What’s that you say? How could I possibly be taking the day off when I have not published a recipe since April 1st?
Well, friends, there is a reason for that.
I wrote a book. A whole book, with 80+ recipes and essays, in 30 days.
I write a lot in general about motivation and procrastination. This is very real to me, as the keeper of my own schedule and boss of me. So when I need to get something done, I set myself a close deadline and make the task huge.
This is often why I throw a party at least once or twice a year. It makes me clean the house at least once or twice a year. Sort of like going to the dentist every six months. When my dentist asks me how often I floss, I tell him, “At least twice a year.”
But I digress.
This book writing in 30 days is a spin-off on National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, to use the vernacular), which occurs every November, the other 30-day month. As I write execrable fiction, I decided that April would become NaNoFiWriMo: National Non-Fiction Writing Month. This is how I wrote my first book, and since it worked out so well, I thought I’d try it again.
Plus, last year I published a list of writing goals and didn’t meet them. This was a little bit of a punishment for myself.
So I told my kid, my therapist, and another freelancing friend, and off I went.
40,028 words later, I am done. It’s rough as hell, and I don’t know exactly what I am going to do with it.
But the food is fucking incredible, if I do say so myself. Some recipes from this blog, some new stuff, some family recipes or recipes from friends (I’m looking at you, Nancy Allen and Bonnie King!!). I am pleased that it’s done and ready to cook. I took a week off from thinking about it, sending it off to a writing friend to look through it before I make any substantial edits.
But I cannot seem to stay away from it.
I find myself clicking on a recipe here or there, tweaking formats and finding typos.
I have started homemade kimchi for kimchi fries, and as I write this a cake from the book (sort of) is cooling on the counter, waiting for chocolate mousse filling and marshmallow frosting.
If you have nothing to do this rainy, rainy weekend, and the world of bullshit politics is making you want to poke your eye out with a spoon, take a step back and make this cake first. You may be able to face the world again.
Best White Cake With Chocolate Mousse Filling And Marshmallow Frosting
350 grams (about 2 1/2 c.) gluten-free all-purpose flour mix (or cake flour if gluten isn’t an issue)
1 T. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. butter (one stick), softened
1 t. vanilla extract
330 grams (about 1 1/2 c.) sugar
1 c. milk
Chocolate mousse filling (recipe below)
Marshmallow frosting (recipe below)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare pan: butter bottom of two 9-inch cake pans, line with parchment circle, butter the entire pan and dust with flour. If you skimp on this step, your cake will stick and all your hard work will be for naught.
In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl with hand mixer), cream butter with sugar and vanilla extract. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until smooth. Add dry ingredients and milk, starting and ending with dry (flour, milk, flour, milk, flour).
Pour approximately 1/2″ of batter into each pan. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean (test on the sides and in the middle until it hits the cheesecake crust), between 30 and 40 minutes. While the cake is baking, make your chocolate mousse filling (recipe below).
Cool in the pan for ten minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. You can cool on the rack in the ‘fridge. While it’s cooling, start on the marshmallow frosting.
Chocolate Mousse Filling
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 T sugar
Melt chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave (careful not to burn). Cool.
In a large, clean bowl with chilled beaters, whip the cream until it stands in soft peaks. Add sugar and continue to whip until it stands in firm peaks.
Add 1/4 of the whipped cream to the melted chocolate and whisk to combine. Add the chocolate mixture to the remaining whipped cream and fold with a spatula until fully combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.
250 grams (approximately 2 c) powdered sugar
1/4 t. cream of tartar
2 t. light corn syrup
2 egg whites
1/4 c. water
1 t. vanilla extract
Combine ingredients in a metal bowl and whisk to combine. Place metal bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and beat with a hand mixer on medium until the mixture begins to thicken (like marshmallow Fluff). Continue to beat on high until mixture stiffens (stiff peaks). This whole process takes 10-15 minutes.
Remove from heat and continue to beat the frosting until it is completely cool.
A cake stand (thanks, Kerry!!!) and an offset spatula make life a lot easier here. Fill cake with a generous amount of mousse, then frosting with marshmallow frosting. Then eat A TON while you take a break from whatever big project has been making you busier than you perhaps ought to be.