In the Blog

Snow Cake!

November 22nd, 2007     by Catherine Hayday     Comments

As a proud Canadian, I loves me some snow. Loves it, loves it, loves it. When I wake up in the morning, look out the window and see white rooftops, I squeal with delight. Seriously, squeal. Which can be hard on a sleeping partner (who fortunately finds it “charming”).

And Toronto didn’t mess around this year, our first snowfall is big and fluffy and pretty and yay!

I say boo to the forecasters who get all “it’s another beautiful day” when it is unseasonably warm in Nov/Dec/Jan. Usually accompanied by a not-so-innovative quip about shoveling. It is not a good thing when it’s hot in November.

We’re given many opportunities to ignore the seasons. We can get strawberries and goat’s cheese in the dead of winter. Everything is available all the time, for a price.

So how about a little bit of living in the moment. Instead of moaning about how it’s too wet, too cold, too slushy, we pull up our woolly northern socks and get on with enjoying our four uniquely fantastic seasons.

To facilitate that enjoyment, I’m sharing with y’all my family tradition: Snow Cake. “Snow Cake” is a white cake with white icing that can only be made once a year, because it can only be made on the first day of real snowfall. If you see a few rogue flurries that’s great, but it only means that Snow Cake day is on its way — it’s not time to break out the spatulas just yet. The rule is this: a true Snow Cake can only be made when there is a solid (if skimpy) layer of snow which stays on the ground for at least half a day.

But it’s worth the wait. What makes a Snow Cake what it is the anticipation and the event-ness around making it. How it is linked to the weather and the season. And, of course, the jaunty snowperson you put on top — meticulously applied with chocolate chips in the company of friends, family, pets… and then shared with the same (with the possible exception of pets).

There’s no one special recipe, any basic white cake and icing recipes will do, but if you don’t have any, you can use mine.

Suggested music to play while baking: something snow-friendly, along the lines of Annie Lennox’s “Winter Wonderland”.

NB The cake recipe below works well with vegan substitutes, and there are organic versions available of all the ingredients (including shortening).

Basic White Cake * 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour * 2 1/2 tsp baking powder * 1/2 tsp salt * 1/2 cup shortening (or softened butter) * 1 cup sugar * 1/2 tsp vanilla * 2 eggs * 1 cup milk

Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 2. Grease and flour two 8” square pans (or the equivalent, e.g. one 9x12 works well too). 3. Mix flour, baking powder and salt. 4. Cream shortening and sugar. Add vanilla and eggs, beat well. 5. Combine wet and dry ingredients; add milk gradually as you mix. 6. Pour batter into pans and bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely, then ice.

Butter Icing * 1/2 cup butter * 3 cups icing sugar * 4 tbsp cream -or- evaporated milk * 1 tsp vanilla

Directions: 1. Mix, ice, enjoy!

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Tags: eco speak, food fight

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