Some people react to death and the trappings of death (funerals, etc) in a very somber, dignified fashion.
And some people crack jokes, even while crying.
My family would fall in the camp of the latter. I think I have laughed more this last week than I have the entire previous year. I’m not entirely sure at what–just everything. My dad says we come by it naturally–he remembers his mom and her sisters laughing over their father’s coffin. At one point during the viewing, as I was tearing up, my brother Chris whipped out a handkerchief and my sister cracked “he’s been waiting his entire life to hand a handkerchief to a lady in distress.”
It was just that kind of weekend.
We don’t just laugh at death, of course, we also eat. Maybe the visceral, tangible, alive pleasure of eating keeps death at bay. Or maybe we just like to eat. Because I am out of town I usually bring dessert to any family function, and the dessert that stays freshest in my opinion is bundt cake.
So I made 3.
Actually I made 5 for a total of 3 successful, because I left the sugar out of one (no I do not jest–thank goodness I did not bake it) and the other I chose the wrong pan for and you will just have to trust that it killed the cake. It’s true I like to bake when stressed, but I usually mean everyday kind of stresses not baking for my grandma’s funeral weekend stress. I would not call it my finest baking day ever. But I did eventually produce 3 stellar cakes.
One of the cakes, Lisa Yockelson’s Ultra Lemon Bundt Cake, is one of my go-to favorites and has been shared here before. The second was an orange scented whipped cream pound cake, which I will share later. The last, Double Chocolate Peppermint Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake, is actually a Holiday regular for us, but this holiday season I could not make it because of the move, so I figured this was a good time. It actually in some ways was the least successful of the 3 because it is not glazed, and therefore it dried out a little more in the 2 days before it was served and got a bit crumbly. Next time (if I am making the cake ahead by a day or 2) I might glaze it with a chocolate sauce.
But if you serve this cake the day it is made I promise it is absolutely amazing and does not disappoint. Frankly I don’t even think it would have disappointed this weekend except it did not compare favorably to the glaze entrapped moistness of the other 2 cakes. The recipe can be found at Baking Bites–someone on the CLBB pointed me to the recipe a year ago and I have been in love with it since.
I’m sorry I do not have a picture of it sliced into–it was hard (and weird) enough grabbing photos of the cakes before they were sliced into. Basically you first dump the dark chocolate batter into the pan and smooth its top. Then you pour the white chocolate batter in and smooth its top–you do not swirl or mix the 2 in any way. During the baking, the dark chocolate batter naturally rises up around the white chocolate batter, producing a cake that appears all dark chocolate on the outside, but actually has white (chocolate) cake inside as well. It’s rather nifty. Baking Bites has a great photo of it.
I think laughter and tears are the two best ways to deal with grief. And, of course, food is a very close third. Sounds like your cakes were quite a hit. Can’t wait to see about your whipped cream poundcake later, but as for now, that chocolate peppermint chocolate chip bundt cake sounds out of this world good. I just recently invested in a new bundt pan and have been looking for the perfect recipe to christen it. Sounds like this one is the winner. I love chocolate and mint, and your picture is so enticing!
Laughing at a funeral can be good. Its always a sad occasion (worse when its unexpected) but those who left most likely loved to laugh also why not laugh and remember the good times?
You and I are on same wavelengths about cooking/baking. I have a bundt cake marked to make soon!
Tangled Noodle says
Tears soothe the mourners; laughter celebrates the departed. And bundt cakes brings everyone together in remembrance and love!
noble pig says
Laughter is really the best medicine. I’m glad things went well and the cakes look awesome, even with the mishaps. Love the pans.
Fearless Kitchen says
We’re a pretty food-oriented family ourselves, so the bundt cake makes perfect sense to me. And I can completely sympathize about the cake that killed the recipe…
I’m very sorry for your loss.
i find myself cracking jokes when i’m around sadness too–i’d so much rather laugh than cry, and if i can bring a smile to a person’s face, i consider it a job well done.
your cake sounds phenomenal and would no doubt be even better with a chocolate glaze!
great blog! I havent seen it until now! I can vouch for these WONDERFUL bundt cakes! I tried all three and the one I liked the most was the orange cake!
Being back home in Ohio from the south when I havent seen ya’ll in so many years was such a pleasure. I just cant wait to come back! Grandma will be so missed…but the funeral really gave us a chance to laugh and cry together and bond once again. I LOVE YOUR FAMILY MORE THAN ANYTHING!!!!!
I can also vouch for all 3 bundt cakes as I ate some of all of them…They were all good but I agree w/ mallory that the orange cream was my favorite!
Sorry to hear about your loss. We do agree laughter is best during those times. It’s a nice way to remember. And of course the bundts were bound to be enjoyed
I am gonna overrule Mallory and Natalie and say the lemon one was my favorite…. damn almond flavor 😉 🙂
I’m sorry for the loss of your grandma. Hope it gets easier.
laura.. i love ur blog… i like the cake mould, in malaysia i dont think that we have such mould, huhuhu
I know this is an old post, but I was going through some of your archives, and I read this and loved it. My family is not at all like this–apparently, the generations above me were, and they cracked jokes at my grandfather’s funeral more than 20 years ago, but more recent deaths have been somber. I’ve always hoped that people will treat my funeral the way you have described: by coming together and laughing and eating and telling stories.