Sometimes I get seized by a project and — even though I recognize its relative unimportance in the scheme of things — I cannot give it up until I have conquered it.
I will give you a minute to get over your astonishment.
Thus it was with the Origami Wallet, and thus it is being with the Spanish Cake.
We are having a Pampered Chef party on Sunday. This is a party at which the Pampered Chef lady, in this case the lovely Janalisa, cooks things as the entertainment for the party. Sort of like watching the Food Channel with your friends, except that you then get to eat the food.
(If you already know about Pampered Chef and have been hoping for a party so you could get that garlic press, let me know and I will hook you up.)
So we are having tapas. #2 daughter is very enthusiastic about tapas, which is all the rage in the cities, but largely unknown here. It is, essentially, Spanish bar snacks. I have the shopping list for this affair, and it involves olives and cheese and crusty bread and nuts and peppers and stuff like that. Sounds good, and healthy, and a festive alternative to the unhealthy snacks we so often serve during the holidays in the name of festivity.
Dessert is not part of this custom, but it is a party for women, so there ought to be some little sweet. I was thinking bitter chocolate truffles with a hint of orange – for some reason oranges seem essential for Spanish food.
I know nothing about Spanish food.
But Janalisa has this amazing pan, made of silicone, which does not melt in your oven as you might think it would, but instead turns out pretty little flower-shaped cakes. So she loaned me this pan, along with a recipe to make little cakes to dress up the table — caramel and pecan cakes.
To me, caramel and pecan shouts “American cake!” Do they even have pecans in Spain? I make a Basque cake which is pretty amazing, if I do so say myself as shouldn’t, and it is a matter of butter and fruit, not caramel and pecan.
So I set out to discover what a Spanish cake might be, and found that the sweet flavors of Spain do include caramel, but also almonds, chocolate, orange (just as I suspected), coffee, and cinnamon. Spanish cakes appear to run to un-iced pound and sponge cakes, both of which ought to be happy as little flowers. I have found recipes for flourless almond cakes soaked in orange syrup, rich cinnamon cakes, and cakes flavored with coffee and trimmed with shavings of bitter chocolate. Janalisa’s cake wears a little crown of burnt sugar, and that could be nice on any little cake.
I’m thinking that I will have to make a bunch of different kinds of little flower cakes.
Whatever is left over from the party can go in the freezer, to be pulled out for holiday visitors in place of the cookies I have been freezing (as directed by the HGP), nearly all of which have been eaten by the locusts — I mean my sons.
I will also be denuding my garden of its basil and making pesto this morning, since pesto is also on the shopping list. #1 daughter and son-in-law are arriving today and #2 daughter tonight, and from then on we will frolic. Cake and pesto should help that along.