Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Twofer: New Year's Eve and January Cake Slice Bakers

It's hard to believe it's been nearly a month since I posted anything. Life has been hectic. I am applying to a doctoral program, so my life has been consumed with tasks related to that, including studying for and taking the Miller Analogies Test. What is the MAT? It's a stupid, stupid test that, in my opinion, has no predictive validity regarding my ability to succeed in graduate school. After all, I do have a master's degree, so doesn't that mean I am capable of succeeding in graduate classes? Just sayin'. Just to show you how dedicated I've been to my studying efforts, I'll share with you a picture of me studying. On my birthday. In the bed and breakfast where my husband took me for my birthday. I told him I couldn't go to dinner until I studied.

I've been able to do very little baking in the last month, but I did manage to bake a lovely cake on New Year's Eve. We were visiting my in-laws in Michigan, and I decided I wanted to make them dinner and dessert for New Year's Eve. For dinner, I made a roasted pork tenderloin that marinated overnight in an herb bath, mashed potatoes, and roasted asparagus. My father-in-law is quite a picky eater, and he really enjoyed the meal. Score! For dessert, I made a triple-layer devil's food cake with brown sugar buttercream frosting, a recipe from Lick the Bowl Good that I've been meaning to try for a long time. I loved the cake but think plain buttercream would have been just fine. I actually preferred the cake the next day after it had been refrigerated. My in-laws said it was the best cake they had ever had! My daughter, who is a HUGE cake fan, loved it and asked for more.

The January pick for the Cake Slice Bakers was a Graham Cracker Chocolate Chip Snacking Cake. This cake was supposed to be reminiscent of a s'more. While I love the idea of the cake, I have to say I was a bit disappointed. The cake turned out rather dry. I do have to give a disclaimer that I didn't eat the cake the same day I baked it, so that could be the reason for the dryness. But, the cake was on a covered cake plate, and usually when I leave cakes on this plate for several days, they retain their moisture. The picture that accompanies the recipe shows a layer of chocolate chips on the bottom of the cake, but mine were evenly dispersed in the cake. I did enjoy the frosting, which was buttercream-like, and think it would be good on a chocolate cake.

My co-workers have been disappointed that I haven't been bringing in weekly baked goods. I have also really missed baking over the last month. Now that the MAT is out of the way and my application nearly complete, I hope to get back to baking. Of course, while my co-workers support my entering a doctoral program, they are concerned that the academic demands will take time away from my baking. I'll try my best to maintain a balance. After all, baking helps me manage stress.