Cakes & Pies
I have been making this cake for years and it has never let me down. It’s tender and moist, with rich chocolate flavor, bolstered by freshly brewed coffee in the batter. I have never once had trouble getting the layers out of the pans or assembling this cake. The frosting is excellent, a beautiful milk chocolate color, and not too sweet.
It was a warm summer morning. Two of the kids were outside picking wildflowers with one of our California visitors. I was in the kitchen slicing ripe nectarines while the stand mixer worked creaming together butter and sugar, transforming them into what would soon be cake batter.
Four years ago, when my eldest son turned nine, he declared that he was getting too big for the cupcakes I made every year on his birthday. He wanted a big cake. Gasp. Cupcakes were safe. Cupcakes I could do. This was the day the cupcakes died. It was early on in my food writing days and I, admittedly, had very little experience decorating bigger cakes. When I asked him what kind of cake he wanted, he announced it would be a lime cake and that it would be green, his favorite color. This week, as my son reached his thirteenth birthday, I revisited that first key lime cake recipe that made me the confident cake-baking mom I am today.
Amidst the gobs of turkey and fixins, the mountains of mashed potatoes, the rivers of gravy, and the forests of green beans, Thanksgiving breakfast is an easily overlooked thing. Is it even a thing? Let’s be real. Hardly anybody is thinking about Thanksgiving breakfast. I recently had a conversation with my girlfriend over breakfast about how much she adores coffee cake and what particularly makes a good coffee cake good.
My grandmother grew strawberries in springtime in a small garden plot that lined the exterior of her detached garage in Southern California. The soil was edged with scalloped grey concrete bricks, adjacent to a chain link fence with a gate leading to the back alley. As a little girl, I’d sneak out to the garden, lift the big green leaves, and peek underneath for that flash of bright red.