Monday, May 26th, was Memorial Day. It was also Ivan and my seventh anniversary. I can’t really say that it seems so long ago that we were married because it just seems like we’ve always been together. When I try to remember my life before being with Ivan, I just remember being very young.
We started dating in high school, about thirteen years ago. We went to prom together, then went to college together; we studied in Europe together in the summer of 2005. When I graduated, we got married. Then we settled down to have a family of our own and start our ordinary life together…
That’s not what happened.
Then we settled down to have a family of our own and start our ordinary life together … for a couple of years, got bored with that and decided to leave the country for a peculiar life in the Caribbean—which was also temporary—so that we could start up another life in Brooklyn. And, bada bing bada boom, here we are. And everything that happened in between? Fuhgeddaboudit.
As anyone who’s familiar with me knows, I really like to bake. The problem is, I don’t really bake pretty sweets, per se. Give me the chance and I will make a de-lish challah loaf, cranberry and pecan wheat bread, basil and tomato focaccia, or raisin scones. But ask me to frost some cupcakes so they look appetizing and you’re going to get a tasty mini-cake topped with Skittles vomit. I cannot make pretty baked stuff. I just can’t. Every time I try, it looks like I held the frosting bag with paralyzed hands.
Paralyzed hands and no thumbs.
I admit my shortcomings when it comes to dainty icing flowers and non-horrific fancy desserts. But that sure doesn’t stop me from trying to make pretty sweets.
For our anniversary, I made a two-layer vanilla wedding cake with homemade pudding filling and bittersweet chocolate ganache topping. Everything was from scratch and you can find the cake recipe on Smitten Kitchen’s website.
What went wrong: My nine-inch cake pans are slightly tapered, so layered cakes don’t exactly line up right and I am far too clumsy to cut around the diameter of the cakes to even them out. My cake, therefore, had an hourglass shape—unfortunate, but foreseeable. Also, there was way more batter than I had anticipated, so we had a two-layer cake, twelve cupcakes and a mini-cake (which we gave to the neighbors).
Otherwise, it went pretty well. The cake itself was really delicious. It’s pretty dense, but maintains its moisture, even though we are now on day four and more than half of the cake remains. If you prefer lighter, fluffier cakes, this one may not be for you. The chocolate ganache was a smart move. Frosting tends to be way too sugary and can ruin a cake for me, but the ganache (made with bittersweet Ghirardelli chocolate) didn’t overpower the cake and wasn’t very sweet at all. If you’re not a fan of dark/bittersweet chocolate, I’d recommend milk chocolate ganache.
The only other thing we managed to do on Monday was take the dogs for another long walk, which, of course, led to a Stop-and-Drop by Babe when we were blocks away from home. In her defense, it was ridiculously hot that day. I suppose the day would have been more eventful if Ivan weren’t suffering from a nasty flu. We stayed in most of the day, instead of going out to see a movie or watch the parade down the road.
As these things happen, I caught his flu and, the very next day, was feeling downright miserable—fever, chills and all.
Although my impulse was to roll around in bed all day moaning, Ivan had to go to the hospital and I had responsibilities for the day, including a job interview that morning. I put on my best I’m-not-dying-or-on-the-verge-of-being-violently-ill face and, at the end of the two hour interview/test, was offered the position (Yipeeeee-cough cough!).
It actually is wonderful news since Ivan’s school loans, while sufficient to cover our rent, may not have come close to covering other extravagant luxuries like electricity and food. (New York cost of living: the rumors were true.) The position comes with benefits and a competitive salary. It is literally only a couple blocks away, so I can walk the dogs on my lunch hour. My coworkers seem really nice and the responsibilities fall right under my previous experience and degree. Hopefully it’s a perfect fit!