Baking Days

October 30, 2011

I have warm, wonderful memories of Saturdays from when I was a little girl.  My mother, who worked driving a school bus each day and also one full day — Tuesdays — as a bookkeeper for my Aunt Hilda, was home all day on Saturdays, so that was the day that she baked.  She was pretty well known (in Kennedyville, at least) for her cakes, since she always baked 2 for the cake wheel each fall at the annual Kennedyville Auction, and they were sought after.  (My father’s favorite, which she only baked once a year for him on his birthday and never for the cake wheel–some things are just sacred–was a yellow cake with a cooked caramel icing.  The icing acted like fondant and she was a master at it.  I don’t even have the recipe, so I can’t try it, but I’m not a natural with candy like she was.  Her peanut butter fudge — perfect every time when she made it — flops for me.  Plus it practically breaks my arms.  Beating anything for 10 minutes is no easy task, and fudge packs more of a punch than you might imagine.  So I just don’t know about that icing.  You can google anything these days, so I’m sure I could find it.  But I think I’d rather focus on something that comes a little easier for me, like homemade cinnamon buns, or these pumpkin cake donuts that I just made with my new donut pan.  They’re a cinch.  And of course, there’s the added bonus of that marvelous pumpkin aroma that hits you when you walk inside from the crisp October outdoors.  My mother’s signature baked items, besides her cakes, were pies and cookies.  She branched out into sweet breads later; I remember a Christmas braid that she cut with the kitchen shears across the top into short diagonal slits.  Like my cinnamon buns, the buttercream icing was dripping off of that, too.  So even though I also had my jobs around the house to do on Saturdays — (my main job was to scrub the bathroom, which I actually liked, and still do!) — it was always a good day.   Baking days always are.  Which is why I love it that just about every day now is a baking day.  I simply couldn’t have guests come into Simply Bed & Bread and not catch a whiff of something yummy!



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