Vodka Soaked Bundt Cake
The Perfect Storm
We were. Then we weren’t. Life was changing in front of our eyes. We were mere observers of what was happening and there was nothing, absolutely nothing we could do about it. We were restricted to just wait until, literally, the storm was over. I remember being seated at the border of the bed at dawn, when Maria hit our shores, trying to make sense of the situation by just listening to the dreadful gusts of wind. Hearing them, so fierce and nonapologetic, I realized life was about to torn out completely. At that moment I knew everything would be different but my mind wasn’t able to understand how, and let me tell you my friends, that’s a very scary feeling.
After five months, this is the first official post on the new blog. And one of the new things is to post shorter entries to be able to create more content. Nevertheless, after all the silence, I think you may want to know about the last few months. They were full of vulnerability and soul search, and these two things are the main igniters of the changes you will be seeing around here.
If I learned something out of this whole mess is how vulnerable we are. Seriously. We give too much for granted. I gave too much for granted. My level of empathy with catastrophe situations was as much as you could give it through a TV screen. You could only understand them to a certain level and you see them as things that happen at another place of the world.
When it was my turn to be on the other side of the screen, I had too many micro decisions to make. You literally have to make decisions hour by hour to keep everything together, at least to the minimum. As you know, my daughter has a genetic condition called Aicardi-Goutierres and she is highly dependent on fresh foods, appliances to process her foods, medicines, temperature controlled environment and ultimately, a decent quality of life to thrive. So in a matter of hours I determined we needed to leave. I have to admit that this was really tough for me because I was in the middle of having the most amount of work and in the middle of new projects. Did I have any other option? Not really. Mama bear was fully activated!
We spent four months at my sister’s home in Florida, were she generously received us and transformed her new house in our new home. Even though her support, the emotions of running away from your home with just a suitcase for three persons and being extremely clueless on when you will be able to at least think about returning were brutal. Not to mention the challenges of three different families, living under the same roof; my sister’s, my mom and mine. We love each other so much, but can you imagine living for four months with you childhood family again? Pleaaase!! The only way to live was looking forward.
Once more, the kitchen was there to provide me some comfort. Besides cooking everything for my daughter, as my mom and I always do, I started to cook for everyone in the house, which I think made my sister very happy since now she was arriving home to a table full of food and some leftovers for everyone’s lunch next day. I’m wondering how she’s managing now! Anyway, being fully disconnected of my traditional life and seeing myself cooking again everyday foods made me remember how much I love to create with it. How, with a little inspiration to swap one ingredient in an everyday dish you can change that dish completely, feel super proud of yourself and ultimately, elevating the mood of an ordinary night.
My reality was becoming again my main inspiration. Since I wasn’t able to create I decided to reinvent. I was thinking about making some changes around here for a while but my hands were always busy with something and I petty myself saying I didn’t have time to create what I wanted you to see. Well, my hands were very down now in terms of work. I resolve it was life giving me the opportunity to make these changes. My thoughts and emotions understood it was time to get down from the rollercoaster and put all this experience to work.
So welcome to plum! The new name, design and new approach to present content reflect very much the place I’m in my life right now; bright, uncomplicated, simple but full of essence and detached of what’s not necessary to make what you want to make happen. I like the idea of you hanging out here with me, that’s why I’m giving you lots of options for you to look up for recipes and new content in a way that makes more sense.
I divided all the posts in different categories that I thought would be relevant to us. In the recipe index you can browse all the categories, and if you think of anyone I can create, don’t be a stranger and shoot me a message. I would love to hear from you.
Another learning was how extraordinarily vulnerable our time is. No matter the situation, it gets affected all the time and we can’t take it back. That’s why I want to protect it greatly. I found the wonderful Beth Kirby's “The art of slow living” newsletter (@localmilk) during this past time and have been firmly inspired to do so since. (You should check it out too, that’s if you haven’t found it already because I think I’m the only person finding about her now : / .) For this reason I want to start creating shorter posts. I want to to create more and different content relevant to our cooking passion. But I have to accept that my reality as a mother of a special needs beautiful girl put me in a vulnerable place. That means lots of content and long posts don’t get along very well with my mission in life.
