Avoid Stomping Around

On Sunday afternoon I stirred up a blood orange cornmeal cake.  As I prepared to slip it into the oven, I said to Michael, “Now, while the cake is in the oven, we have to be really quiet and avoid stomping around in here.  And do you think that making grilled cheese on the stove will disturb my cake too much while it bakes?”

He looked at me as if I had three heads, but was much too polite to come right out and say so.

I don’t bake a lot of cakes.

So I had to stop and think for a minute about why I was worried: Because I thought the cake might “fall”, which I don’t think I’ve actually ever seen, but nonetheless I have a dire mental picture of a cake that looks like someone has stepped on it.

Why was I worried about fallen cake?  Because my mother always told us, decades ago, as she slipped a cake into the oven, to be really quiet and avoid stomping around in the kitchen or the cake might fall.

And why did she tell us that?  Because we were little girls who were excited about eating cake in a little while, and apt to start playing tag in the kitchen while we waited, or possibly invent a game that involved jumping off kitchen chairs while shrieking like banshees.

Once I’d asked a few why questions, I realized that my cake probably wasn’t in mortal jeopardy after all.  I made the grilled cheese sandwiches, and we retired to the living room to eat them without initiating any jumping or shrieking games in the kitchen, and everything turned out just fine.

And I couldn’t help noticing that the cake was a fairly obvious metaphor for so many situations in life, wherein my automatic assumptions dissolve when I take the trouble to shine a light on them.

Apparently, every time I make a cake, it must have olive oil and orange juice in it.  But it’s hard to go wrong with those parameters.  The blood orange cornmeal cake was a success.  It only took a couple of minutes to stir up, and the smell alone was worth the trouble.  The texture was fine and relatively light, and it had a hint of the hearty, mildly sweet taste of cornbread, brightened and intensified by the orange juice and zest.  The cake itself was not overly sweet, which made the sugar topping a pleasant addition.

Blood Orange Cornmeal Cake

(very slightly adapted from The Kitchen Sink Recipes)

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup for topping
  • 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed blood orange juice
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Finely grated zest of 2 blood oranges

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray bottom and sides of a 9-inch round cake pan; line bottom with parchment paper, and spray with oil.

In a large bowl, whisk together oil, eggs, 1 cup sugar, and juice until smooth. Add flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and orange zest; whisk to combine.

Pour batter into prepared pan; sprinkle top evenly with remaining 1/4 cup sugar.  Bake until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.

Cool in pan 20 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake; invert cake gently onto a plate, and remove parchment paper. Turn cake onto a rack to cool completely.

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7 thoughts on “Avoid Stomping Around

  1. Medifast Coupon Code 2011

    What a great cake recipe, one I haven’t stumbled upon before and look forward to trying.
    I have never had a cake fall before and I also remember being told not to cause sudden movements in the kitchen. I am thinking it was mom just trying to keep us quiet :)

  2. Monet

    Cornmeal…olive oil…citrus…this sounds like a HEAVENLY cake. I can see why you wanted to be sure this cake came out all right. And I loved hearing about your childhood memories. Thanks for sharing, sweet girl! I hope you are having a splendid Saturday night. Take time to relax and rejuvenate tomorrow. Hugs from Austin!

  3. Stella

    Hey Rowdy, it’s so funny that you wrote about taking the time to think about things here. I did that too a bit in my last post. It does seem to clear things up when one actually allows time for pondering and such…
    Oh, and your cake does look very light and delicious-like a cornmeal coffee cake of sorts;-)

  4. Mary

    This really is a lovely cake. I’m relatively new to your blog and I don’t comment often but I wanted you to know how much I like the food and recipes you feature here. I always enjoy my visits to your blog and you manage to keep me coming back. I hope you have a great evening. Blessings…Mary


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