Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cake and Other Nice Things

All right.  Remember the package?  The one with the Nutella?  Or just scroll down.  One day later - yesterday - my parents sent another one.  Smaller.  Heavier.  Two slabs of brownie, one on top of the other.  Goddamn, I am getting popular here. 

That wasn't even the best thing about yesterday.  Actually, yesterday was horrible, but some cool stuff happened.  The horrible was that I was 'home' sick.  Didn't go to any classes, not even chemistry.  And there was a chem test scheduled for today.  I took my blankets and books down to the lower lounge again and dozed on the sofas because they are more comfortable than my bed, and people came and went and chatted and I got far too little done.  But the cool thing was that we had Student Senate elections - there were five spots open and the eleven-or-so of us running given speeches the night before (mine was about the diplomatic importance of Turkish in student government), and I'm in!  The others elected were all boys.  I'm rather excited.

So, today my benevolent chemistry teacher let me off and said I can take that exam tomorrow.  I came home with the honest intention of studying for it... and saw this.  And, come on, why did my mama send me poppy seeds if not to have me bake beautiful cakes with them?  I'll study... um, after I'm done blogging!  But I feel obliged to share this recipe with you, wonderful as it is.  I'll tell you that it's well worth a few points off a chem grade.  And about twenty other people agree with me.  So make it if you get a chance, okay?

1 cup poppy seeds
1 cup of milk
1 cup (8 oz., 2 sticks or 16 tablespoons) soft unsalted butter
2 cups of plain flour
2 cups of sugar
3 eggs, separated
2 teaspoons of vanilla (I used a little less because I'm a low-budget student.  Ha.)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Preheat your oven to 350°F and grease a cake pan.  The recipe said to use a tube pan, but mine was an 8" X 11" Pyrex baking dish, and that fit beautifully.

Put your poppy seeds and milk in a small saucepan, bring them to the boil and then take them off the heat to cool (they should be more or less room-temperature, because you don't want them to melt the butter later).
Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric beater (handheld in my case...I miss my KitchenAid!) until light and fluffy and transcendently deliciously fatteningly good.
Mix in the egg yolks and vanilla, followed by the poppy seed mixture, and beat the hell out of them until everything but the seeds is pretty homogeneous.

Slowly add the flour, salt and baking powder, folding them in gently.
Clean your beaters and get a nice, clean bowl to whisk your egg whites in (if anything greasy touches egg whites, they won't whip.  In case you didn't know.  I really hope one of the delinquents I live with is reading this and figuring out some chemical reason for this).  Aaaaanywaay... whip the egg whites until stiff, but not dry.  They should hold peaks.

Trying not to deflate them too much, gently fold the whites into the rest of the batter.  Then scrape the batter into the pan and bake for about 1 hour (I'm not actually sure how long mine went for, because I had to run to English and had a friend take it out for me.  But about an hour.  And it was perfect).
Share it with your friends and remark upon how incredibly jewish this cake tastes.  It's one of those smells that makes me think of German bakeries and Fiddler on the Roof and good things like that.

Yeah, on the topic of jewishishness.  The astronomy teacher here is pretty religious, and he's been trying, through emails, to get me to go to a lot of services at what has to be the most northerly synagogue in New England.  Anyway, he asked me to come round to his classroom yesterday and introduce myself, which I did, and God.  I didn't feel like I was in The County at all.  I've never felt so liked for the necklace I was wearing... But it's kind of cool to know that there's one more person here to throw a little Yiddish around with.

And I'm still trying to get over how great people are here.  A load of us got locked out of study hall today and I had way too many books sliding around in my arms, and a guy on crutches took my laptop for me.  Insisted!  My god...

Oh, and last night, due to sickness and such, I went to the Residential office (it's just in the dorm lobby) to ask the cool Brit Lit guy who also makes sure that nobody kills anyone around here for some painkillers.  The exchange went something like this:

Me: Hey, please could I have a couple of ibuprofen?
Him: What's the complaint?
Me: Aaaaaaahhh... (I was thinking, okay?  I happened to have a lot of complaints)
Him: Okay, I've lived here long enough to know what that means (reaches for medication box as other staffmembers go crazy laughing).

I'm not easily embarrassed.  It was cool.

 Still very tired from being thusly hasta, so I'll go be responsible now.  Ish. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ims, sorry to hear you have been under the weather and glad that baking improves things. Congratulations on your elected post - powerful women politicians are a great British tradition.
2 comments - time for a new blog name, but no idea what; and - I think we all know about the sexy/seksi thing now! You could edit the profile a little.
Hope you feel better soon.
Missing you. AR