filling the empty nest with food
When the weather turns chilly and gloomy, the time seems right to bake a cake. Well, OK, the time is always right around here for baking cakes. Last time it was empty houses and bad days at the office. Today it’s fall rain and clouds. There’s something in the wind calling for a cake with spices and nuts and perhaps a splash of Madeira.
If I were to imagine an audience for my cake, it would be a young girl preparing an afternoon tea with her dolls. The setting is ideal for a ginger and walnut cupcake with cream cheese icing as she sets their table with old-fashioned-looking china. A ginger cake because it sounds slightly British and perfect then for tea-time; a cupcake so that each guest, human or human-like, can have her own; tall twirling icing because girls like twirly things (when they can’t be twirling themselves); and walnuts so she can teach her dolls to like nuts, which is a grown-up thing to like.
Where does your imagination take you on an overcast October morning?
Ginger and Walnut Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing (adapted from Craig Claiborne’s 1982 Walnut and Ginger Cake recipe)
CREAM CHEESE ICING
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbls milk or cream, if needed
Put all ingredients in bowl of electric mixer and beat until smooth and creamy.