What My Grandmother Taught Me About Baking—and Life
My grandmother died and the house was sold, but for years and years afterward, whenever I returned to Amagansett, I felt at home. This was where I belonged. Anytime I walked down that half-mile of road to find the ocean glittering at the end, I was a child. Now although it looks the same, it feels different. The village has been discovered, and people I don't know are everywhere in their expensive cars. I can't find myself there anymore. But I can bring back some of the old feelings whenever I go in my kitchen. Out of all the delicious things she made, Bigmom's sponge cake is my favorite, and she taught me the fundamental rules of baking: Never run in the kitchen when a cake is in the oven, and close the screen door softly or the cake will fall. She tested its doneness with a straw from a broom. We held our breath when she carefully opened the oven for a look; I didn't dare speak lest the cake fall. It was a layer cake with simple white buttercream icing, and over the tope she poured melted bitter chocolate in lines and streaks and dribbles. It was a Jackson Pollock of a cake, and the smooth bitter chocolate on top combined wiht the sweetness to make a taste rather like life itself.
Get the recipe for Bigmom's sponge cake with buttercream frosting
More Ways to Bond Over Food
- Lunch at Bergdorf's: A recipe for a lifelong friendship
- The ingredient that helped one woman spice up her marriage
- The recipe for a rich, delicious relationship