Last weekend was kind of a big deal. I have been avoiding writing about it all week. Writing it down makes it all really, real…and really, real means both really, exciting and really, scary. Do you get that?
My dear friend turned 27, I made her this cake, and…Sean, my husband, got a job offer. A good one. One that will be great for his career as an engineer. One that will move us across the country to Michigan. Somewhere I have never even been.
It’s exciting and a little bit sad. For the first time in 13 years I will not live within 5 minutes of my best friends. People I could not imagine my life without. As I type this, tears sting the corners of my eyes, and I can’t help but wonder if I can handle it. Our conversations jump from excited chatter about where I will live, the new things to discover, and promises of visits…to the sobering reality that they won’t be moments away. Coffee and lunch dates will be missed and crafting and art projects done separately. But, I remind myself people do this all of the time, under much more serious and dire circumstances. When my mom was my age she had 2 kids, lived in a foreign country, and lost her husband to a tragic accident. Moving for a new job is cause for celebration and I count my stars.
I know I am a lucky girl. Lucky to have friends that are more than family. Lucky to have a great family. Lucky to have an amazing, supportive husband. Lucky to be able to afford a simple, yet beautiful life. Lucky to be able to dream and do what I like. Lucky, that despite these dire economic times, my husband found an excellent job, in his field, in a time when so many others cannot.
I couldn’t be more thrilled, excited, anxious, and scared at once.
I remind myself,
Homesickness ain’t nothin’, girl…plus, I have chocolate cake.
Chocolate Cake with Coconut-Walnut Dulce de Leche
Cake recipe adapted from Bittersweet
I used Valrhona cocoa, which is Dutch-processed. To assemble the cake as I have above, I baked the cake in an 8inch-square pan. After cooling, I cut the cake in half before dividing each half into layers…which resulted in the rectangular cake you see above :)
1 cup +2 Tablespoons sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs (cold)
1 large egg white (cold)
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a measuring cup, combine milk with espresso powder and vanilla. Stir to combine and set aside.
In the bowl of a mixer combine sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine.
Add butter, whole (cold) eggs and egg white, to the dry mixture. Mix on medium-high for 2 minutes (set a timer). Scrape the bowl and add the milk mixture. Continue to mix batter on medium-high for 2 more minutes.
Scrape batter into a prepared pan (either a 6 cup capacity tube pan or an 8in-square pan). Bake for 30-40 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Dulce de Leche Coconut-Walnut “Frosting”
This is not so much a recipe for frosting as it is opening 2 cans of Dulce de Leche and mixing in coconut + walnuts. You can find prepared Dulce de Leche in the “Latin Foods” section of most well-stocked super markets.
2-14 ounce cans prepared Dulce de Leche
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut (I used both sweetened and unsweetened…cause I had them both in the cupboard)
1 1/2 cups walnut pieces (or other nut, pecans would be lovely)
Open both cans of dulce de leche and place in a medium saucepan. Melt dulce de leche until it is smooth and easy to stir. Add in coconut and walnuts. Stir to combine and allow to cool before spreading. I found that the slightly warm dulce de leche mixture spreads best…meaning, cooled completely it was a little tough to spread.