Monday, September 10, 2012

when the going gets tough...

...the tough eat cake.

Cake for breakfast, that is.

So this happened over the weekend:

To be honest I'm not even quite sure how it happened. It was just a sudden pain that I felt and I couldn't recall where it even came from. I was completely fine teaching yoga the day before. I don't remember falling (and I would remember that, wouldn't I?).

My only suspicion is that I might have lifted something heavy and maybe held it the wrong way. Though I've always thought I had pretty strong wrists (thanks to yoga and daily cooking with heavy cast iron cookware), this is certainly a reminder for me to slow down.

Thankfully I can still type, because my day job requires lots of work on the computer. I can flex my wrist but not extend it or use it to apply pressure on things. Which means my cookie-selling is on hiatus for the next few days as I can't work a rolling pin (sorry Misty for the delay in your cookie order!). I also feel pain when doing any rotational type of movement like turning on a faucet or opening a jar. For someone who does a lot of "manual labor" (in the kitchen, at least), this is really slowing me down. But I'm definitely still thankful, because it could have been much worse.

I'm pretty sure it's just a muscular injury as I am not seeing any swelling. Just pain. I've done a few different remedies like slathering on arnica, and A. suggested soaking it in warm salt water and wrapping it with an adhesive bandage for extra support. And of course, as luck would have it, it's my right wrist that is injured, and I'm right-handed.

The good news is, I was able to do at least some weekend baking before all this wrist pain. Dessert is always the bright side of life in my book. I love starting the weekend with a slow and relaxed morning of baking while still in my pj's.

Olive Oil Vanilla Fig Cake

This is a really easy recipe that I adapted from Food and Wine's buttermilk cake. It's a pretty foolproof recipe. I love the simplicity of it, which allows the fruit to shine. I've actually made this buttermilk cake a few different times this past summer with different fruits - once with blackberries, another time with plums. This time I had figs that were on the verge of becoming too soft, so I thought it would be perfect for this cake.

I also thought some fruity olive oil might go well with figs, so I subbed olive oil in place of butter - and I've seen (and tried) quite a few Italian or Mediterranean-inspired cake recipes that used olive oil rather than butter, such as this one. And well, my main reason too is that I was short on butter, because I also made a big pan of brownies recently and I was reserving the remaining butter for the said cookie order. But I've made this cake before following the original butter-based recipe, and it produced a wonderful, light, and moist crumb. The simplicity of the recipe was also the perfect canvas for adding other flavors like fresh lemon zest (perfect when using blueberries!) and experimenting with different types of fruits.

For this particular fig cake, I wanted to do a few other things like maybe soak the figs in Grand Marnier but it turns out I didn't have any orange-flavored liqueur. Note to self: I really should re-stock my liqueur stash - for baking, that is (I don't drink, but I eat - and I'm pretty unapologetic about my dessert enjoyment. We all have our poison of choice, right?). Some fresh orange zest might have been nice in here too, but I didn't have that either. So I just kept things simple this time around. 

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or just use 1 cup all-purpose instead of my half-and-half combination)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda  
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup sugar  
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature 
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 (scant) cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 12 fresh figs, chopped into small pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour a 9" cake pan, or line with parchment paper.

Then, it can't get any simpler:

Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in one bowl.
Mix all liquid ingredients in another bowl. Stir in the sugar.
Add the dry ingredients to the liquid ingredients.
Pour into the pan and spread it out evenly. It will look like a small amount of batter, but it will rise in the oven. Scatter the figs over top.
Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (some moist crumbs are ok).
Loosen the edges of the cake from the sides of the pan. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Once cool enough to handle, turn it over onto a board or large plate, then place another serving plate on top and turn it over again. 

This is a really moist cake thanks to the olive oil and buttermilk. A dozen fresh figs went a long way in this cake - as you can see it is quite studded with lots of fig goodness. It was perfect with my morning tea.

I may or may not have eaten more cake after lunch. Or for lunch.

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anne said...

oh no mia! and oo nga, your right wrist pa! maybe it’s the universe’s way of slowing you down ;-D but i hope it gets better soon! that olive oil fig cake looks yum!

Mia (Savor Everyday) said...

Thanks Anne! It's actually better today, but I'm still trying not to do too much with it. :)


Mia, maybe it's too much use of the laptop. What do you call it...carpal tunnel syndrome? In my case, my left middle and forefingers can't be bent when I wake up, but this is because of my high uric acid. When I am in pain, I dissolve epsom salt in hot water and I immerse the affected areas. I pray that you get well soon.

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