Monday, August 26, 2013

Peach Raspberry Cardamom Cake

peach-raspberry-cardamom-cake

I’m a strange sort of person.

I love cake. I love baking cakes. But I do not like icing.  At all.

So I usually make muffins instead of fancy cakes that need frosted, or I’ll make a loaf cake. However, warm weather in a central-AC-less apartment means I can’t bake a loaf cake for 45 minutes without spontaneously bursting into flames. But I wanted to bake SOMETHING. Then I remembered the existence of upside-down cakes.

I made a fig upside-down cake earlier this summer. It was tasty, but it wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t amazing. So I dabbled with other fruits. I wanted something summery but a bit exotic, and I had a new tin of cardamom pods begging to be used.

Then it hit me: peaches, raspberries, and cardamom work well together. Cardamom really reminds me of the smell of the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul, and we all know how I heart me some Istanbul.

I scoured the internet for a recipe that had few eggs (I only had 1 left in the fridge), and found Joy the Baker’s Strawberry Upside-Down Cake with Cardamom. It was just what I was looking for: simple and it didn’t need to bake forever. I made a few tweaks, so my cake was more of a round pound cake in texture and had fruit mixed in more than a caramelized layer at the top.

Clearly, you can substitute different fruits and spices to make your own favorite. Maybe cinnamon and pear or clove and orange. Oh, clove and orange sounds like a great holiday cake…

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Peach Raspberry Cardamom Cake

Yield: 1 cake

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30-35 minutes

Total Time: 50-55 minutes

A fruity, spicy cake that doesn't need frosting or a glaze. Just simple flavors with more spice than sweetness.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (I used coconut oil)

2/3 cup brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 small peaches, sliced

1 cup raspberries

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

2/3 cup sour cream (I used plain, nonfat yogurt)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a round cake pan; an 8 inch or 9 inch work best. You can either arrange the fruit on the bottom or add some melted butter and sugar and then add the fruit if you want a more traditional upside-down cake.

In a bowl, mix the dry ingredients together (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cardamom). If you don't have cardamom powder but whole pods, you can take a rolling pin of back of a chef's knife to the pods to crack them open. Then throw some granulated sugar on a cutting board with the seeds and roll with a rolling pin to crush them a bit.

Using an electric stand mixer, cream the butter (or coconut oil) and brown sugar on medium for about 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and add the egg and vanilla extract. Beat for about 1 minute.

Scrape down the bowl and add the dry ingredients. Beat on low to just incorporate everything. Slowly add the sour cream (or yogurt) while mixing on low. Give the mixture a stir with a spatula.

Spoon the batter over the fruit and spread evenly. I threw in some more raspberries to have fruit on both the top and bottom. Bake for about 30-35 minutes.

Let cake cool for 10 minutes before running a knife around the edge of the cake and flipping the cake over onto a plate or cake stand.

Adapted from Joy the Baker

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Saturday Snapshot: The Queen of England in Massachusetts

saturday-snapshot-queen-england-massachusetts

This is the first article post-card hard drive loss. I have the photos that were on my phone, the photos on Facebook, ones on the point-and-shoot, and the ones saved to WP, but there are sadly quite a few that didn’t make it because I’m an idiot that never set up iCloud or made time to back things up to an external hard drive. So yeah. Fun times.

But, here’s a photo of a Queen Elizabeth II bobble-hand waving to Cantabrigians walking by a funky hair salon. I almost want to get my hair done there just for this decor, but I’ve heard it’s for hipsters only. I’m not cool enough.

 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Commonly Misused Terms I’m Tired of Seeing

Before I get the hate mail, let me preface my rant with this: I don’t mind the occasional typo. We all type too fast or are on social media after a few drinks at a sponsored event. That is fine. I’m talking about repeated issues that I keep seeing which drive me batty. I just stop reading. I don’t want to miss out on useful info or a fantastic story because I’m nerd-raging over a repeatedly misused word or phrase.

Let’s all be better bloggers, m’kay?

