On Sunday, I baked cake and roasted chicken and made stock and made soup and it was delightful. I cleaned out the kitchen recently — gave away the baking pans and utensils and things I never use, reorganized what I had, cleaned out the pantry, oiled all of the wooden things, got pretty jars for the dry goods. As a result, I've been spending about 400% more time in the kitchen and enjoying every minute of it.
Over Christmas, Andy's mom sent us a lemon coffee cake in the mail. I honestly think it was one of the best cakes I have ever had in my life. I think it is a lot like a pound cake but it just seemed even better than any pound cake I've ever had. She explained that the recipe and the special cake pan she used to bake it was from one of her favorite little shops called Pipka's of Door County (Wisconsin) in Sister Bay. And for my birthday, she sent me the special pan (which comes with the recipe) and some gorgeous vanilla sugar, spiced sugar, and lemon extract. The pan is called a Rehrucken pan and it is long and skinny.
She makes the lemon version, which replaces the almond extract with lemon extract. She also told me that after the cake comes out of the oven and gets taken out of the pan (after six minutes of sitting in the pan, which I think is hilarious [the "six" part] ), she brushes the top with butter and then sprinkles it with the vanilla sugar. So I did that.
I also added a sprinkle of powdered sugar because it's pretty and looks like snow, of course.
Dang, this is GOOD CAKE. Hers was better than mine, so I'll just have to keep trying [wink]. There are many variations listed on the recipe page so that should be no hardship at all! And the pan is just so cool, too. She also sent me a beautiful little Carl Larsson tray (like these, but mine has a different image; can't find mine on the Pipka's site) that fits the cake just perfectly but I forgot to take a picture of it! Well, there will be more cake opportunities. I could see this with whipped cream and fresh raspberries or strawberries in the summer. (I mean, who couldn't see that, right?)
One thing about taking pictures with the phone/Hipstamatic (my big camera is still out there between home and the mountain somewhere): Its very limitations is seeeeeeriously liberating. Like, you can really only take the shot it shows you; you can't zoom in, you can't change the aperture, you can't change the focal length, you can't re-crop it in Photoshop (or you will lose the border thing). Right? You can't put it on a tripod (oh joy!). You just hold it up to something and press the "shutter." This is not how I ever take pictures. Normally I fuss with everything, and in the house I never take a picture without a tripod. Ever. And I re-crop and Photoshop everything, too. With the phone pictures I just whip out the phone and point it at something. Done (though I do still Filter/Sharpen everything after I upload them from the phone — I always do that). I LOVE THIS. Total point and shoot.
I will probably go back to taking regular pictures when my camera comes back, but until then I am psyched about the phone. Thank you again for all of the sweet comments lately. And thanks for the recommendations on different photo apps to try! I have barely scratched the surface yet, so I am looking forward to exploring all of that. You guys are awesome. xoxo
Update: For those who asked, the settings I think I am mostly using on the Hipstamatic app are the John S lens and the Ina's 1969 film. But for most of the first two days I took photos (mostly at Timberline, see yesterday's post) the camera was on shake mode, so it was changing the film and the lens unexpectedly and I didn't know how to turn them back. And then I figured out how to turn that shaking thing off, and now it's consistently back on John S and Ina's 1969 (which come with the app). I also got the Helga Viking lens, but I don't remember which photos I took with that one [sheepish smile]. But I hope that helps!