I am not sure what I did before Joanne Chang came into my kitchen. Last fall (2010) her cookbook, Flour: A Baker’s Collection of Spectacular Recipes, was released, and a few months later it changed my life. I discovered it in December, right around the time I promised myself to hit the blog running and never turn back. It was on backorder, I had to wait weeks, but that was a wait I was willing to sustain because what I knew about Joanne and what I knew about her bakery in Boston made her immediately my inspiration. I will let you do your research on her, to discover her yourself, so that you too can fall in love with her passion and her precision … something that all baker’s must have. But simply, I don’t remember life before Joanne’s recipes. Like.. what cakes did I bake? What did they even taste like?
The first recipe I made from the book was for her Yellow Birthday Cake.
I share this recipe with you because,
Today is my TWENTY THIRD BIRTHDAY!
Weirdest feeling birthday yet … I am libra, so I like even numbers, balanced things, and 23 is the exact opposite of that. 22, perfect. Two twos, even number… Yet, none of that truly matters because the beauty of a birthday trumps anything and everything. There is a magic in that day that no other day has. A magic that allows you to see all the days behind you, but also, somehow if you squint really hard, sit really still, and focus you can kind of see your future too. There is also magic in that promise you secretly make yourself when you blow out your birthday candles. The things that you wish for, the dreams that you whisper to yourself that you want to make come true. As much as I wish there were really birthday candle Gods, I am not totally convinced. But, what there is in that moment, is a split second of candle light in which you focus yourself on what’s truly in your heart. Thanks, health, love, success.. whatever it may be. And in that moment, right before you exhale, you can promise yourself to do whatever you can to make it come true.
A recipe for a cake that is so good it deserves its own birthday. It’s dense but in a fluffy way, and it’s so far from too sweet, even if you spilled the sugar you would not need to worry. My only disclaimer, the cake with be a disaster area unless you use low fat or non fat buttermilk. Full fat is tooo fat, forcing the cake to not rise, be super greasy, and … yes I’ve made this mistake once .. you will simply have to toss it out. But, follow the directions, use precise measurements, and get ready for your kitchen to explode with the most delicious smell of velvety cake about 12 minutes in.
I tweeted this a few days ago, but I will say it again, if it wasn’t kinda weird to bake yourself your own birthday cake, I would have. And this would have been the recipe.
Here is to a year of success and love for all of us. If the Birthday girl wishes it, she will do all she can to make it come true.