Yesterday I celebrated my 26th birthday with my husband, our daughter, and my parents. I am a very fortunate woman to be married to such a hopelessly romantic man! Upon waking, I found banners hanging above the sliding French doors and above our wedding photo. My husband stood before the stove preparing a quick breakfast before work. Yet the sweetest surprise, quite literally, was a lovely citrus infused olive oil cake dripping with an almost ganache-like chocolate frosting and topped with raspberries that spelled out Happy 26th Wren. He stayed up preparing everything on his own from scratch, with a love and attentiveness that I know only him to possess. If you know him personally, you understand what I mean. Everything about the cake felt sumptuous and elegant. The first bite transported me, elevated me, even. I relished in the orange-chocolate pairing; for some reason I kept thinking of biscotti or amaretto, even though I don’t know those to have anything to do with orange at all, or even chocolate. However, it was all very Italian. The dense cake, moist with olive oil and fragrant with zest, pleased all of us. I’m extremely proud of my husband’s skills in the kitchen, especially when it comes to baking sweets–this one, dare I say, took the cake? This morning we shared a slice with some hot tea, which he also treated me to for my birthday. One bag of oolong steeped with one bag of Bengal spice with a touch of almond milk and we were drinking something not at all unlike chai. I really love the robust flavors, especially during this season.
I’m also very excited about the cookbook he bought for me — Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty, a book filled with just Ottolenghi’s vegetarian recipes. A while back I got his book Jerusalem from the library and we feasted on eggplants, pilafs, za’atar, and chickpeas for days, maybe weeks. Needless to say I’m looking forward to exploring more uncharted culinary territory with Plenty. I will let you know how things go, of course!
Until then, I have some tidying up to do while my daughter finishes her nap. We enjoyed a really lovely and hearty morning filled with kicking the soccer ball around at the park, watching the squirrels, playing with puzzles (she’s so good at them!), eating, bath time, and general revelry. I hope that you all are enjoying your mid-week just the same.
Oh-and for those wondering, my husband said the cake recipe came from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.