So January 27th is National Chocolate Cake Day, which is wonderful, if a bit unnecessary. Every day is a chocolate cake day! That said, I’ll never pass up the excuse to incorporate more chocolate into my diet, so I’m glad we have a special day to celebrate.
I didn’t like peanut butter as a kid. That’s a mild way of putting it – I hated it. It was the mouthfeel that I couldn’t stand, that stickiness that coated every inch of your mouth. I vividly remember one day in elementary school when I ordered a peanut butter jelly sandwich for lunch out of morbid fascination. PB&J sandwiches were all anybody ate back then, so I decided to try it and see what all the hullabaloo was. I took one bite and threw it in the trash and went hungry the rest of the day. It was around that same time when we were reading Shel Silverstein in class and we got to the poem about the king who ate a peanut butter sandwich and got his mouth stuck shut for 20 years. That poem was what really sealed the deal for me. I’m not exaggerating when I say I spent the first half of my life terrified that peanut butter would glue my mouth shut.
I’m happy to say that I know better now and go through jars of peanut butter at an alarming rate to make up for lost time. I’m content to eat it straight out of the jar with a spoon, but I do occasionally like to put some work into how I consumer peanut butter, like this decadent peanut butter cake with chocolate ganache and peanut butter frosting.
One of my coworkers also adores peanut butter, so for her last day at work, I brought in this cake along with some cupcakes. She loved them, so I’d say my relationship with peanut butter – from hatred to love, bordering on obsession – has finally come full circle.
I found a can of evaporated milk in the back of my pantry this weekend, which, naturally, got me to thinking of zombies. The reason it made me think of the undead is because I saw the expiration date said February 2012, a full YEAR ago. I almost threw it out, but then I decided that would be wasteful, and then I thought about how I couldn’t afford to be so picky when/if the zombie apocalypse happens because food will be so scarce that I’ll have no choice but to ignore expiration dates.
So I used the can of milk that expired a year ago and made this loaf of lemon cake. Because it’s never too early to prepare your palate for the apocalypse. And it actually tasted fine, so I wonder if expiration dates are really just another clever marketing scheme.
Another thing I learned while making this loaf is that, when the apocalypse happens, the first thing I’m doing is getting rid of my zesters. I love them dearly and they’re great tools, but no matter how careful I try to be, my flesh always, always finds its way underneath their razor-sharp blades. (Why is it always the tiniest cuts that bleed the most? And how do zesters stay so sharp even after years of use?! There are so many things I don’t understand about zesters.) And the last thing I want in a zombie apocalypse is to have a situation like in season 2 of the Walking Dead when T-Dog (RIP, you heroic angel) sliced his arm while the group was hiding on the highway and attracted the entire horde of walkers. Can you tell I’m excited for this show to come back from hiatus?
So, long story short, in case of the apocalypse:
- Expiration dates don’t matter.
- Get rid of your zesters.
- If you can scrounge up all the ingredients, make this loaf and bond with your fellow survivors.
My dad turned 50 this year, which is funny, because he sometimes acts like he’s 15. He is a total man-child, but not in the sense that he’s immature and gross and needy, but rather because he is adorable like an actual child even though he is really a grown man. He giggles – actually giggles like a 5-year-old – a lot and it’s one of my favorite things about him.
Given that it was the big 5-0, I wanted to make an extra special cake, but my dad, though he has a sweet tooth, isn’t crazy about super sweet cakes. I instantly thought of childhood trips to China and the amazingly light and barely sweet birthday cakes that they sell in bakeries over there. Cue Google, and this cake was born. It’s not exactly the same as the cakes I had in the homeland, but it’s similar and taste enough in its own right to warrant a spot on my list of favorites.