Looking forward to this day has gotten me through two weeks of non-stop busy. My days have been full speed from early morning until late evening with appointments and phone conversations; some expected and some unexpected and unplanned, but necessary. This self-care day where I am home with nothing on the agenda except time with family, catch-up cleaning, and cathartic baking and writing gave me an anticipated point of rest.
I felt somewhat guilty for turning down multiple community events happening today with people and causes important to us. I wanted to go, to support, to help, but by the time this morning arrived it was clear I was totally depleted and taking a day to recharge had to be top priority.
I’ve been teaching our 5- year-old daughter to cook. The “danger” of that is she wants to make so many treats. The good part is she is learning life skills and it is a great bonding time for us. She has actually created a few recipes totally on her own like Monday when she made “Monkey salad” with sliced banana, kiwi, and grapes, and marinated in fresh-squeezed orange juice. That was the first time I let her use a cutting knife to cut the banana without me holding the handle with her. She chose all the ingredients and was super proud of her accomplishments. I was proud of her too, and the fruit salad was delicious! Tuesday she baked a dessert with flour, buttermilk, honey, dried cranberries and chocolate chips. It tasted very much like a scone. Again, she and I were both proud of her creativity.
I can’t tell you the last time I watched TV on a Saturday morning, but this morning the girl climbed in my lap and we watched “The Great British Baking Show.” We caught the part where they were baking “Mary’s cherry cake.” Our daughter loves cherries and immediately decided this was our baking project for the day.
I had to run to the store for maraschino cherries and self-rising flour, but I had everything else. We made a deal that we had to clean several rooms before we baked the cake.
During our lunch break, the children made their own pizzas with pitas, sauce, and cheese.
We had an afternoon rest time, too. At one point I had “ambient nature sounds” that sounded like rain on the speaker. The boy came in asking if it was “frying” sounds. I’m sure he was hoping for bacon.
We eventually got around to baking the cake. I’m a basic country American cook. I use measuring cups, Tablespoons, teaspoons, occasional liquid ounces, and a dry spaghetti noodle to test for doneness.
The Britain recipe was in grams and dry ounces and I failed math. My Betty Crocker and local Esther Shank cookbooks failed to offer solutions to my dilemma.
After repeated conversion attempts online, I decided if the recipe called for 6 ounces of sugar, I would measure out 6 ounces. (The online sites always gave me conversions for liquid ounces.) If anyone has a better method for conversion, please please post it in the comments here.
The cake, however, came together very nicely.
Try as I might, I cannot get the link to copy into this post, so I’ve copied and pasted the recipe here. I always want to give proper credit when I can, so you can also find the recipe by typing “British baking show Mary’s cherry cake” into your web browser. That’s long, but it’s how I found it.
200g (7oz) red glace cherries
225g (8oz) self-raising flour
175g (6oz) softened unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
175g (6oz) caster sugar
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
50g (1¾oz) ground almonds
3 large eggs
For the decoration:
175g (6oz) icing sugar
1 lemon, juice only
15g (½oz) flaked almonds, toasted
5 red glace cherries (quartered)
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease a 23cm/9in bundt tin or savarin mould with butter.
Cut the cherries into quarters. Set aside five of the quartered cherries for the decoration later. Put the rest of the quartered cherries in a sieve and rinse under running water. Drain well then dry thoroughly on kitchen paper and toss in two tablespoons of the flour.
Measure all the remaining ingredients into a large bowl and beat well for two minutes to mix thoroughly. Lightly fold in the cherries. Turn into the prepared tin.
Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes until well risen, golden-brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out and cool on a wire rack.
For the icing, mix the icing sugar together with the lemon juice to a thick paste. Drizzle over the cooled cake using the back of a spoon, sprinkle over the toasted almonds and reserved cherries.
Hopefully the link works if you want to see the original recipe.
I need to move along now. I have six baskets of laundry to fold and put away. I’m so thankful for this day at home and will continue enjoying these seemingly small ordinary moments as holy time, paying attention to God’s presence in and through it all.
Have a great weekend, everyone.