Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cat Gallery

It's time for a update on the kittens.

But first, our oldest cat Bella. She hasn't even had her picture on the blog yet! It's way past time.

She's very large, very fluffy, and very sweet.

You can see why our neighbor Dave calls her "Camouflage Kitty."

OK, kittens, now it's your turn.

When you last saw them, they were just a few months old.

Now they're about 9 months old. Amazing how fast kitties grow!

Amelia is lively and up for anything (especially trouble).

Shadow is more of a mellow fellow.

He blends in well with the autumn leaves.

And here's our "middle cat" Annie.

Her nose was seriously out of joint when the kittens arrived. She wouldn't even stay in the house with them.

But lately they've been getting along better.

Something smells interesting down that storm drain...

Still, ya gotta keep an eye out for those little beasties...

They just love to get into a tussle.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

HCB: Swedish Pear and Almond Cream Cake

Though I'm no longer a member of the Heavenly Cake Bakers group, I still bake along from time to time. This week's choice was the Swedish Pear and Almond Cream Cake, from pages 58-60 of "Rose's Heavenly Cakes."

It looks like a plain Bundt cake on the outside.....

...but inside you find a layer of almond cream (it's that darker, moister-looking area at the top) with tender thin slices of pear.

The cake is Rose's favorite yellow sour-cream butter cake, almost exactly as on her blog (see this link), except it uses 1 whole egg and 2 egg yolks instead of 4 egg yolks. I didn't have quite enough sour cream (Jim used it in his traditional Sunday waffle), so I made up the remainder with a mixture of yogurt and heavy cream. It seemed to work just fine.

All was going well until I turned on the oven light at 40 minutes into baking to see how it was doing. Without realizing it, when I turned off the light, I also turned off the oven! At 60 minutes it should have been done, but wasn't even close. That's when I realized my mistake. By that time the oven had cooled down to about 275 degrees. Oh rats! I turned the oven back on to 350 F and gave it another 10 minutes, and it was done. The top was too dark, but heck, that ends up on the bottom anyway when you serve the cake. And the cake part was just a touch overbaked and dry -- but by the next day, the moisture from the pears had taken care of that problem as well. You gotta love a cake that forgives your mistakes!

"This is a 'tea cake,'" said Jim. I agree -- it's the sort of simple and delicious cake that cries out to be part of your "afternoon tea." If you don't have afternoon tea (we usually don't), then it's wonderful any time at all.