Monday, May 23, 2011

Friends



Not much compares to opening the mailbox and seeing a hand-addressed letter peeking out between the bills, junk mail and advertisements. In this day of email, text messages and instant communication, receiving items like this are becoming more rare. It is much more likely that the card waiting in your mailbox is from a ninety-year-old family member than from one of your friends. Don’t get me wrong…the card from said ninety-year-old thrills me, but there is nothing like hearing from an old friend.

This year for my birthday, I received not one but two real-live birthday cards in the mail. As you can guess, I was giddy. As I walked back to the house, anxious to tear them open, I recognized the handwriting on each of them. Named on the return addresses were two of my oldest and closest friends. Memories of conversations, vacations and good times instantly filled my head.


Now here’s the funny part: These oldest and closet friends are not friends that I see daily, weekly, or even monthly. In fact, months may go by and I’ve realized we haven’t talked in all that time. But then you do, and it’s as if you haven’t skipped a beat. All your inside jokes are still hilarious, you laugh loudly and heartily, and you remember just why you’ve remained friends all these years. They know your secrets and your history. You can confide in them knowing they will never judge you, but that they will be honest and tell you what they think, even if it might be something you don’t want to hear. These are the friends you can count on for anything, anytime.

Perhaps in a perfect world, you would stay in touch more regularly with these good friends. But with busy schedules, jobs and families, it doesn’t always work out that way. Excuse the cliché, but life really does get in the way. And for me, because of that, it makes having friends like this that much more important.

When I read those birthday cards, I welled up, filled with gratitude for having these two friends. There would be so many times in my life would have been so very different without them. They are a part of me. They are a part of my past. And they are most certainly a part of my future.

Share this cake with a good friend. Eat, talk, laugh and reconnect. Be glad you have them.


Pretty in Pink Cake
(Strawberry and Cherimoya Cake)

Cake
8 ounces flour
4 ounces sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1/4 cup slivered toasted almonds
4 ounces milk
2 eggs
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup cherimoya puree, seeds removed*
1/2 cup diced strawberries

Glaze
1/2 cup cherimoya puree, seeds removed*
1 cup diced strawberries
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°.

In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients. In another bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes, until a tester inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Meanwhile, put all glaze ingredients into a blender. Blend until completely pureed. Pour glaze through a sieve into a saucepan. Heat to a simmer and let simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and reserve.

When cake comes out of the oven, let cool about 5 minutes. Remove from loaf pan and transfer onto wire rack. Drizzle top and sides with glaze. (Glaze will soak in to cake as it sits.) When serving, drizzle with extra sauce.


*Note: Cherimoya seeds are toxic if broken open, so be sure to carefully remove all seeds from flesh.


As I’ve said about a hundred times, my ability to create baked goods without using a recipe is sub-par. I’m just not good at it. The cake I made prior to this is now named “Awful Cake” in my recipe notebook. So you can imagine my surprise when this little beauty came out of the oven looking like an actual cake. And better yet, tasted like a cake. And even better still, tasted really good!


This cake is so moist and has a very delicate flavor. The cherimoya gives it an overall hint of tropical fruit, to me almost like papaya. The almonds sprinkled throughout give it a little crunch and the strawberries a tart sweetness. Topped with a pretty pink glaze, this cake won my heart.


Now after all this talk, I think I have some phone calls to make…or maybe some cards to get in the mail…

40 comments:

  1. I know exactly what you mean. I have a friend like that where we can go a while without talking and when we pick back up it is like we talked the day before. Your cake is so pretty! Looks delicious!

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  2. Those are the best kind of friends, who you are close with even though you are far, who you connect with but life has taken you in different directions, but you are so happy to hear of their news and achievements and who when you meet up with after a few years, you carry on the conversation as if it were yesterday.

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  3. I'd have to totally agree that nothing makes me happier than receiving real mail! I save all cards, postcards, letters in hat boxes and I've accumulated a few boxes full of correspondence over the years!

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  4. There must be something in the air...because I just added a post to my blog about old friendships. (I even went as far as posting an old prom picture!) But this cake is beautiful and one that I am anxious to try because I've never had cherimoya. Very pretty indeed! : )

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  5. Karen I know exactly what you mean, those are the friendships that I cherish the most. That cake looks so good ... and I did learn something new ... I did not know what a cherimoya looked like until now :)

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  6. Love getting cards in the air. Nothing makes you feel more special than when you get real mail!
    This cake looks amazing! I never heard of cherimoya before.

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  7. When i read you i missed my best friend... she's so far from me since we've been seperated by our studies! I hope i'll be able to feel that again soon, i'll go back to my country and we'll meet again.

    Lots of love!

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  8. This cake is so pretty, love all the pink. Might be a great way to use up some more strawberries... I know what you mean about not seeing someone for months then picking right back up!

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  9. I totally agree with you about life getting in the way! I'm finding it so hard to connect with my friends because I just don't have time. But, I think I could wrangle them up and make some time to share this cake!

