Pie #12: Sometimes You Just Want Cake

Pie #12: Happy Lemon Cake for One
I came across this blog post last week titled "The Particular Happiness of Cake for One" by Ellen Clifford that asked the question: "Can you taste emotions felt by the cook or baker making your food?" She referenced the book The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender (a book I need to read soon!) in which the main character Rose claims she can taste her mother's sadness in her lemon cake. Clifford also wrote that Anthony Bourdain believes "he can taste food made by a jaded cook." I pondered this question. I do believe that when a cook puts passion and joy into the process, you can taste that in the final product. I have never contemplated the opposite emotions, though. Maybe this is why fast food often tastes the way it does, bland and predictable.  The worker who put together your egg sandwich wasn't even thinking about the process; he was just doing his job. You aren't expecting ecstasy when you bite into it; you just want substance on your way to work.

Clifford then posted a recipe she concocted called "Happy Lemon Cake for One." She was inspired by Rose who first tasted her mother's sad lemon cake alone in the kitchen when she was eight. Clifford wanted to bake a happy cake for herself and see if she could taste the emotions baked into it. After reading this, I decided that I needed to temporarily break away from the pie journey and try this little cake. My husband was going to be golfing late that evening so I was on my own for dinner. After a quick trip to the store, I laid out the ingredients and blended together my own little happy cake. One of the first things I needed to figure out was what pans I needed. I searched a few stores, but I ended up using some small ramekins I already had in my cupboard.
I ended up doubling the recipe so I could make a layer cake. I found a yummy lemon icing recipe online and slathered it between each layer. Here is the final product.
I then threw together a pasta dish I found on Pinterest, set the outside table, and poured myself a glass of white wine. The weather this week in the Midwest has been unseasonably lovely and cool because of some issues with the polar vortex, but it sure makes outside dining fantastic. I turned on some tunes as I enjoyed my dinner for one, relishing each bite. 
After dinner I dug into my little happy cake. Since I doubled the recipe, it was really more of a cake for two so I cut myself a slice. Could I taste my emotions in this cake? Well, it did make me happy, that I know. I love trying new recipes and cooking for myself. These dishes were purely for me.  The weather was perfect, the wine was crisp, and the food was delicious; therefore, I tasted contentment. 


"Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all." ~Harriet Van Horne