I was surprised to find the nectarine upside-down chiffon cake recipe listed in the “Everyday Delights” section of the Baking with Julia cookbook, since there were about 950 steps involved with baking it. And really, whose got time for this many steps every day, except for those lucky/lazy, Pinterest addicted, ladies-who-lunch types whose kids are old enough to attend school for seven hours at a stretch? (Not that I’m one of those.)
Note to Ms. Greenspan: In the next edition of the book, I’d suggest a more appropriate name for this cake, such as “Every Day You Need a Long Involved Baking Project to Comfort You When the Kids Are Back In School and You Realize That Time Is Whizzing By And You Can’t Do A Thing About It Cake." Just an idea.
This massive undertaking was exactly what I needed last week. After dropping off the kids for their first day back at school, I had the luscious luxury of spending the morning alone, knuckle-deep in a pile of flour and sugar. As I worked on my meringue, with the scent of warm cinnamon drifting out of the nearby oven and freshly expressed lemon juice awaiting it’s turn on the counter next to me, I found myself dreaming about what it might be like to work as a professional pastry chef. How sweet! How predictable! How orderly! How wonderfully solitary! Then the kids burst through the door, and reality dropped it’s cartoon anvil on my head.
But, like mom’s everywhere, I was thrilled to have the beloved offspring returned to me, despite the chaos that inevitably ensued. Over dinner, the Bean and the Pie Guy were exploding with stories about their crazy new teachers, their outspoken classmates, and the suspicious new recess policies that had been introduced on Day One. Having spent half of my own day in baking paradise, I had refreshed my super-mom supply of patience and active listening skills, and we all enjoyed a loud, happy dinner together as a result.
For dessert, we passed around the nectarine upside-down cake, and all eyes rolled heavenward as we swallowed our first sweet bites. The cake had a super-light and lemony base with a streusel surprise in the middle, topped with gooey sweet nectarines. It was a satisfying ending to a satisfying day.
It’s not every day that life is this good.
For the recipe, check out Marlise of The Double Trouble Kitchen and Susan of The Little French Bakery.