Not long ago, I stopped baking. My co-worker took notice and asked, "Are you mad at us?" I was not mad. I just lost a piece of my spirit, as I jokingly say. My love language is food. If I like or love you, I will bake and cook for you. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing someone you like/love/respect take a bite of something you made. I always say it's a selfish act of service because the provider receives positive affirmation that boosts his or her self-esteem.
Wow! You made this!?
You're such a good cook!
OMG, *Insert name here*! This is amazing!
I like my colleagues so I naturally started bringing in homemade treats to work. I could tell they were excited and loved the food, but someone would always make a joke that I was making them fat. Or that they couldn't eat it because they were on a diet. I realized while food is a love language, it's not always beneficial to the receiver. If I love someone, I don't want them to gain weight or get diabetes or throw off their diet. Therefore, I stopped bringing in treats. So, there's the background story behind why I stopped baking.
Well, couldn't you still bake and keep it for yourself?
That's true. However, it's too much pressure for one person to finish a dozen cookies or an entire pie by themselves.
After my colleague asked why I stopped baking, I told them this story. Their response was "That's dumb." I'm just kidding. They encouraged me to bake and said that they would totally eat whatever I brought in. Thus, a light that had once died slowly came back. And now I'm on fire!!!
I learned of Yay! It's Wednesday Cake from one of my favorite blogs, exPress-O. If you'd like to read more about it, here's a link. I love this idea so much and it encourages me to bake something at least once a week. Here's my favorite part:
The Yay, It’s Wednesday Cake! cake comes from this very same thrifty tradition of spinning an absence of delight into delight. Because there may be no more mundane celebration than a Wednesday night. It comes around and comes around, and it is neither an appallingly heinous weekly milestone (Ugh, It’s Monday Cake!) nor a spectacular one (Huzzah, It’s Friday Cake!). It is Wednesday, and we’ve made it this far, and there is a weekend light at the end of our work-a-day tunnel, and we are in it together. We are together.
Strawberry Shortcake (From King Arthur)
- 2 cups sugar, Baker's Special Sugar preferred
- 3 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, soft enough to leave an indentation when pressed
- 1 1/2 cups milk, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (but don't flour) the bottom only of your choice of pan(s): one 9" x 13" pan, two 9" round cake pans, three 8" round pans, or the wells of two muffin tins (24 muffin cups). You can also line the muffin tins with papers, and spray the insides of the papers.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Add the butter and beat with an electric mixer at low speed, until the mixture looks sandy.
- Combine the milk and vanilla and add, all at once. Mix at low speed for 30 seconds, then increase the speed to medium and beat for 30 seconds.
- Scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl.
- With the mixer running at low speed, add 1 egg. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 30 seconds.
- Repeat this procedure with the second egg. Continue adding the eggs, scraping after each addition, until all 4 are added.
- After the last egg is added, scrape the bowl once more, then beat at medium-high speed for 30 more seconds.
- Transfer the batter to the pans of your choice. For layers, divide the batter among the pans. The batter weighs 48 ounces; if you're using a scale to measure out your layers, each 9" layer should weigh 24 ounces; each 8" layer needs 16 ounces of batter. Smooth out the tops with an offset spatula or the back of a tablespoon. For cupcakes, scoop by heaping 1/4-cupfuls into the prepared muffin tins.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes for a 9" x 13" pan; 30-35 minutes for 9" layers; 24-27 minutes for 8" layers, or 23 to 25 minutes for cupcakes.
- The cake is done when it's golden brown around the edges and just beginning to pull away from the edge of the pan. A toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool for 5 minutes, then turn it out onto a rack to cool completely.
Chess Pie (From Wood and Spoon)
For the pie:
- 1 recipe for a single unbaked pie crust (not deep-dish)
- ¼ cup (30 gm) cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1-1/4 cups (250 gm) sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (113 gm) unsalted butter, melted
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 3 tablespoons evaporated milk
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ½ tablespoon vinegar
For the chocolate whipped topping:
- 1-1/2 cups (360 mL) heavy whipping cream
- ¼ plus 2 tablespoons (75 gm) sugar
- ¼ cup (30 gm) cocoa powder
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Using a rolling pin, roll out the pie dough and transfer it into a 9” pie plate. Gently press the dough into the edges of the pan and trim off any excess. Crimp the edges as desired.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Add the melted butter and sitr just to combine. Add the eggs, evaporated milk, vanilla extract, and vinegar and mix to combine. Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust and brush the crust with a bit of milk, beaten egg, or cream if desired. Bake the pie in the preheated oven for about 35 minutes or until the edges are well set and the innermost circle of pie is still just a bit jiggly. Remove and cool to room temperature.
- Once cooled, prepare the whipped topping. Beat the heavy cream on medium speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip until frothy and slightly thickened and add the sugar and cocoa powder. Increase to high speed and beat until stiff peaks form. Spread dollops of the whipped cream on top of the pie and serve immediately.