I was basically brought up in a kitchen. Parented by ovens and omelettes and nourished by steaming loaves of homemade bread. Raised by the rising of freshly made dough. Wooden spoons and rolling pins were my play things and the four walls of my great grandmothers kitchen were my nursery.
When I was 2 months old. My 22 year old single momma took me and my two year old sister and moved in with my great grandparents. The following years constructed my first experiences of life, Painting my childhood in all the shades hand crafted by great grandmas and great grandpas.
My great grandmother “granny” lived in the kitchen. So many of my earliest memories consist of images of her hard at work over some detailed home cooked meal. I remember her soft wrinkled hands in a constant state of making. stirring, mixing, kneading. Always whistling or Humming a tune, singing folk songs or nursery rhymes as she carefully crafted her meal magic. She gave me some of my first tastes of homemade food as well as my first tastes of melody. Songs actings as prayer, blessing our home with the sweet combination of sound and scent and taste.
She was always accompanied by a kitchen chorus of beeping timers and running water. That, the sounds of her dusting a rolling pin with flour and the shuffling of baking dishes became a familiar lullaby that became the soundtrack to most of my childhood.
Granny was famous for her bread rolls, cheesecakes and cinnamon rolls. I witnessed her process dozens of times as she carefully completed each step to perfection. I though it Was pure magic how the beautiful smooth ball of dough would double in size every time she would uncover it from its state of rising, invisible yeast working its magical powers of expanding warm dough into full loaves of bread. She would often give me little pieces of dough to play with. I loved crafting my little rations of dough into my own miniature creations. Often mirroring whatever she was making as little pies or baby loaves of bread or the smallest of cinnamon rolls. I would watch them transform through the oven window as my little dough masterpieces would rise and bake to life.
My great grand mother, My grandmother, and my mother were/are all amazing bakers. It is a gift I have been given that extends far beyond delicious treats. And though the recipes have changes as Ive worked to create a healthier lifestyle. (Less cream cheese frosting and enriched white flour) The way that I bake, and my deep connection to the craft has been passed down from generation to generation. Passed to me through DNA and through the literal consumption of years of love blessed baked goods.
Baking has become one of my favorite forms of meditation, it is my love language. It is nourishment of body and soul. It is ritual, It is sacred, It is a way that I have learned to worship. My kitchen is my temple, it is my sanctuary. I love a clean kitchen but I also love the story told by a sink full of dishes and a counter covered in a mess made from too many ingredients and not enough space.
As is have gotten older I have realized I am both the baker and the bread. I have been mixed and measured a thousand times over. Left on my own to rise and pounded down and re kneaded again and again. And in all the moments I thought the heat was too much to bare, I learned that it was just the catalyst for my own transformation.
Recipe For Orange Cardamom Honey Cake:
Ingredients for the cake:
1/2 cup coconut oil (I used butter flavored)
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour (I used gluten free)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cardamom
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp orange zest
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup butter flavored coconut oil
1/4 cup cashews
1/2 orange juiced
Directions for the Cake:
1) Combine wet and dry ingredients separately first and then slowly together in a large mixing bowl. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
2) Pour batter into a greased cake pan (I used an 8" round pan), filling 3/4 of the way full.
3) Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 min. Baking time varies from oven to oven so bake until you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.
4) Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes before removing from the pan.
5) Top cake with the prepared glaze and more orange zest. Enjoy!
Directions for the Glaze:
1) Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend for several minutes until mixture is completely smooth. If the glaze is too thick you can add a splash of water or non dairy milk.
2) Used desired amount of glaze to coat the cake.