Of course there will be posts where my words will dance around my inner thoughts or the backstory of a special recipe. But I also want the freedom to share with you a quick recipe or cooking idea for you to carry on with it at the moment. I know that, as me, you probably don’t always have time to read long posts every time, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to hear from me (hopefully!).
Shuuut!!! This is a long one! Not the best example, haha! But my wish to make you part of this whole experience and transformation is stronger than my new structure.
A month ago I returned home. From September 26 to January 26. Exactly four months. We really had a good time, especially because we got to spend Christmas together, something that didn’t happen since 14 years ago. We were truly blessed and I’ll be eternally grateful for all the support from you guys during this time. It was beautiful to see human behavior, elevated!
I started to create recipes as soon as I was able to and began with this magnificent cake in one of my favorite Bundt pans and soaked in vodka. Because after all this, don’t you think I really earned my booze?
Can’t wait to share lots of new things with all of you.
1. The recipe for the glaze is a very simple basic recipe and the best texture is the one that you prefer for your cake. Start with this one and adjust the texture adding more sugar for a stiffer icing or liquid for a runnier one. I always make extra icing to pour more over a single slice or for when the cake starts to dry after a couple of days.
2. Be generous with the cooking spray. I used Spectrum coconut oil spray because it's the best for baking. This is not sponsored or anything else. I have used other sprays with very bad results. This one truly works.
3. If you want to be extra safe, you can cut a piece of cold butter and using a pastry brush scrap the butter and spread it through the pan, especially the deep corners of a Bundt pan. You may then proceed to spray some oil, because you will still need it.
Vodka Soaked Cake
Unsalted butter – 1 ½ stick
Dark brown sugar – ½ cup
Raw sugar – 1 cup
Unbleached flour – 2 cups
Baking powder – 1 Tsp
Eggs – 4
Vanilla extract – 1 TBSP
Fine sea salt – 1 Tsp
Plain Greek yogurt – 4oz
Coconut milk – 4 oz
Water – ¼ cup
Raw sugar – ½ cup
Pinch of salt
Vodka – ¼ cup
Confectioners sugar, sifted – 2 to 3 cups (see notes)
Water – ¼ cup
Vodka – 2 to 3 TBSP
To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray generously the bottom and wall of your Bundt pan (see notes). In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment cream the butter in slow speed for 1 minute (#2 in the Kitchen Aid), then add the sugar and beat for 5 minutes more.
In the meantime, in a medium bowl whisk the flour with the baking powder for a couple of minutes, until both ingredients are well combine. In a small bowl or measuring cup combine the yogurt with the coconut milk.
Add to the mixing bowl the eggs, one a time. Add then the vanilla and salt. Beat for 1 extra minute to make sure everything is well combined. Turn down the speed one notch (“stir” in the KA). Add one third of the flour mixture and wait a few seconds until it start looking integrated. Stir half of the yogurt/coconut milk and wait until incorporated. Repeat the process alternating with the flour and liquid, ending with the dry ingredients. Gently mix to incorporate any loose flour and to make sure everything is well mix. Pour mixture into cake pan. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until you insert a long toothpick and it comes out clean.
Let it cool for 3 to 4 minutes. Make some holes through the surface of the cake and using a pastry brush spread some syrup (recipe follows), letting some drips going through the holes. Let the cake rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Turn over a plate or cooling rack, poke some hole through the top and spread more of the syrup. Let the cake cool completely.
Drizzle some of the vodka glaze (recipe below) and decorate with fresh fruits and nuts.
To make the syrup: In a small saucepan combine the water with the sugar and salt. Heat in simmer until the sugar has dissolved completely. Retire from heat and stir in the vodka.
To make the glaze: In a small saucepan boil the water with the pinch of salt. Retire from heat and stir in the vodka. Pour some of the liquid in the bowl of sugar and using a whisk start mixing. Repeat until all the water is in the sugar and you have a runny glaze. Pour over the cake.