alleviated my melancholy by baking a French dish called un cake. The French do this funny thing where they take an English word and use it to mean something that is just not quite what the word means to its native speakers. For example - un cake. A French cake is more like a loaf of bread filled with random bits of delicious. Often these are savory bits of delicious, but you can make a sweet cake if you are motivated to do so. A savory cake will be eaten for lunch or dinner. It can be eaten warm or at room temperature. You can put bits of pretty much anything you have left over in your fridge into the cake. It packs well for a potluck. It is, in short, one of the greatest meals to come out of France with a funny English name.
My cake inspiration is Sophie Dudemaine. I don't know who she is, but she wrote a killer book.
The recipes are all exactly the same. The bits of delicious are swapped out to reflect the seasons, but once you have the cake batter down you can make ANY CAKE THAT YOU CAN DREAM UP!
I dreamed up a goat cheese (weirdly, we could only find goat brie?), zucchini, bacon cake. You can follow this recipe with the elements of your dreams.
Step one! Cut up your bits!
Pro-tip: if using zucchini, cutting it into rounds is highly conducive to being inside a cake.
Step two: Cook your bits!
I like starting with the bacon because it doesn't need additional grease and it leaves grease behind to make the zucchini taste like bacon.
Step three: Prepare the batter. Start with the ingredients.
1.5 cups flour
1 rounded teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup warm whole milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup grated Swiss cheese (such as Emmental, Gruyere, or just, you know, Swiss)
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
Step four: Get your whisk!
Vigorously whisk the flour, baking powder, eggs, salt, and pepper together in a medium bowl.
Step five: This step is really annoying.
You have the oil and the warm milk sitting in the wings. You are going to have to do that thing where you pour in part of the oil, then part of the milk. This is so annoying, but it is important.
First the milk:
Then the oil:
It's so boring, but you have to do it three more times alternating between the milk and the oil.
It's ok, though, because in the end it comes out looking super smooth.
Step six: add the grated Swiss cheese
Just throw it in there and mix.
Step seven: Add your bits of delicious to the batter
Mix until the bit are well distributed throughout the batter.
Step eight: pour your batter into an ungreased bread mold
Step nine: Remember that you should have preheated the oven to 350 degrees back in step one.
Feel free to do this step earlier... like at the beginning.
Step ten: bake the cake for 45 minutes.
Take it out and marvel at your amazing work.
After it cools, take it out of the mold and feel good about yourself and the world. Things are not so bad. You can savory cake. And just look at how nicely the bits are distributed through the cake!
Next time you are feeling down, just remember that you can always bake a savory cake. And drink a beer.