I have never been a good baker. I am definitely a terrific cook, but baking has always challenged me. I think this is true in part because in cooking there is a lot of leeway and room for creativity, but for baking to be successful, measurements and sometimes specific ingredients need to be much more precise. Baking doesn’t work when you break too many rules. This is the wild abandon I enjoy when I cook.
My friend JM is a fabulous baker and for some time now we have talked about her teaching me some of the rudiments of baking. This morning was lesson one.
After a brisk walk in freshly fallen snow, we sat down in her warm kitchen to recreate her mother’s German Chocolate cake (60 year old recipe in her mother’s handwriting below). Sifting flour, creaming butter, melting chocolate was all accompanied by stories, gossip, and baking tips, even some literary text references– a refreshing morning punctuated with engaged interaction and lively collaboration.
JB and I returned to JM’s for dinner, an exquisitely scrumptious one created from Christmas leftovers. And, of course, the dinner’s finale was the cake we had baked that morning.
That wasn’t so hard. I guess I just needed to slow down a bit, be a bit more disciplined and careful in my baking methodology. And, of course, as with many things, baking is much more successful and tasty when created and consumed in relationship. An absolutely delicious day.