on saturday night — st. patrick’s day — after a certain someone headed home, i found myself feeling restless. i paced around my apartment, took out the trash and recycling, tried to settle down on the couch with a book. nothing stuck, though. after such a packed few days, i was feeling empty. i needed something to fill the evening.
before i continue, here’s the thing about me and baking: like writing, the creative process is, for me, just as important and therapeutic as the end result. i love sifting flour, measuring vanilla, whipping cream, folding egg whites. i love watching cakes rise in the oven, love patting toasted coconut flakes onto cream cheese frosting or topping cupcakes with rainbow sprinkles. i’ve always felt this way, in fact. it just happens to be that, unlike certain other creative pursuits, the end results of baking projects are something you can eat.
and this pound cake is a perfect example of baking-as-soul soother.
orange-scented sugar meets cream cheese and butter meets eggs, vanilla, flour, baking soda and a little salt. after everything is mixed, chocolate chips are folded in. the batter is poured into a loaf pan and baked until the top of the cake is cracked and golden brown. and while it’s cooking, the kitchen will be filled with the heady scent of orange and chocolate. it’s heaven. especially if your kitchen window is open and a warm spring breeze is blowing through, and especially if you’re missing a certain someone and feeling restless.
here’s the recipe for the cake — which i’m now referring to as “i miss you” cake — if you’d like to try it yourself, and here are a few notes from me:
joy’s recipe doesn’t list the amount of chocolate morsels needed (at least, it didn’t when i was typing up this post); i used about a cup of ghirardelli 60 percent cacao dark chocolate chips (my go-to chip for most recipes).
i added about a tablespoon of fresh orange juice to the batter right after i mixed in the vanilla. (i really love orange, and the orange i had on hand gave me a little less than the two tablespoons of zest the recipe called for, so there you go.)
the instructions say to bake at 325 degrees for 50-60 minutes; i found that i had to bake this cake for closer to 90 minutes (!). this could be a sign that my oven needs recalibrating, but no matter what, keep an eye on the cake as it bakes.
and, finally, this cake is perfect with a cup of chai tea — either late at night with a movie on tv or first thing in the morning, for breakfast. i promise, a slice of it takes some of the edge off the missing and restlessness.
photo by me