I am a four-season child.
By that I mean I have to live somewhere that has four distinct seasons. I can appreciate the allure of a place that is sunny and warm all year long, perhaps I might even visit said place for some rest or relaxation, but to live there permanently?
Don’t think so.
Spring is pretty. I love watching as nature wakes itself up from its long sleep, but after a few weeks I become impatient for the summer heat that means our garden’s bounty will soon be ready.
And while I love eating the fruits of that garden, in the midst of Toronto’s hazy, humid summer heat, I need to know that soon the trees will explode in colour and that I will wake up every morning to a crystal blanket of frost on our lawn.
And when the beauty of Autumn turns into the incessant rainy weather of November, I need to know that the bone-chilling cold, wake-you-up-no-matter-what, freeze-your-toes cold is around the corner. You may not like the winter but I would argue that there is very little as beautiful in life as stepping out your front door on a frigid winter morning with snow everywhere, a blue sky and brilliant sun. That’s a breathtaking sight.
The best part of that cold is the knowledge that you can seek warmth at any moment. You can run inside, kick off your boots, and curl up under your favourite blankie with a cup of hot chocolate.
Or, in my case, you can bake a cake.
In the middle of winter, I bake cakes.
Not just because I love to eat them, but also because I love to imagine crawling into them.
While it is shockingly cold outside, I can imagine myself crawling into a layer of the most beautiful, warm thing in the world made of butter and sugar and flour and spices.
And I would just nestle there, in my sweet, sweet bed, and be perfectly happy.
My companion in this lovely dream has been Lauren Chattman’s spectacular Cake Keeper Cakes: 100 Simple Recipes for Extraordinary Bundt Cakes, Pound Cakes, Snacking Cakes and Other Good-To-The-Last-Crumb Treats. Proof that beautiful things do come in small packages, this precious little book is filled with recipes for cakes that make you ask yourself, “Why don’t I bake more often?”
Simple cakes. Pleasing cakes. Cakes for people who are bakers at heart. Cakes that come together in the blink of an eye. Cakes that make you happy. Cakes you can put in a cake keeper (if you have one).
You may already be familiar with this book as it was featured in the October 2009 Food & Wine issue which highlighted the Nutella-Swirl Pound Cake. (I blogged about it here.)
I feel so lucky to have been given the chance to have this book and to write about it. Take my word for it. You’ll love it.
Everyone else may dream of heading south this cold winter, but not me. I’m dreaming of being wrapped in warm, puffy, just-baked cake.
Note: Besides the fabulous Nutella-Swirl Pound Cake, I tried the World’s Quickest Yeasted Coffee Cake on p. 39 (pictured above). Heaven!