Horde/hoard:

misused-words-travel-horde

There’s always a horde of people at the Trevi Fountain. I will hoard my Euros for our next trip to Italy.

Lead/led:

Lead the metal is not the same as led the past tense of lead the verb.  You were led to the Forum by your tour guide.  Many ancient Romans went insane because of lead poisoning.

Past/passed:

passed-past

Past is a point in time.  You passed the Colosseum on your way to study the long, complicated past of San Clemente.

Desert/dessert:

You’ll die due to dehydration in the desert.  You’ll die from chocolate eating a Death by Chocolate dessert.

Sight/site:

sight-site

The sight of the archaeological site was just breathtaking.  You see the sights, but you visit the sites.

Wreak havoc/reek havoc/wreck havoc:

The first one’s right. Don’t even think about the other two. Just pretend they’re not there.

Historic/historical:

Monticello is a historic home. 1453 was a historic year due to the fall of the Byzantine Empire. You can read historical records at the Library of Congress. Who doesn’t need a historical replica of a Byzantine fly swatter? An historic/historical is valid, too.

Enamored of/enamored with/enamored by:

You cannot be enamored by the spectacular scenery in Mykonos. You can be enamored of the scenery or with it.  By it means that the scenery is in love with you. I’d pay good money to visit a site or see a sight that’s in love with me.

What commonly misused words or phrases make you stop reading? Feel free to add them in the comments.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Saturday Snapshot: A Summer Day in Copenhagen

copenhagen denmark travel, nyhavn, hotel fox

Nyhavn is your typical postcard shot of Copenhagen, but it was a fun destination at the end of our Strøget walk from our hotel (Hotel Fox).  It was just 2 kilometers, but we got to see so many pretty buildings, bakeries full of pastries, bicycles upon bicycles, and enjoy the perfect sunny weather during our short trip.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Life Goals: 3 Before 30

Also, more being a dork where ever I go.

Also, more being a dork wherever I go.

Yes, I know people usually make a 30 before 30 list.

But I like to set achievable goals.

And 3 is much easier to work towards than an arbitrary 30.

Yesterday was my 29th birthday.  I’m not freaked out at the thought of turning 30 next year.  Of course, it helps that people think I’m still in college so there’s that.  But I think it also helps that I’ve never been one of those people with a life plan mapped out.  I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.  I’ve wanted to be at least 8 different things growing up.  You tell me what the common theme is between fashion designer, FBI agent, and a dolphin trainer because I’ve got nothing.

So here I am at 29, and there are 3 things I want to accomplish this year.

  1. Get better at mobile photography.  I’ve always needed a creative outlet.  I used to draw all the time as a kid.  I took art in high school and a painting/drawing class in college.  I took printmaking in Nashville and joined a co-op.  Of course, printmaking is hella expensive.  Mobile photography is hella NOT expensive compared to buying a “real” camera.  So I’m trying to get better at figuring out exposure and white balance, focus and composition, color and texture.  My art history background helps me see good photos and what makes them good, but I have to work on HOW to make them good.
  2. Learn how to code/more computer-y things. I’m going to be real. You should not be allowed to graduate from high school or college without taking a coding class.  If I had learned how to code or even how to use InDesign or Photoshop in college, I would have had some more options.  But the Computer Science classes looked so intimidating and full of AutoCAD and things I knew nothing about.  So I’ve played in Photoshop, took a workshop in InDesign, and signed myself up for Skillshare’s Learn to Code in 30 Days.  If anyone knows SQL and would like to impart their wisdom, I’d love to learn that as well.  I can often find what I want to change in a preset SQL query, but I can’t build one from scratch.  Add these to the list of FAR MORE USEFUL than calculus.  Which I had to take twice.
  3. Do more of what makes me happy. More yoga, more getting outside, more baking, more organizing everything in our apartment.  I enjoy what I do volunteering in a museum’s collections department far more than most of the tasks of my last job.

So yeah, hopefully, you’ll see the results of the first two in the blog’s technical skillz department and the third in my writing.