When Richie and I first made the decision to accept the move to Budapest, there were a number of things that ran through my head that I would miss. The first, and biggest by far, was working – I actually really love my job. Once I moved past that hurdle (and that is a story for another day…), I started mentally tallying up all of the other things that wouldn’t or couldn’t make the trip with us. One day, I sat up straight from a nap-nightmare and realized… my Kitchenaid stand mixer can’t come. Knowing my luck with electronic devices, the thing would blow up even with a converter. And Kitchenaids aren’t cheap… and it would break my little heart if I sacrificed my mixer to the European voltage system.
I tried to convince Richie that we should stay in America so that I could continue to make delicious baked goods, but he seemed to think this wasn’t a very worthwhile argument.
So I’ve decided to bake my little heart out for the next six months. I started last weekend, when Richie went to Vegas (while I was realizing that my stand mixer would be staying in the States, Richie was realizing that if he didn’t go soon, it would end up being four years before he had another guys’ trip to Sin City).
My first attempt was pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. These have been my favorite for as long as I can remember – my mom very wisely omitted the fact that they included pumpkin when I was young – and I routinely beg them from my mom for any occasion (I had a bad breakup, can I maybe have some cookies? I’m coming home for Christmas! How about some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies?) I figured that now that I have been married for over a year (and living on my own for about 6 now) it might be time for me to learn how to bake them myself. I requested the recipe from my folks and got to work. I realized about halfway through that I should’ve been taking pictures, but at that point my hands were covered in orangey pumpkin goo. It’s all for the best, though, as my cookies looked… well… wrong. The batter tasted great, and I followed the baking directions to a T, but something just wasn’t quite right. They just weren’t like my mom’s. I called my mom for consolation, and she actually told me that the last few times she’s made them, they haven’t turned out like she remembered either. We decided to blame the failure on a change in the Libby’s pumpkin (either that or my mom was sweet enough to tell me a little white lie so I’d feel better about my cookies!) and I moved on to my next attempt.
Yes, while he was gone I decided to make two giant desserts, and let’s just say that nearly half is gone of both of them. Knowing that I will be able to go to the gym daily in Budapest has led to an unhealthy habit of saying “I can have dessert today! I’ll just go to the gym a lot six months from now!” No, logic is not always a strength of mine.
I came across the recipe for Southern Living’s Coca-Cola cake several months ago while planning for a party. I ended up making something else instead, and so the recipe sat untouched in my massive recipe binder for months. In a brief organizing frenzy a few weeks ago, I unearthed it again and decided it would make a good next attempt. It has Coke, marshmallows, and chocolate – what could be better? Here‘s the recipe – I followed it exactly except for the pecan garnish. In my opinion, pecans have no place in desserts, unless it’s a sundae from Braum’s.
I have to say, this cake is pretty awesome. It’s really, really moist, which is a must for cakes for me (I don’t really like cake, so if it’s dense or crumbly, it better be covered in delicious frosting that I can eat instead) and it was super easy to make. Here’s the finished product:
Looks yummy, right? It looks a little bit like a brownie, but it definitely doesn’t taste like one. It’s very light and airy. It’s one of those great desserts that tastes awesome fresh out of the oven, but is even better (in my personal opinion) a few days later.
So, since we’ll probably be moving in mid-March, that gives me about 6 months to bake pretty much anything under the sun. Suggestions?