If you freak, eat cake

The kitchen sister is freaking. I can’t find a few months of receipts for the tax man, my son doesn’t want to go to school anymore, my body is aging faster than some psycho science experiment, and there is dust in this house that laughs in my face when I walk in the door. On the bright side, it’s sunny, and I’m making a cake.

How could applesauce cake with cream cheese frosting not make me happy? Or devil’s food with thick chocolate frosting, yum. But I’ll tell you what I want, it’s a soft as silk yellow cake filled with sugared strawberries, and slathered with fresh whipped cream. One of my favorite cookbooks ever for cake is called “Southern Heritage Cakes Cookbook”. I got it for 99 cents on the street, and thank the good Lord that the mold and water that ate almost every one of my other cookbooks stored in the basement, didn’t get that one. I keep it next to me bed. In there, they tell you that the secret to a light cake is to slowly rub the sugar into the softened butter, bit by bit. This is true, and you might be thinking that you have no time for this kind of craziness, but think about a kiss. It’s the same thing. Sometimes it’s worth the extra minutes for the life experience.

Be sure that your butter is room temperature. Beat one cup around the bowl with your hand or a wooden spoon until smooth. Add two cups of sugar, a few Tablespoons at a time, using your fingers to rub it into the butter, until it is smooth. Add 5 eggs, one at a time, (bring them to room temp by resting them in a bowl of warm water before cracking them). Whisk each one in, again with your hand, a wooden spoon, or electric mixer. In another bowl, sift three times, and then measure, 3 cups of flour. Add one Tablespoon of baking powder. Add this alternately with one and a quarter cups of milk, starting and ending with the flour. Grease and flour two 9 inch pans. Bake the cakes in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes.

Cut up a pint of strawberries, sprinkle with sugar, and add a Tablespoon of fresh orange juice. Whip a pint of heavy cream, just until ever so soft peaks form. When the cakes are cool, cover one with the strawberries, top with the remaining cake, and cover the whole thing with cream. If you like sweet cream, just add a little 10X sugar, and a teeny weeny bit of pure vanilla.

If you still need to make dinner, how about easy peasy tomato soup; just get a few whole cloves of garlic golden in your best olive oil, throw in about four red pepper flakes and a sprig of fresh rosemary with a little chopped parsley, and when everything is smelling delicous, add a 28 ounce can of crushed tomaotes. Let this cook for thirty minutes with a pinch of salt, and then spin it around in the food proceesor or use your immersion blender to smooth it out. Add whole milk until it is a lovely creamy color, taste for salt and pepper, and bring to a gentle simmer. Grate in a little parmesan and serve with cheese on toast or leftover turkey from the other day with a salad of raw carrots, celery, radishes, red peppers, steamed string beans, and olives with a little olive oil and vinegar drizzled over the top.

If you have to choose between dinner and cake, I say make the cake.

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