Having my cake and eating it too

This is what I ate for breakfast.


Birthday cake to be precise.

The dreaded day is upon us. The anniversary of my birth, THIRTY years ago.

The big 3-0.

I’ve been a little freaked out by this particular birthday. Thirty, is undeniably adult. I have a spent most of my life, and nearly all of my twenties, as a student. I have a list of degrees to my name, Associate of Arts, Bachelors of Arts, Bachelors of Science and Doctor of Philosophy. Now I am finished with that phase of my life and it’s a little unsettling. I’ve relocated twice as an adult – first all the way across the country to a tiny little town for graduate school and then halfway back across it to an actually city just a year ago for my post-doc. I’ve fallen in love and had my heart broken only to find myself, and then love again. I’ve brought two great cats into my life, as well as a sister-in-law and the most adorable niece (with another niece or nephew on the way). I have friendships that will last for a lifetime. I’ve started this blog, and become a cooking and food enthusiast.

So what I am I complaining about? I am pretty accomplished, if I say so myself. But really, thirty?

So I ate cake for breakfast.

The advantage of living alone, with no friends or family in this town, is that I get to have my cake and eat it too.

Which is why I decided to make an angel food cake. Light, fluffy, made practically from nothing.

(Plus I got to use my green stand mixer – an early birthday present from my parents – and I thought it only fair that it should be involved in my birthday cake making)

I started with a recipe from The Joy of Cooking.

Angel Food Cake

Sift 1 1/4 cups sugar.

Now, sift together 1 cup cake flour (and I actually made a special trip to the grocery store to get the cake flour), 1/4 cup of the sifted sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sift this mixture three times.

Now separate your egg whites. You need about 1 1/4 cups of egg whites – for me this was 9 eggs. I like to separate my eggs by holding the yolk in my hand and letting the white slide through my fingers. It gets kind of messy, but I find it very satisfying.

I kept the egg yolks – I am sure I can find something to do with them later.

Whip the egg whites plus 1 T water and 1 T lemon juice until frothy. This is why the stand mixer was crucial. I have never attempted to make angel food cake from scratch before because whipping egg whites just seems like so much work. Even just watching the stand mixer was tiresome.

Add 1 teaspoon cream of tartar.

Continue to whip until peaks are stiff.

Fold in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

And 1/2 teaspoon orange extract (I modified this – The Joy of Cooking calls for almond extract instead, but I have been having a hankering citrus, so I went with an orange flavor).

Whip in remaining sifted sugar, 1 T at a time.

Gently, but quickly, fold in 1/4 of the flour mixture. Continue to fold in the rest of the flour mixture.

I also decided to add the zest from 1 orange, in keeping with the citrus theme.

Pour into a 9-inch tube pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Once baked, invert and cool for about an hour.

I splurged (it is my birthday after all) and bought outrageously expensive strawberries and raspberries. I sliced the strawberries and added a few raspberries and let them soak in some orange juice.

I would say this birthday may be the best excuse to eat cake for breakfast … and lunch … and dinner.

I was really only trying to make good use of my birthday present (because I never use my stand mixer … best birthday gift ever).

So happy birthday to me.


3 responses to “Having my cake and eating it too

  1. Meleah, my oldest friend, happy 30th birthday! I have loved your blog but this is my favorite post so far! As another accomplished woman with a pretty similar set of experiences in my 20’s I can completely relate to the feelings you are describing about your 30th birthday. The day before my 30th I went to lunch with a friend and cried so hard I thought the people at Happy Terriyaki were going to come over and check on us. But then I woke up on the morning of my birthday at peace with the number…it is just a number. And both of us have so many amazing things to look forward to in the next ten years!!! I’m happy for you because you are accomplished, beautiful and most importantly…integrated!!! You have become a wonderful person and you’re only 30!!!

  2. Pingback: Thirty-Two | Puck and Kudzu

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