In my world, this is a birthday cake. Holy eggs, butter, sugar, you cannot eat this every day. But, it is perfect if you’re celebrating something special, like a birthday! I made this cake for my birthday-cake-hating boyfriend. I guess when you’re a little kid cake is limited to your birthday and birthday cake is plain white or chocolate cake with super sweet frosting. Having this limited understanding of what cake is can easily make you think you hate cake, but when your cake possibilities widen, it’s clear that it’s simply not the case. The second I spotted this recipe on Smitten Kitchen, I knew this was destined to be his next cake. In fact, I spotted it almost exactly a year ago, a couple of days before his birthday. I already had another Smitten recipe planned (her chocolate-hazelnut macaroon torte, she had me at ‘tastes like nutella’) so this went on the back burner. I guess it’s been on both of our minds for the past year, because as soon as he saw it he said that he would have made it for my birthday next week if I hadn’t beat him to it.
My strategy to come up with a meal when I don’t know what to make (i.e. almost every night) is to think to myself, “ok, pick: grain, vegetable, sauce” and then I normally come up with something decent. For example, soba noodles, broccoli and peanut sauce or quinoa, sweet potato and miso tahini. Anyway, you get the idea. Sometimes though, it is fun to make your own ‘grain’ component. This is probably one of the easiest, most no-fail type of recipes that you can go for. I would also say that it is fast, but there is a little resting time involved. Regardless, there is very little work on your end, especially when you think of alternatives like kneading pasta dough or making gnocchi.
If you’ve never had dutch baby pancakes before, you have to give them a try. They are so easy to make and I love how they bake in the oven: crispy edges, golden brown and filed with whatever you want. They are quick and hassle free: no flipping, sticking or issues with overcooked outsides and undercooked insides. This one is particularly tasty (if I may say so myself). The hazelnuts give a wonderful crunch and flavour, the pears are juicy, and it is perfectly (i.e. not overly) sweet.
I really hate being wrong. It is not one of my best qualities but it’s true. And I’ll admit, in the case of rosti v latke I was definitely wrong. Over the past few months, I have been making latkes, which are shredded potato pancakes traditionally served during the Jewish holiday Hannukah, for dinner. My boyfriend maintained that rosti was so much better than latke and we should really make those instead. I thought he was being ridiculous, “Rostis are just giant latkes!” I would say, rolling my eyes, “they taste exactly the same”. Well, I was wrong.