Tomorrow I turn 50. I truly can’t wrap my head around it.
When I look in the mirror, it seems like a stranger looks back at me. She is heavier than I am, has more wrinkles than I do and looks so much older than I am. In my mind, on the other hand, I still fit into jeans two sizes ago, turn heads when I walk down the street and have the energy to “bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan.” Yes, sadly, I am old enough to remember that commercial!Age has never been something that bothered me…that is until 50 started creeping up on me like a steam roller. You know the old saying, “You are only as old/young as you feel?” Well, let me tell you despite the fact that my mind is having a hard time accepting 50, my body seems to be embracing it in ways I am not particularly enjoying. I have aches and pains where I didn’t know they were possible, bedtime comes earlier than ever, but actually sleeping through the night seems to be a thing of the past.
I have now been married longer than I have been single (yes to the same wonderful man), our only son is away at college, have a successful career and great friends. My sister and husband arranged for a birthday celebration at Morso here in Gig Harbor and I received the best gift of all, the opportunity to spend time with friends and family. We had a lovely evening filled with great wine and a fantastic spread of food, while all of the entertaining details were taken care of, leaving us the time to truly connect with everyone there.
Yesterday as I reminisced about the lovely evening before and contemplated the big day to come, I decided I needed to commemorate the event with a cake. While I have never been much of a cake fan, going as far as to skip birthday cakes in favor of birthday pie, this occasion simply seemed to scream cake. If I am going to eat cake, I prefer mine chocolate with some sort of lemon accent.
This cake is part of a recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking with Julia”. It includes a recipe for Crème Brulee’d Chocolate Bundt Cake which sounds divine, but much too rich for my tastes. I have made this chocolate bundt several times before, usually serving it with just a dusting of powdered sugar, so I knew it would be the foundation of my birthday cake. The secret to the perfection of this cake taking the time to separate the eggs, whipping the whites before folding back into the batter .
This time around, I simply complimented it with a Lemon Glaze made from whole lemons and garnished with a few fresh raspberries I had on hand. Much prettier than setting of the fire alarms with fifty candles!
Chocolate Bundt Cake with Whole Lemon Glaze
For the Cake (from Baking with Julia, by Dorie Greenspan)
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder (aluminum free)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs separated + 2 large egg whites
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup water
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350°. Butter a 10-cup bundt pan and dust with flour; tap out excess. Sift 1 cup of sugar, the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and baking soda onto a piece of parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together 4 egg yolks, oil, water & vanilla. Gradually whisk dry ingredients into yolk mixture until well combined; set aside.
Beat 6 egg whites until soft peaks form. Increase mixer speed to medium-high and gradually add remaining ½ cup sugar, beating until whites are thick, shiny and hold peaks.
Fold 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the yolk mixture to lighten, then turn the mixture back into the whites and fold gently, but thoroughly until completely combined.
Pour batter into bundt pan and place on baking sheet on center rack of oven. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes or until springy to the touch. The top may crack, but don’t worry as it will become the bottom of the cake. Transfer bundt pan to cooling rack and allow to cook for at least 25 minutes before unmolding cake onto rack to cool completely. Transfer to serving plate and drizzle with lemon glaze and garnish with raspberries if desired.
For the Glaze:
- 1 organic whole lemon, scrubbed
- Juice of ½ lemon – about 2 tablespoons
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar (adjust as necessary)
Cut the ends off of the whole lemon, then cut in half, and cut into small pieces, removing ALL SEEDS. Transfer to food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Push through a fine mesh sieve to remove “chunkier” pieces of skin into small bowl. Add additional lemon juice and then whisk in sifted powdered sugar until smooth.