Last week, Rob and I had a giant party for our friend Mariana, who successfully defended her dissertation for a PhD of anthropology. And in cases of parties, I always always always end up providing something sweet to nibble on. And about 75% of the time, I end up making Orangette's Winning Hearts and Minds Cake. In my oven-less kitchen in Japan, I would "bake" it with my rice cooker. It would be dense and slightly spongy, but still wondrously decadent and delicious. The cake was a big hit among the Japanese teachers I worked with, even though most Japanese don't exactly love very sweet, rich desserts.
So last week, I followed the recipe exactly and baked it in a real oven. The batter was gorgeous:
I was nervous. Especially after skimming some of the comments on Orangette, disappointed readers whose cakes collapsed even after baking for much longer than the recipe called for.
But my cake... it was beautiful. Observe:
Here were some other delicious things we had. Stephanie made a crisp green salad with walnuts, feta cheese and beets and Sam made the most mindblowingly flavorful and juicy Korean beef ribs with dried dates and cranberries and daikon and a touch of anise. The sweet and savory caramelized meat was following off the bone. Words fail me. Oh yes, they do.