Saturday, March 19, 2011

Japan and Simple Comforts

     I have been thinking about Japan a lot over the past few days. It is hard not to, and I just didn't know how to share till now. I have been donating a little, as much as I can, so I thought I would share the resources I have been using to do so. CNN has a long list of ways you can help out on this website. Most of them only require sending a text to automatically donate money to organizations like the Red Cross, so it wouldn't take much of your time. Please check it out.

     Isn't it strange how segregated the world is? How such awful things can happen somewhere and yet here I am in school, thinking about the fact that I have one silly exam and worrying about it. At least I am here, and everything is well. So, I guess today is to express gratitude for everything I have, and to hope that everything will get better throughout the world. 

     Sobering thoughts on a sunny sunny day. So, to make myself feel better I made something plain and simple and comforting. I made a cake, as you can see. Yes, I finally have a pan that is not a loaf pan! My mom got me a round pan at home, so we will be moving a little out of loaf pan territory. And if I could share this cake and all my other little comforts with everyone around the world I would, but since I can't, I guess I must just settle for sharing it with my friends. (PN is eating it over there ^ right now.)

She is eating one of these, which I brought as study food.
     This cake is called "Hot Milk Cake." It is the softest, fluffiest, simplest not-too-sweet-so-you-can-eat-a-lot cake you will ever eat. And when I say soft and fluffy, I mean ethereally so (without being angel food cake, which I don't even like that much). Furthermore, it actually tastes a little like warm milk, at least to me, and that is highly comforting.

     As a side note, I Macgyver-ed my way out of having to hold the hand mixer. I always knew there was a way to turn my hand mixer into a mixing stand. I guess I found it: the side of my shelf and a few books. Where there is a will, and laziness, there is always a way.

     But, in the end, I am back to this. The plain and simple things I am so glad I have today, and wish everyone could have. And look, my cake knew how I felt - can you see the heart? I didn't do it, that is how it came when I flipped it from a first plate onto this one. I guess I do believe in signs, and I hope my love and good wishes are going out throughout the world with it. 

Hot Milk Cake 
Adapted from The Little Teochew

1 1/3 cup All-Purpose Flour 
1 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Milk 
4 tbsp Butter 
3 Eggs 
3/4 cup Sugar 
1 tsp Vanilla Extract 

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 9'' or 8'' round pan (8'' will take a longer baking time). In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set it aside, and put the butter and milk into a small saucepan. Heat them at medium heat until the butter is just melted. Take the saucepan off the heat, and set it aside as well. In a large bowl, beat the eggs together thoroughly. Then, using an electric beater or whisking by hand, whisk in the vanilla extract and sugar. Do this for at least 4 minutes, so that the mixture becomes pale and is about triple its original volume. In three parts, fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture, making sure there are no lumps. Then, return the saucepan with the milk-butter mixture to medium heat, and heat it to right before boiling. Fold the heat milk into the batter, and then scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake it for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick stuck inside comes out clean (the cake will not be brown on top). Let it cool on a wire rack for five to ten minutes, run a toothpick (or plastic knife) around the edges of the cake to loosen it, and flip it out onto a platter. Now you are ready to serve, preferably with a glass of hot milk alongside. 

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