what today calls for

There are some days when you just need to make a spice cake.

Wait. That is probably not true. Let me re-phrase.

Today, I needed to make a spice cake.

This afternoon, while driving home from a trip to deliver a medication to the nurses at Paco’s assisted living unit and stopping to have a document notarized stating that my power of attorney for him is in effect, after a morning spent with him at a new specialist, I was seized with a desire to eat spice cake.

It’s not one of those things you can easily buy at the supermarket or bakery, so I pulled out my Betty Crocker cookbook when I got home and set to work.

Why spice cake? It is an old-time favorite that fills the kitchen with a wonderful aroma as it bakes. When B and I were married in the early ’80s, I chose a spice cake with buttercream icing as our wedding cake, a daring choice in the age of white wedding cakes with sugary white icing. I still love the taste of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove and find them comforting.

Spice cake stands on its own. It doesn’t need to be layered and frosted. A simple, square pan suffices.

A bonus bit of nostalgia was also involved today.

One of the things I brought home from cleaning out the kitchen in Paco’s apartment in independent living was a set of RevereWare metal bowls that Nana had used when we were growing up and kept all these years. While I had my own set from when B and I first set up house, my mother’s were heavier and the largest bowl of the three was larger than my own set.

It was this largest bowl that I used today to mix my spice cake.

It’s in the oven now.

I have several dozen other things I should be doing right now, but I am instead writing this post, thinking about my parents and home and the passage of time and what is important and the meaning of making spice cake for my family.

And breathing in the scent of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove.

Author: Joanne Corey

Please come visit my eclectic blog, Top of JC's Mind. You can never be sure what you'll find!

3 thoughts on “what today calls for”

  1. We always had spice cake or an old fashioned applesauce cake for Christmas instead of the almost inedible (my opinion) fruitcakes. The smell whisks away the years and brings everything back to a sense of home, of place. I can almost smell the spices myself. Nothing is more important on a day like that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your story, Maggie! Yes, applesauce cake is basically spice cake with applesauce standing in for some of the fat and is also wonderfully delicious and evocative.

      When I was growing up, we always had pies for Christmas dinner. It’s generally true that most fruitcakes in that era were not very good. One of B’s co-workers at his first post-college job shared a really good fruitcake recipe that uses dried instead of candied fruits and it is delicious. We have often made it at Christmastime, along with pies and a half dozen types of cookies to share over the season. 2020 was a scaled back year, though. Nowhere near the usual amount of baking.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I might like the dried fruit. I never cared for candied fruit and the cakes seem to last forever! Yes, the applesauce was very much a spice cake and the aroma was luscious when it was in the oven.

        Liked by 1 person

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