Today I’m sharing with you a recipe for cake, one of those multipurpose-serve-now-or-freeze-for-later types of cakes. But first, let’s have a little heart-to-heart.
I want to say thank you to all of you for reading this blog and for all the comments you leave here and on the Facebook page. Your enthusiasm means a lot to me and has encouraged me to shape Outside Oslo into what it is today. They say that the writing life is a lonely one, but I beg to differ. When I’m writing, it’s in the found moments, the few hours here and there in the midst of a full and meaningful life. Writing is my quiet time and even though it’s a solitary task, I always know there are the readers out there who will share in the process by reading my work, some of whom will be generous enough to reach out and drop me a comment or note. We all write to share, so as individual and solitary as the craft often is, we are never really alone in the process.
That said, the writing life isn’t always easy. In fact, someone asked me the other night how I do it. How I manage to stay at home with my child and maintain a career as a freelance writer. I don’t know. Sometimes I feel like I don’t manage very well, to be honest. I’ve been feeling lately at times like I’m struggling even to write, like there are so many different projects, articles, blog posts, and queries swirling around in my mind that my brain struggles to grab hold of just one and focus for any length of time.
A few months ago I felt like my writing life was invincible. Friends were telling me I was in my season as a writer. Scoring writing assignments, being invited on press trips (including an awesome one to New Zealand), churning out some great story ideas–I felt on top of the world. This spring, however, I took a step back to reevaluate what I was doing in light of my longterm goals. I found that my dream projects were taking the backburner to the more immediate assignments and that I wasn’t carving out time to work on my longterm goals.
I’m working on time management and organization, trying to restructure my routines and create a new system that will allow me to accomplish the goals I’ve set out to achieve while making my family my number one priority. It’s a continuous process, and one requiring plenty of trial and error and tweaking along the way. Isn’t that the case with life, that as soon as you get a rhythm down it changes beat and you stumble a bit as you try to readjust?
While I’m writing this, I’m aware that you’re probably wondering what any of this has to do with the cake you’re seeing in the photos. Not a lot and everything, all at once. Blogging is an extension of the journalist’s life, with the blogger acting simultaneously as editor, reporter, writer, photographer, and publisher, putting together a packaged piece and then publishing it at the right moment. It’s a time-consuming process and often a labor of love.
As I consider some ways to reboot my writing life, dedicating more time to some areas and less to others, one thing is for sure: Outside Oslo will remain one of my priorities. This place brings me so much satisfaction, and for that I am grateful to you. So I guess I could say this cake is for you, a way to say thank you for being so great.
Scandinavian Almond Cake
Adapted from The Everything Nordic Cookbook by Kari Schoening Diehl
3/4 cup sliced almonds
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
2/3 cup milk
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Powdered sugar, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast the almonds in a large pan over medium heat, stirring constantly until they turn golden. Transfer them to a bowl to cool, then grind them in a food processor.
While the nuts are cooling, prepare the batter. Cream the butter and sugar, then add the egg, milk, and almond extract and beat until you have a smooth batter. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt, then add to the wet ingredients and mix to combine.
Butter a grooved almond cake pan and pour the ground nuts inside, shaking to coat all the sides. Discard the excess nuts. Pour in the batter, taking care not to disrupt the nuts, then bake until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean, 40 to 55 minutes.
Allow the cake to cool in the pan so it doesn’t break. Carefully invert on to a platter, then dust with powdered sugar and serve.