Saturday, November 21, 2009

Because you mean the world

I baked again this week. Last week was Lemon Bars, this week was homemade gingerbread. And NO, I haven't turned into a Stepford Wife.

So why did I bake--something I admit I'm not good at--two weeks in a row?

Because I've never met Anissa, but the outpouring of love and concern from the blogosphere has made me realize that I wish I had. And it made me realize what I have.

Because my husband offered to take on Miss D.'s Native-American-Diorama-Project-From-Hell and leave me out of it.

Because my parents are coming for a leisurely Sunday lunch and helping me decorate the house for Christmas, a task I don't enjoy. (Yeah that's me Ebeneezer, crusty old geezer, pinch-penny squeezer...Scrooge!)

Because we can totally get behind an idea like crazy hair/crazy dress day.

Because I spent hours researching freaking hamsters because Miss D. wants only that one thing for Christmas.

Because of course I'm going to have to buy two hamsters, because the girls will fight over the Lone Hamster. But hamsters tend to eat each other, so I'm kinda screwed.

Because my cup runneth over.

Gingerbread Cake
adapted from Fine Cooking
serves 8-12

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
3 large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1 3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 cup root beer, preferably and artisanal brand

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350. Coat an 8-inch square cake pan with the butter and lightly dust with granulated sugar.

In a small bowl, stir the oil, molasses and eggs until combined. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt.

In a small pot, bring the brown sugar and root beer to a boil. Meanwhile, add the molasses mixture to the flour and stir to combine. Add the hot root beer mixture and quickly beat until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes.

Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack until warm, about 40 minutes.

Dust with powdered sugar and serve with whipped cream, if desired.


  1. Nice things to be grateful for, TKW. Really, so nice. (Except, maybe, the hamsters eating each other. That's probably not so nice, especially for the hamsters...)

  2. The gingerbread looks delish.

    Regarding hamsters--speaking as someone who had various rodents growing up, they can be great, fairly low-maintenance pets. Unless they escape. And the basement floods. Then you find them bobbing along in an old wastebasket. Or, um, so I've heard.

  3. Okay, this will make you shiver but I am telling you this anyway. Get them two rats instead. They are smarter and friendlier(less likely to bite the girls) and less likely to eat each other. They are pretty evolved little critters and sweet. When we had two and had them for a while one died in the night. Instead of eating that one the other one curled up around him and tried to warm him. We found poor Victor just shaking and upset in the morning curled around poor Moritz. Very sweet and sad.

  4. I wanna dress ferosh like those two: Hello Kitty Pippy Longstocking and Spotted Purple Foxytail!

  5. The girls are so cute! And your gingerbread looks great. What a nice way to show your gratitude this week. As for the hamsters... all I can say is best of luck! Mine were begging for a puppy. So. Not. Going. To. Happen.

  6. I think your girls may be the sisters my girl has always longed for.

    I love baking. Especially the way it makes the house smell. It covers up the dirty dog dirty kid smell so much better than incense or febreeze. And it makes happy kids.

  7. Your voice here is as delicious to me as I bet your gingerbread was to your family - sweet, with just a little bite. *Love* this post.

  8. That is a very sad situation. It does make you think about life doesn't it.

    I almost bought hamsters for the kids recently but when I added everything up it was over $100! We had a teddy bear hamster when I was a kid and he was so cute rolling all over the house in his little ball.

    Mmm your gingerbread looks scrumptious! :D

  9. What a lovely post. (I'll have to go back and look for the lemon squares.) I also equate baking with love, not quite sure why. It's chilly and rainy where I am, and ten teens are expected later. The only way to tame ten teens (without meds or hamster races) is


    As it is theoretically a study group, I'll do food, ie an assortment of cookies. It's good therapy for anything and everything that ails you, and puts smiles on adolescent faces.And that puts a smile on mine.

    (Now about that South Park thing... glad to know I"m not the only one whot thought it was too funny to pass up, even for my kids.)

  10. Yeah hamsters can be mean little buggers...try russian hamsters though - there are tiny and very sweet. We had a mother and a daughter I think - Jenny and Jady, they were fine together....
    PS Your daughters look very cute!!! xxx

  11. PS Noticed your recent comment on my blog - I'm sorry about that, I'd ask you to share but I'm thinking you might not want to?...My sister and I do often tear strips off each other...we do not have the 'ideal' relationship but we do try/are continually trying to be more understanding with one another...I think she is a bit low and lost at the moment in Spain so we're pulling together at the mo...when we are at war watch out. Last fight was over a pumpkin knife at that was er rather epic (although also rather stupid!) xxx

  12. I love homemade gingerbread, and food is love. Whether it's baked goods, homemade soup, a quiche, whatever . . . gives me the warm fuzzies to feed people good food! Otherwise, I'm a horrible cynic . . . .