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  10. I have friends like this too and you're right...be thankful for them for sure! Life does get in the way...but to know they are out there and totally "get you".....that is comforting for sure!

    This cake is AMAZING! Cherimoya??? This is one of those posts where I realize I have SOOOO much to learn and do!!! Great job!

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  11. I have never heard of Cherimoya before! Looks and sounds amazing!

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  12. Wait, I thought you said you weren't much of a baker...this looks Awesome! Happy belated birthday and yes, old friends, the ones you don't have to call every day but can manage to pick up where you left off, those are the best.

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  13. Gorgeous! I've never even heard of Cherimoya but now I'll keep my eyes open!

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  14. I love sending cards, I love getting cards. And I love it especially when accompanied by cake like this :) Makes me wish my birthday were every day!

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  15. I really love the addition of the cherimoya in this! I've only been recently introduced to the fruit, and have only eaten it out of hand. We all enjoyed the tropical flavors, and I'll bet it went nicely with the strawberry.
    I know what you mean about the 'real" mail! I love getting a letter too. My dad will write a note once in a while and I just really like it.

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  16. Happy I stopped by - this is a wonderful new recipe with totally new ingredients - never hear of cherimoya! Super :)

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  17. Looks delish! I think as women we have the ability to pick up instantly with a beloved friend. The true friends understand when life gets in the way.

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  18. I was lucky enough to catch up with my two oldest girlfriends just this weekend. Living in different states means we're lucky to catch up once a year but when we do time is irrelevant. We laughed and cried and drank a lot of wine (and ate a lot of great food). Thanks for sharing your special friend moment.

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  19. So true about old friends ! This cake looks so moist and beautiful. I really miss the days and the excitement of getting a letter in the post box from a loved one!

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  20. I enjoyed reading your post Karen! I feel the same way. I have never heard of Cherimoya before, and I thought this cake is very interesting and I'd love to try. By the way, as for your question, I live in Belmont... do you live around here?

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  21. Your cake is awesome, but I have never heard of Cherimoya before.

    Sometimes your "old friends" are the best, because they don't judge you, and accept you the way they are. I still get birthday cards,and thank you notes in the mail, and I love it.

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  22. I couldn't agree with you more. The only mail we receive are bills and more bills! I guess text messages has taken over the mail by storm!
    Your cake is gorgeous, looked perfectly baked, moist and delicious! Great job! And Happy Belated Birthday!

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  23. Toxic seeds...I'm having Simpson reruns with Homer and the blowfish flash through my mind. So how do you cut open the fruit without cutting the seeds? It sounds a little too on the edge for me. ;)

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  24. What a gorgeous cake. Your photos are always so beautiful! :)

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  25. I don't get to have cherimoya too often, but I love its sweet flavor. I also love getting hand written cards and letters and now I'm inspired to write some to friends.

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  26. I can defintely relate, I have two friends from childhood that I wouldn't trade for the world. We all live in different places and we see each other maybe once a year, but it's like we never skipped a beat. I cherish them. Also, BEAUTIFUL cake!

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  27. I just googled cherimoya, is it like an artichoke? Lovely cake! Also, I love getting letters (proper ones) too, makes you feel very special :) I tried keeping a pen friend once but we lost touch, sometimes I wish we could go back to the days of just letters..

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  28. I love getting letters! I send loads in the hopes that I may actually get a few back. Pretty sad when my grands are now sick of writing me back :) This cake looks outstanding! Thanks so much for sharing, and for the kind well wishes for my mum :)

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  29. Hokey smokes that looks fantastic. I've looked all over for cherimoyas around here but they just don't send them to my little corner of the world. I'll live vicariously through your pictures.

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  30. What a great cake...cant say I've ever even seen cherimoya in the grocery store, but Im going to look next time I'm there!

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  31. What a beautiful cake to share with a friend. :) I've never had cherimoya- I'll have to look for it!

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  32. This looks like divine on a plate!

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  33. Count me in among the rest that are just hearing about Cherimoya. This cake looks so moist and the color is gorgeous.

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  34. At the urging of my friend, I had my first cherimoya a couple of months ago. They have such an interesting flavor, definitely a mix of tropical flavors all in one little fruit. And I was completely unaware that the seeds are toxic if broken open - the grower from whom I bought mine failed to mention that nugget of information! The cake looks moist and delicious; good job putting those fruits into a cake!

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  35. Beautiful cake with a lovely glaze. I've never tried Cherimoya before...sounds like I have been missing out.

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  36. What a pretty cake! Cherimoya sounds like an interesting ingredient. I've never seen those before...got to keep my eyes out.

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  37. That looks beautiful! There really is nothing like a card in the mail, especially one from an old friend. I love that I have a group of friends I can get together with every few months, and it's as if nothing changed. Thanks for a lovely post!

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  38. you know what your friends who sent the cards might like instead of a return card? maybe some of this cake... HINT HINT

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