I recently read a Dr. Suess quote that made me giggle a little, but oh-so-accurately described my current state of mind:
And when you’re in a slump, you’re not in for much fun. Unslumping yourself is not easily done.
This last while, I’ve found myself in just that slump. And it’s been HARD fighting my way out. It hasn’t been any fun. I don’t think I’ve been any fun. I feel rendered useless and still. Not moving. Incapable of making even the slightest decisions. Just waiting.
But as the incomparable Dr. Suess also says:
You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy you’ll decide where to go.
And you know what? I DO have my own thoughts and dreams. Even a few goals. My runners are laced up, and I have so many different paths in front of me to choose from; an escape from all that waiting and staying. My issue is in actually making that decision, on where it is that I want to go. Because it is up to me. I have to decide for myself. I have to keep moving and dreaming. And planning and hoping. And while it’s not a life altering decision, it is a small step forward to get back into the kitchen and bake up a lovely birthday cake for all the fall birthdays in my family. It feels good to do something for someone else; it’s a small bit of forward momentum and who knows where it will lead? Or what the next decision is that I’ll make?
So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.
Pretty Peach Layer Cake with Burnt Sugar Shards
For the peaches:
- About 6-8 large, ripe peaches
- 2 Tbsp unslated butter
- 1/2 C sugar (more or less depending on the ripeness of your peaches)
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 3/4 C butter
- 1 1/2 C sugar
- 4 eggs at room temperature
- 3 C all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 1/2 C sour cream (I used low fat)
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 C cooked peaches (see above)
- 2 8-oz blocks of cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 C butter at room temperature
- 8 C icing sugar
- 1/4 C of peach syrup (liquid leftover from cooking the peaches)
- 1 C sugar
- Thinly slice and pit the peaches. I left the peel on but that’s up to you.
- Heat a large skillet to medium heat. Melt the butter then add the peaches. Sprinkle with the desired amount of sugar. Saute until nice and soft but not falling apart. Sprinkle with the ginger. Set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9″ round cake pans.
- Cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add in the eggs, one at a time mixing completely after each addidion, about one minute. Add in the vanilla and mix 30 seconds.
- In a separate bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Mix together. Add to the butter mixture alternating with the sour cream. Please do NOT over mix at this point.
- Fold in a good 1 1/2 C of your cooked peaches into the batter.
- Divide the batter evenly between your two cake pans. Bake about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Cool the cakes on a baking rack for 10 minutes then invert to finish cooling.
- This is a REALLY large recipe. You might want to make it in two batches. If you do: put one block of cream cheese, 1/2 C butter, and 4 cups of icing sugar in a bowl and mix until blended. Add in a bit of the peach syrup until your frosting is the right thickness. Repeat.
- Prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Put the sugar in a large saucepan. Heat over medium heat until the sugar begins to melt and brown. Do NOT stir! You can tilt the pan if you need the sugar to melt more evenly.
- Once the sugar is all melted and has turned a dark amber color, pour it onto the parchment lined baking sheet. It will start to harden almost immediately. When it is completely hard you can break it into shards by hitting it with a mallet or dropping the tray (but not on your hardwood floor!).
- You can make these several days ahead and store in an air tight container.
- Be careful! These shards can actually get pretty sharp.
- Make sure your cakes are level. You might have to trim the tops which is ok. It will give you a little sample to taste test.
- Place one of the cakes on a pretty cake stand. Spread with a LOT of frosting. Top with the other cake. Give your cake a nice crumb coating of frosting then place in the fridge to stiffen up. I let mine sit in overnight.
- Remove the cake and finish icing it. At this point you can put the cake back in the fridge or leave on the counter. It is best served at room temperature but tastes best if it has at least one day to sit and let the flavors meld.
- JUST before serving top with the remaining cooked peaches and burnt sugar shards, then drizzle with any left over syrup.
- The directions seem long winded but it’s really an easy cake to make! Plus you can make it the day before you want to serve it.
- I cooked up enough peaches for the cake batter on one day. The following day, when I served the cake to my family (ie. the taste-testing guinea pigs. Thank goodness the nieces LOVE cake!), I cooked up a bunch more for the top of the cake. I thought the peaches turn a little fugly if they sat in the fridge overnight.
- I would never mix up my left foot with my right. Because I am very graceful.
- All quotes from Dr. Suess’s Oh, The Places You’ll Go!