A few weeks ago I mentioned  that I was going to be DJing at the Hideout at an event to support the campaign for marriage equality in Illinois. It was a fun night (see playlist below!) full of cool people, and we raised an impressive amount of money. I’d been nervous about the DJ gig, so I brought my friend Gabe with me.
One of the best things that happened to me in 2013 was the birth of my best friends’ baby, Gabe. Babies are some of the coolest people in the world, and it has been a real pleasure getting to know this little man who is about to turn seven months old. I consider him one of my best friends, though he has had very little say in the matter and doesn’t even know what a friends is…or a best is.
I thought he might be into DJing because he definitely likes music, and I was right. He proved to be a great sidekick, though to be honest he fell asleep pretty early.
On Tuesday Illinois became the 15th state to approve extending marriage benefits to same-sex couples. My marriage (performed in the great state of Massachusetts!), will finally be recognized in my home state. I am glad to have supported the cause, and I very much like the fact that Gabe’s first political act lead to success. I am also happy to know that I live in a state that has prioritized this issue and made progress in supporting equal rights.
This kind of thing means a lot more when you are friends with a baby.
It is a good time to celebrate with something that is very familiar around here, a fruit-studded cake. This cranberry torte comes from a book called Wintersweet by Tammy Donroe Inman. The book is a collection of cold-weather desserts using seasonal (cranberries, citrus, pomegranate) and seasonless (maple, honey, nuts) ingredients. It is a very good idea for a book, and many of the recipes I have bookmarked for the upcoming winter. I started with this torte because it was simple and I excited to buy my first bags of fresh cranberries for the season. I’ve also been in a bit of a cooking rut and returning to old favorites seemed like a comforting thing to do. The cake is simple and delicious and keeps well for a few days. You can make it for a casual dessert and then eat leftovers for breakfast, or with tea.
Cranberry Totre (recipe from Wintersweet  by Tammy Donroe Inman)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- generous pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for topping
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 drops almond extract
- 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (I used a heaping cup)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy- 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix in the eggs one at a time, then the almond extract. Add the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined. Spread the batter in the prepared pan. Arrange the cranberries on top of the batter in a single layer, and sprinkle the top with the remaining two tablespoons of sugar.
Bake the cake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top is golden-brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool before removing from the pan.
Keeps for 3-4 days covered at room temperature.
Bonus! Some of you have been asking what I played at The Hideout. My playlist:
- She’s a Rainbow * The Rolling Stones
- Ragtime * Neko Case
- That’s That * Cass McCombs
- Different Drum * Linda Ronstadt
- Children of the Revolution * T-Rex
- A Lover’s Concerto * The Toys
- Rockin Back Inside My Heart * Julee Cruise
- Breaking Glass * David Bowie
- There’s a Break in Every Road * Betty Harris
- Losing You * Solange
- Young Americans * David Bowie