As maybe I alluded to in my last post (see below), it’s kind of a rough and patchy ride at the moment. When I’m not working, I’m hitting the refresh button on a series of sites that maybe will have a gig that is what I’m looking for in the long term. Except, the problem is, that I still don’t know at all what I’m looking for in the long term. What do we want to be, when we grow up? We are asked at 3, at 5, at 10, and maybe again at 12. Sometimes the answer changes. Sometimes it doesn’t. For me, from the time I was 8 until I was 18, I wanted to be a print journalist. There was a brief stretch where I wanted to be a sports broadcaster. That wasn’t long after the Blue Jays won the World Series. But, in general, I thought that a working life in media was the working life for me.
The trouble is, that I have never been as sure about what I want to do with my 9-5 as I was when I was 18, right after I accepted a scholarship from Carleton’s Journalism program, and right before I left for Germany. I bailed on that opportunity, and I don’t regret it, because I don’t think it was the right decision at the time. But there is something to be said for security and certainty. Whereas, now, I have six years of post-secondary education and all I know is that I want to improve communities and engage people in the process of placemaking. That’s not exactly a career.
On the one hand, this is exciting. It’s an adventure, to have the world in front of you. On the other hand, I’m lacking in both a map and compass. But, I have cake. And cake makes adventures better, right? That’s why we have wedding cakes.
This isn’t a wedding cake. It’s a birthday cake. Or, it was. Then we ate it and now there are photographs, and recipes, and memories. It’s okay though – this birthday cake starts the Season of Cake, in which each the entirety of my husband’s family, plus my husband and myself, have birthdays. There are, between March 29 and June 26, five birthdays, plus Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Easter. There will be a lot of cake.
I’m just getting started.
White-Chocolate Blueberry Cake
For the cake
4 cups tablespoons pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon table salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and line with circles of parchment paper, then butter parchment.
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
In a large bowl (or stand mixer), beat together the butter and sugar at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition.
Alternately mix in the buttermilk and the dry ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
Spread batter evenly in cake pan, ensuring that air bubbles are eliminated. Bake until golden, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan for at least 15 minutes before running a knife around the edge of the pan and inverting it.
Allow the cakes to cool completely before icing. Alternatively, they can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and thrown in the freezer for up to a week or so.
For the blueberry filling
Take 250 mL of your favourite blueberry jam. (For me, it’s the Blueberry & Lavender one from Michael’s Dolce, a local confectioner.)
If the jam is not a spreadable consistency, if it drizzles off the spoon quite quickly, you’ll want to heat it in a saucepan, over a low heat to thicken it. I heated mine for about 15 minutes, then removed it from the stove and kept it in jar in the fridge until she was ready to go.
For the white-chocolate frosting
2 cups icing sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
8 ounces white chocolate, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons milk
With a mixer, blend together the icing sugar and butter. Slowly add the white chocolate and mix until combined. Add the milk to thin it out a little, and mix until smooth. Use immediately.
adapted from Momofuku Milk Bar
1/2 cup milk powder
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup milk powder
3 ounces white chocolate, melted and cooled
Preheat the oven to 250F. Mix together the first five ingredients and add the melted butter, mixing until clusters form. Spread out on a cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, until just golden.
Allow these to cool completely. Toss with milk powder, coat with the white chocolate, and let set on a sheet pan
or plate covered in wax paper. They will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge.
Putting the cake together
This should be self-explanatory. But, in case it’s not:
Slice the cakes in half. I reserved one of the four halves, and made homemade twinkies with them.
Place a half on your cake plate/workspace and spread 1/2 of the jam on to it, leaving about an inch border.
Repeat with the second cake layer, and the second half of the jam.
Top with the third cake layer and ice the cake beautifully. (You can do it!)
Sprinkle the milk crumb and dried blueberries on top.