Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Birthday Musings and Orange Cake

I turned 31 on Sunday.  Here's how I feel:

Hitting 30 last year was a little bittersweet, requiring some mental adjustment, but turning 31 feels like a confident and welcome step forward.

As I pondered life on my birthday, I decided that a birthday is the best time to review one's achievements, to refresh perspective, and make goals for the future.  It seems a more personal, more meaningful time for this tradition than New Year's Day.  Does anyone have a birthday tradition like this?

Birthdays are fun.  I always love my birthday.  This year I felt a new kind of feeling in connection with the day.  Rather than being wholly excited by the attention I was receiving, I felt an abundance of love toward the people who make life sweet.  I wanted those people to feel special.  It was a sudden feeling, so other than expressing love verbally and sharing my cake, I did a poor job of it.  In the future, I think I might look for ways I can honor the people who fill my life with joy.  Doesn't that seem like a great way to celebrate a birthday?

Before I have another, you will have yours, and if you're looking for a delicious, enzyme-active cake to try, here's one I've fallen in love with.  Be sure to start a couple days in advance.

Orange Cake*
Serves 12-18

2 1/2 cups freshly ground and sifted spelt, kamut, or whole wheat flour
1 cup piima cream or creme fraiche (if you don't have cultured cream, just use another cup yogurt)
1 cup whole plain yoghurt
1/2 cup water
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups Rapadura
2 eggs (room temperature)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
grated rind of 2 oranges and 2 lemons
1 cup crispy pecans, finely chopped (previously soaked and dried)
juice of 2 oranges and 2 lemons
1/4 cup whey
1/2 cup raw honey
1/4 cup brandy or dry sherry (optional)

This delicious cake incorporates the principles of both lacto-fermentation and enzyme nutrition. The flour is soaked in cultured cream and yoghurt and, after cooking, the cake is soaked for another day or so in a mixture of orange juice, lemon juice, raw honey, whey and brandy or sherry. This imparts enzymes to the cake along with flavor and moistness (it is SO moist!).

Mix flour with yoghurt, cultured cream and water. Cover and leave in a warm place for 12 to 24 hours. Cream butter with Rapadura and eggs. Beat in baking soda, salt, vanilla and grated rind. Gradually incorporate the soaked flour and fold in the nuts. Pour batter into a well-buttered and floured fluted bundt pan or angel food cake pan. Bake at 300 degrees (use your Sun Oven!) for 1 1/2 hours or more, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool. Place lemon juice, orange juice, honey, whey and optional sherry or brandy in a container and set in simmering water until honey is dissolved (don't let it get hot). Slowly pour this mixture over the cake until the liquid is absorbed. Cover with a towel and leave at room temperature for 1 to 2 days. To serve, loosen sides with a knife. Turn over onto a serving plate and tap pan until cake falls out.  (Best served with raw vanilla ice cream.)

*From Nourishing Traditions, p. 567 (italics are mine)


  1. What lovely birthday musings, thanks for sharing. I'm sure glad we're related :

  2. This is such a lovely post. And that is a lovely cake!!

  3. This cake looks very yummy!