  13. That looks very yummy. I never had hamsters, but I think they get out really easy. If I was going for a rodent I think I would get a guinea pig. Ever since that Blockbuster commercial with the one dancing I think they are the cutest things ever. And yeah, I know they don't really dance.

  14. oh wow perfect ginger bread I had hamsters as a kid, dogs are better just teasing!

  15. Mmmm....cake...

    Are you talking about real hamsters or those Zhu Zhu ones??

  16. I love your becauses.

    And then I want to just ditto what Kristen said, because it's PERFECT.

  17. Like Heather, I love your becauses, too. Now. Always.

    And, oh Scroogey, my cup runneth over.

    Lastly, yum. I'm not a giant fan of the gingerbread but I'm coming over. Get that Thoddy ready.

  18. YUM! I like gingerbread. We had hamsters but they didn't eat each other. TKW do you have a kick ass spice cake recipe I can use.

  19. "Because my cup runneth over."

    Enough said. For all of us. Thanks for the sweet reminder of the bounty that is too easy to overlook. So many of us are shrouded in good fortune and do not realize it. Words like these make me realize.

  20. Fresh baked goods, crazy hair/dress day, nice smelling house from above baked goods! I can't imagine wanting more! Wonderful post!!!

  21. Once you catch the baking bug, you won't go back. It's like meditation with a treat at the end.

  22. How lovely :) And I love gingerbread... And that's a totally rockin' crazy hair & dress!!

  23. I hoped you served that gingerbread cake with roasted apples and a caramel rum sauce...
    Cuz that would be the cat's meow!

  24. As usual I love reading your reasons for baking! Hamsters huh? I guess it beats another cat...;)

    And Fallen's comment - giggle!

  25. Mmm I love gingerbread! Looks lovely. I am not a baker either. So who's going to clean the hamster cage?

  26. Falling: eeek, escaping Hamsters? We had escaping Gerbils growing up and it freaked me out.

    Kestrel: you know I love you, but rats?!! Chilled to the bone just thinking of it!

    jc: Spotted purple foxytail...sounds like an exotic bird, don't you think?

    Laura: no puppy? Meanie, meanie, meanie :)

    Michelle: Dirty dog smell is, indeed, an unsavory thing. Much like nasty cat smell.

    C.C.: sisterhood is complicated, isn't it? I can't believe you fought over a pumpkin knife! Too crazy!

    Jen: I considered a guinea pig but a neighbor of mine said she had one growing up and it lived 17 years! Ack! WAY too long for me!

    Passions: I don't have a spice cake recipe, but I love spice cake...if you find one, let me know?

    Whispering: strangely enough, I ordered Zhu Zhu's in September (for Christmas). So Miss D. will be getting TWO kinds for Christmas.

    Thanks everyone for weighing in on the hamster debacle...Miss M. says she doesn't want one, so I think we're just going to get one plain old regular...this is a decision that clearly is going to bite me in the ass...

  27. Lyndsey: one guess at who is going to end up cleaning that nasty cage. Rhymes with KitchenBitch.

  28. Yum! And what a delicious way to introduce the recipe as well. Perfect in every way. Thanks for coming by and visiting my blog.. I will CERTAINLY be back to yours. (And if you EVER have an recommendations for what to substitute for eggs... please let me know as I'm the only one in my family who won't topple over with an allergic reaction from them!)

  29. I've been baking, too. A lot. Yesterday I made bread. A few days before it was pecan pie. Before that, snickerdoodles (I LOVE snickerdoodles). I wasn't sure why I was doing all the baking... until I read this. My cup runneth and runneth.

  30. I don't bake very often, but this sounds delicious. There are times when we are reminded of the best things in our world. Anissa's tragedy has really hit me hard. I give my daughter extra hugs and kisses every day.

  31. Anissa's husband's posts really got to me. She is doing better, I think, I hope. Better of course relatively. She opened her eyes. She was able to squeeze her hands. Yes, all of us have a lot to be thankful for. Having known someone like you through your blog is one of them.
    (Sorry for being sappy...)

  32. You are so good to us!! Your girls are so damn beautiful!!

  33. I want to try this! I love to bake! I just worry about the extra pounds that come with it. Um, wait, I have perfect excuse. Though I still have boxes of gingerbread mix from last year when I stalked up for the morning sickness and was too tired to use them. Want me to send you over a box?