Sunday, 23 June 2013

Lemon Cake with Rhubarb Compote Filling

Lemon Cake

Have you ever taken a book out from the library and loved it so much, that after your third time renewing it, and a small fine, you realize you need to buy it?  That is how I feel about The Homemade Pantry by Alana Chernila.  It is part recipe book, part short stories, and all very relatable and inspiring in a petit, unassuming kind of way.

I made the yellow cake recipe out of it for the first time a couple weeks ago, adding a little lemon for good measure (and cutting a couple corners along the way), and it was one of the best cakes I have ever made.  Moist, fluffy, fresh and delicious.

So here is it.  Enjoy.  And check out Alana's book from your local library or visit her blog, Eating From the Ground Up.

Lemon Cake
3 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
4 large eggs, separated
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 cup milk
Juice and grated lemon zest from 1/2 of a lemon

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line the bottom of two round 9" cake pans with parchment paper cut to size.  If your pans are non-stick, you might want to grease the pans and dust them with flour, but I skipped this and all ended well.
2. Combine the first three ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
3. Whip the egg whites with a hand mixer until soft peaks form and set aside.
4. Beat the butter with the hand mixer for about a minute until it is fluffy.  Add the sugar and whip for another minute.  Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition.  Add the vanilla and mix it in.
5. Alternate adding the flour and milk, about one third at a time, and mixing on low speed after each addition until combined.  Add the lemon juice and zest and stir until combined.  Stir in a third of the egg whites with a wooden spoon.  Fold in the remaining egg whites with a spatula.
6. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans, using the spatula to make a crater in the center of the batter (this will make a flatter cake).  Cook until golden and a toothpick comes out of the center clean, about 40 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then invert it on a cooling rack and let completely cool.

Canada's Capital

Photo from last summer's little cruise along the Ottawa River.

Warner Household.  Tuesday, 18 June 2013.  Dinner time.

Nevin: Hey, Dad!  Do you know the Government of Canada is?
Shawn: Where?
Nevin: In Ottawa!  They work in th'Apartment Buildings.
Shawn: I think you mean Parliament Buildings.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Italian Love

Ottawa's Italian Festival: where we spent my birthday this year.  It was a gorgeous day, and Nevin loves cars more than anything in this world.  I adore him, and we've been waiting patiently for summer after a long spring, so it seemed like the right place to be.  Afterall, nothing says, "Happy Birthday, Person-Who-Avoids-Driving-and-Has-No-Appreciation-For-Cars!" like a parade of Fiats and Ferrari's.

Let's not forget: it was Father's Day too, and my little autophile's obsession has been nurtured by his Dad.






After about 45 minutes, gelato coaxed him off the curb and reminded Scarlett that she didn't want to "me go home."  For clarification, when I say "him" I am referring to Nevin.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Mr. Cheetah: Hero to four-year-olds everywhere.


Way back in February, when the nights were dark and long, Nevin developed a fear of the dark.  On the third night of him going to bed upset -- no one has ever accused me of being swift -- it dawned on me:  He needed something to comfort him, something special. 

While Shawn tried to reason with him, I headed for the basement to find something new.  I found something better: something very old.  Shawn's mother kept all of his favourite toys from his childhood and a few years ago, passed them on to us.  To be banished to the cardboard box the basement for all time, or so we thought.

As urban legend has it (as of February 2013), Mr. Cheetah stayed up all night watching Daddy when he was a little boy.  In fact, Mr. Cheetah stayed with Daddy right up until Mommy and Daddy got married, and Mommy said, very sternly to Mr. Cheetah (who talks very softly, if you listen really close), "No more Cheetahs!"

Nevin loved him.  Every morning before we went to school, he would tuck him in on the couch, so that he could sleep -- because he was so tired from staying up all night.  About a week after Mr. Cheetah entered our lives, Nevin turned to Shawn and said, "we have five people in our family now, Daddy."  "Oh?" questioned Shawn. "Yeah: You, me, Scarlett, Mommy and Mr. Cheetah."

It was adorable, sweet and such a four-year-old thing to be.  But, as the seasons changed and the evenings brightened, Nevin's need for Mr. Cheetah waned.  I thought to myself, "there I go, I missed another thing that I should have written for myself."  Then last week, one night I heard Nevin fake-crying in his room.  I went up to see what was the matter.  "I'm scared... I need Mr. Cheetah."

Phewph.  I still have this sweet little moment in time for a little bit longer.
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