Since I couldn't do Thai the other night, I decided to make a dinner from Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table. I really admire Gabrielle Hamilton's writing, but when I first read her review of Greenspan's book on Food52 I thought she was perhaps overly harsh. Then I sat down to choose what to cook from the volume and I found myself curiously and completely uninspired. Almost every entree looked heavy and old-fashioned, stodgy and unappealing. Nothing tempted me except for the cola-and-apricot jam spareribs, but they required long cooking and I didn't have a long time. In the end, I only used Greenpan's book to make dessert, which was Marie Helene's apple cake.
I chose the cake because Gabrielle Hamilton approved, as did David Lebovitz. Also: easy. My family hardly touched it, deemed it too plain. At first I agreed, but when I had a piece the next day, I changed my mind. This is a cake that improves with age. It's very moist and rummy, almost like a pudding or clafoutis, almost refreshing. I just now had another delicious wedge for lunch dessert, two words I should probably never use together again. You can find the recipe for this excellent cake here. I'm going to subject Dorie Greenspan's book to further scrutiny in the future.
On the subject of cakes, we are celebrating Isabel's fourteenth birthday tomorrow. Last night I asked, "What kind of cake do you want?"
She sighed and replied, "Oh, I don't really care. You pick." Then she disappeared to her bedroom.
A few minutes later she came running down the stairs with a wild look in her eye, pointing a finger at me accusingly. "NO BUNDT CAKE," she said. "You always run out of time and end up making a bundt cake. I do NOT want a bundt cake."
I knew the teenage diffidence was just an act!
Then she casually pointed out a cake she wouldn't mind having. It consists of angel food and devil's food cake layers sandwiched with peanut butter mousse and frosted with chocolate ganache. It makes me tired just to look at it. Here are some more pictures of said cake.
Of course, she was absolutely right. I was going to think about it and think about it and eventually just make a bundt cake.