I've been baking disturbingly a lot recently. Valentine's Day, lunch party at relatives', second attempts because the first batch didn't turn out as expected, and simply because I was bored and didn't feel like doing anything else. I know the last one does sound quite disturbing, but don't worry, there are days that I don't feel like doing anything but staying in bed and watch movies just like everyone else too.
I usually look for recipes for cakes or other pastries and desserts that are easy to make, look fairly simple and rustic, and preferably have some sort of fresh fruit in them. I don't like icing, don't like cupcakes, don't like food colouring. Too cutesy, and I always worry I might get some sort of food poisoning when food is neon green or baby pink.
I felt like poppy seed cake the other night (yes I tend to bake at night and beat eggs for around 8 minutes, sorry neighbours), and found this amazing recipe for lemon poppy seed cake on Smitten Kitchen. Being a smartass I already bought my ingredients before I found a recipe and therefore only had oranges, but it still worked absolutely fine.
I also thinly sliced up one orange to put on top of the cake - gives it quite a festive look, and balances well with the rich cake. For those who are interested in making it, I used a regular springform pan (the cake will become hollow in the middle but who cares when the cake is so good), zest of two oranges and a whole pack of poppy seed (which would be around 1 1/4 cups). I don't mind a lot of poppy seeds at all - I kinda miss German poppy seed cakes, which are pretty much black. But anyway, this cake is absolutely lovely, probably best enjoyed with a cup of tea, and I think it tastes nicer when it's cold too. Polly's friend Marsha definitely liked it because she had it twice, and it was pretty impressive to watch Nilly have her belated birthday cake last night - I don't think she shared much of it, and the quarter of the cake was gone before she knew.
I read this article last week that says baking is like therapy. So true! You have to pay attention to all the steps and also don't want to waste time running around the kitchen to find shit, so you have to be fast and organised. But it's a really calm kind of concentration and gives you enough time to think while not getting too involved with it. I loved watching the texture of the 8 egg yolks and one whole egg for this cake change during the 8 minutes of beating. Whatever my problems were, it was pretty satisfying to see the end result, which really was "pale yellow and very fluffy", almost like whipped cream.
I guess some would really find me disturbing now.