In Bittersweet, Hudson Avery is a provocative cupcake namer.
She’s also a high school student trying and failing to balance the importance of family with the hopes of something beyond her small hometown. Talk about a relatable heroine.
But back to the simpler topic of baking- each chapter of Sarah Ockler’s novel starts with a cupcake.
The illustriously titled “When Life Hands You Lemons, Stuff ‘Em in Your Bra Cakes” (it’s too much fun to say) has the following description:
Doesn’t that sound delicious?
Though I didn’t have extra-large cupcake tins (Is that really a thing?), I set out to make my own with the following recipes:
- Cream cheese frosting from Chowhound – 1/2 the recipe was the perfect amount
- Lemon cupcakes from Sally’s Baking Addiction – They have the texture of Angel Food cake
I think this was actually my first time ever making cupcakes. They are so much fun to decorate!
Since cherries are out of season, I used a can of pie cherries and used the syrup to color the cream cheese frosting. Also, I skipped the lemon zest and simply added a little extra juice.
I can see how baking and decorating cupcakes could become Hudson’s escape. Halfway through, I was having a pretty sweet time, just me and the cupcakes.
If you’re hankering for a book with an inventive way of telling a familiar story, Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler won’t just entertain, it’ll inspire you to spend some quality item with your oven.
Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads.
It’s been too long since I’ve been on a free reading spree. These days, great friends give 101 recommendations, there’s an ever-increasing list of books I “should” read and such seemingly limited time.
So, when I took my vacation home, I dug up my old card and went to my hometown library- no holds barred.
Here are my spoils:
From left to right:
- A Rapunzel retelling set in medieval Germany
- By Sarah Ockler, the author of Fixing Delilah, Bittersweet‘s MC is a cupcake baking queen- her local newspaper said so
- The sequel to The Young Elites
- A poetry collection entitled Revolutionary Petunias (best title ever)
Two weeks with nothing but free time can put a dent into such an ensemble.
The only book I had a hankering for I didn’t see was Attachments by Rainbow Rowell; I found out Cath and Levi from Fangirl make a cameo! How did I not know this?! The library where I currently live has a copy, it is now on hold, and all shall soon be well.
ETA: I just finished Attachments, saw no signs of Cath and Levi, rechecked my sources, and realized they appear in Landline instead. Back to the library I go!
What have you lately added to your TBR?
Friday Finds is hosted by A Daily Rhythm.
There are things in life I was better off not knowing. Like the amount of butter that goes into a pound cake, for example.
In an effort to fulfill my goal of baking All The Food, I decided to make a lemon pound cake. Of course, I brought out my new best friend, Baking by James Peterson*. I got Baking from the library but now have it at the top of my wishlist. Each section (cakes, pies, cookies, breads, and custards) starts with the basics, then goes on to things I can only dream of one day being able to create, like cream puff pastry swans. Look and be amazed.
What I really like about Baking is the combined simplicity and details in the recipes. Like, it tells you how long to stir the stuff. Honestly, I’ve never stirred anything for longer than two minutes in my life, except for trouble. The book does expect you to have tools, like a mixer, that I don’t have in my kitchen, but such things are easy to work around.
Baking always allows me to practice two of my weakest virtues: crisis management and patience. For the lemon pound cake, it went like this:
Crisis Management: The pound cake has risen to the point of slowly overflowing and dripping batter onto the bottom of the oven that is causing smoke to mildly billow all over the house? Never fear! Just scrape it out and keep going.
Patience: The recipe says the cake tastes best if you wait days to eat it? I might have nibbled just one bite, but I wrapped the rest up and waited ’til the morning to make a lemon glaze. I was somewhat astonished by my self control.
Despite the minor debacles, the cake turned out really good. I don’t know if I’ll be making a lot of pound cakes in the future (2 1/2 sticks of butter! madness!), but I’m glad to have made it once.
Realizing that eating the entire pound cake by myself might be in conflict with other of my new year goals, I invited friends to eat it over breakfast with tea.
Good food and friends? Nothing’s better.
Weekend cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads.
*Baking‘s recipe for pound cakes didn’t call for any lemon, only zest, so I also pulled up a recipe from Epicurious for extra help.