about bliss

Saturday, April 12, 2008

opera cake

dharmagirl here... so music chick is here visiting me, all the way from Michigan. Hooray! since the wind was howling and the SNOW swirling all day, we decided to stay in and:
a) learn the solja boy dance via the youtube instructional video;
b) watch *the starter wife*; and
c) bake. after much poring over my extensive baking cookbooks and amassed foodie mags, we settled on the ambitious OPERA CAKE in Dorie Greenspan's *Paris Sweets* cookbook. We had to make a few adjustments, eschewing Dorie's advice NOT to halve the cake recipe (we did because I only have 1 jelly roll pan and neither of us wanted to leave the house to ask my neighbor B if she had such a pan), and selecting an alternative coffee buttercream recipe from Regan Daley's *In the Sweet Kitchen* because Dorie's recipe required a candy thermometer, and, well, I don't actually have one (the horror!).

Step One: divide and perform the tasks.
dharmagirl: everything egg-y, including separating 5 eggs, and making two different meringues. folding aforementioned meringue number one into the cake base. making a true buttercream using aforementioned meringue number two. chopping chocolate.
music chick: grinding everything. i mean, almonds. mixing the base of the cake. clarifying butter. making the coffee syrup. creating the ganache.

Step Two: comment on the process, contemporaneously and retrospectively.
music chick: i carried out the duties of the sous chef. it is by far the most complicated and beautiful cake i have ever been a part of. and this has been one of my favorite days in a long time.

dharmagirl here. what great fun we've had! this cake is BEYOND. well, we haven't actually eaten any yet because it has to CHILL, but the components are delicious. what a perfect antidote to a CRAPTASTIC (thank you, craptastic carl, one of music chick's potential suitors who earned a gold star for LAMENESS back in the day) day: good friends, great conversation, glamorous cake. Thank you for the most lovely visit, music chick!!!

Thursday, April 03, 2008


This past week has been a very internal week, a drawing inward, a retreat from the world, a quest to find answers and the next best steps on the path of my life. At the end of a week, I don't have many answers, and though part of me craves a continuing interiority, I know that it's time to be out of my head and into the world. I'm ready to stretch my legs out over dry sidewalks and run through neighborhoods, run through fields, run with-and not to or away from-my thoughts. To make this path literal, to explore new territory, to clear away old patterns and forge new trails. (alas, I'm slipping into cliches...)

My week of thinking was spurred by viewing a very fine production of *Agnes of God,* a play that gripped my psyche in subtle and not so subtle ways. Issues of motherhood, of faith, of reason, of love all swirled together, interweaving with news of friends undergoing fertility treatments and giving birth, to create a powerful wave of thinking. And longing. Or not.

And now Spring, beloved, ravishing, aching, unrequited Spring begins to tiptoe into town, dispelling winter gloom with the promise of glorious fecundity.

It's all a little overwhelming.